Anaheim, Calif. — The Blackhawks tried just about everything to get a puck past Frederik Andersen while Game 2 of the Western Conference finals wound through three overtime periods and deep into the night, eventually becoming the longest game in Chicago's 89-year history.
Andrew Shaw even headed the puck into the net — which was amazing, but illegal.
After nearly 110 consecutive scoreless minutes by Chicago, Marcus Kruger got it done with plain old work in front of the net, ending a landmark game and evening a series that's already the endurance test everyone expected.
Kruger batted home Brent Seabrook's shot 16:12 into the third OT, and the Blackhawks earned a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.
"I got lucky," Kruger said. "Happy to see that go in."
Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes, but Chicago couldn't score again in the longest game in Honda Center history until Kruger got in front and forced a ricochet past Andersen, who made a career-high 53 saves.
The Blackhawks celebrated with more relief than excitement, realizing they only had about 42 hours until the puck drops for Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday.
"I just hope we don't have any more like that," Shaw said. "I think this helps us, and showed us what can happen if we keep sticking to it and competing. We'll find a way to win."
Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks their second loss of the postseason.
The game was the 17th-longest in NHL history, and the longest since Dallas and San Jose went four overtimes on May 4, 2008.
Shaw attempted to end it during a power play 8:47 into the second overtime by knocking a high-arching rebound of Patrick Kane's shot into the net with his helmet in a stunning soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal. The officials briefly conferred before waving it off — NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.
"It was just a reaction right there," Shaw said. "You do whatever you can to get that puck across the line. But we just kept working and competing, and we got lucky. ... Overtime goals are huge, so I tried to sell it as much as I could. It was just exciting, the reaction at the net. I was just out there using my head, I guess."
Corey Perry tied it late in the second period for the Ducks, who dropped to 9-2 in the postseason with their first home loss in seven games, missing numerous chances to end it. Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, which was shut out over the final 78:42.
"There were a few posts, a few crossbars," Perry said. "It's a tough one to swallow, but you get right back at it, put it behind you and get ready for the next one."
These Western powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.
Anaheim hadn't played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.
Two days after Anaheim comfortably won the series opener to improve to 6-0 at Honda Center in the postseason, Kruger's fortunate goal ended a nail-biting rematch.
"You just try to limit the mistakes as much as possible," Cogliano said. "You're drained. I think both game plans on both teams get a little lax, because you're out there for so long. Physically it's tough. Guys cramp. You're out there for so long, going through so many hits, and the game is so fast-paced, especially against this team. It's a tough pill to swallow right now, but you've just got to get over it. We've got to recover."
Perry put a shot off the crossbar roughly 10 minutes into the first OT, and Sami Vatanen hit the posts behind Crawford twice in extra time. Andersen made two enormous saves early in the second overtime, and Crawford matched him with a handful of stunners late in the period.
The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks' depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing only four defensemen — Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time, while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook both topped 47 minutes — and relying on its top-end talent.
In the end, Kruger came up with his second goal of the postseason.
Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the postseason.
Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.