Saad’s third period goal, even’s Stanley Cup Finals 2-2

 

Brandon Saad and the Blackhawks finally broke through Tampa Bay’s rookie goalie and then barely hung on to even up the Stanley Cup Final.Saad scored the tiebreaking goal with 13:38 to play, captain Jonathan Toews scored in the second period and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday night, knotting the Final at two games apiece.Corey Crawford made 24 saves and survived a frantic final minute for the Blackhawks, who rebounded from consecutive defeats in a gritty, defense-dominated game.Saad scored the eventual winner by chipping a backhand under Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 20-year-old Russian goalie forced into his first NHL playoff start. He made 17 saves while replacing 53-game winner Ben Bishop, who was scratched with an undisclosed lower-body injury after hobbling through Game 3.Game 5 is Saturday night in Tampa.Alex Killorn scored in the second period for the Lightning, whose four-game road winning streak ended.Vasilevskiy played well enough under extraordinary pressure, but couldn’t quite match Crawford, the 2013 Stanley Cup winner who regularly follows up poor stretches with big games for the Blackhawks.Tampa Bay pummeled Crawford with multiple scoring chances in the final minute with Vasilevskiy pulled for an extra attacker, but the veteran stopped them all – including a point-blank shot by Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who has no goals in the series.The series is now a best-of-three, with the Hawks needing at least one more win at Amalie Arena to secure their third championship in six seasons. Tampa Bay has home-ice advantage, but a fraction of the Blackhawks’ big-game credentials.Despite their differences in experience and age, these teams are incredibly close: This is the first Final since 1968 in which all four games were decided by one goal.After a tense and scoreless first period, Toews broke open a tense game and erased a slow Blackhawks start with his first goal since Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Killorn evened it five minutes later off an exceptional behind-the-net pass from Valtteri Filppula.Saad scored early in the third period with the same determination that has characterized the tough forward’s entire career. He got the puck in the corner off a faceoff and failed to score while skating in front, but controlled the loose puck and whacked a backhand that skittered under Vasilevskiy for his eighth goal of the postseason and second in two games.Vasilevskiy became the fourth-youngest goalie to start a Stanley Cup Final game in NHL history and the youngest since 20-year-old Patrick Roy in 1986. Bishop got hurt during Game 2 and left it twice in the waning minutes, but the veteran played Game 3 and participated in Wednesday’s morning skate before the Lightning ruled him out.The Blackhawks didn’t manage a shot on Vasilevskiy’s net until 8:17 into the first period, and then didn’t get another for about six minutes in a tentative first period. The Blackhawks’ two shots in the first period were a franchise low for a Final game, while Tampa Bay didn’t cash in its handful of additional chances.The Blackhawks finally warmed up in the second. After putting two shots off Vasilevskiy’s posts, the Hawks finally scored when Vasilevskiy gave up a rebound of Marian Hossa’s shot and Toews slapped a loose puck under the goalie, who deflected it in.The Lightning had scored the opening goal in their previous four playoff games, but they answered when Filppula threaded a backward pass through two defenders and in front to Killorn. Looking at Filppula behind his net, Crawford never saw the Harvard product until it was too late to stop his ninth goal of the postseason.Vasilevskiy joined the Lightning in December and played in just 16 games during the regular season – none since March 31 – before mopping up in two earlier playoff games. Yet the likable Siberian has been touted as one of the greatest Russian goaltending prospects of recent years, earning comparisons to Vladislav Tretiak and winning a gold medal while backing up his idol, Sergei Bobrovsky, at last summer’s world championships.
NOTES—Stamkos ended his five-game scoring drought with an assist on Killorn’s goal…..Patrick Kane also got his first point of the series with an assist on Saad’s goal. … Vasilevskiy’s backup was Kristers Gudlevskis, the 22-year-old Latvian Olympian who spent this season in the AHL. He has just three games of NHL experience, none this season. …Johnny Oduya played for the Hawks after apparently injuring his left arm in Game 3, while fellow D Kimmo Timonen returned to Hawk’s lineup after sitting out the first three Final games. … New Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg attended the game in a red Blackhawks hoodie.

Late goal carries Lightning past Hawks 3-2

 

Victor Hedman had two assists for Tampa Bay while playing stout defense on the Blackhawks top forwards and the Lightning beat the Hawks 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.Ryan Callahan, Ondrej Palat and Cedric Paquette scored as Tampa Bay used its second straight win to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Ben Bishop made 36 saves in a gutsy performance after he was questionable coming into the game. Game 4 is Wednesday night.Brad Richards and Brandon Saad scored for the Hawks, and Corey Crawford finished with 29 stops.The third consecutive one-goal game in the final was tied at 1 after two periods, and then tied again after the teams exchanged goals in a 13-second burst in the third. But Hedman helped the Lightning take the lead for good when he skated into the corner and made a perfect pass to Paquette in the middle for his third goal of the playoffs with 3:11 remaining, silencing the United Center crowd.Bishop and company held up down the stretch as the Lightning improved to 8-3 on the road in the playoffs.Tampa Bay wasted a chance to go in front in the second after Saad was whistled for goaltender’s interference, creating a 5-on-3 opportunity. Bishop, who was a game-time decision with some sort of issue left over from Game 2, was shaken up on the collision, but stayed in the net. Crawford then made a couple of big saves to help the Blackhawks kill off the power-play time, leading to roars of approval from the crowd of 22,336.Marian Hossa made a slick pass to set up Saad’s seventh goal at 4:14 of the third, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. But the Lightning came right down and scored when Palat stuffed in a rebound for his eighth of the playoffs.After nearly two days’ worth of speculation, Bishop led the Lightning out of the tunnel for warmups and got the start in goal. He participated in the morning skate, but there was no definitive word on his status until he was announced as the starter right before the game.The 6-foot-7 Bishop left two different times during the third period of Tampa Bay’s 4-3 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night. The team has not provided a reason for his twin departures, but he appeared to be dealing with some sort of groin or leg injury as he struggled to get up and down for much of the night.The Lightning got the first goal for the fourth straight time when Hedman made a terrific stretch pass to an open Callahan for a big drive over Crawford’s left shoulder at 5:09 of the first. Hedman has four assists in the series while hounding the Hawks talented group of scorers, establishing himself as an elite defenseman on the NHL’s biggest stage.The Blackhawks dominated the rest of the period. Hossa wasted a prime opportunity when his shot on an open net was wide left as he tumbled to the ice. Teuvo Teravainen also shot it wide on a good look while Bishop struggled to move around the goal.Tampa Bay defenseman Braydon Coburn was sent off for hooking with 7:18 left, and the Blackhawks capitalized on their first power-play opportunity. With Andrew Shaw lurking in front of the goal, Richards’ big slap shot went off the top of Bishop’s glove and into the net for his third goal of the playoffs.

NOTES—Johnny Oduya missed the last part of the second, but returned for the start of the third. …Bryan Bickell and rookie D Trevor van Riemsdyk each made their first appearance of the series. Bickell had been sidelined by vertigo, while van Riemdsyk was coming back from surgeries on his left knee and right wrist. It was the first NHL game for van Riemsdyk since Nov. 16…..Kris Versteeg and David Rundblad were inactive. … Nikita Nesterov returned to Tampa Bay’s lineup, giving the Lightning seven active defensemen. Rookie winger Jonathan Drouin was scratched. … It was Richards’ first goal in the Stanley Cup Final since he scored for Tampa Bay in Game 6 of the 2004 series against Calgary. … NASCAR driver Danica Patrick was in attendance and so was Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan. Both grew up in Illinois.

Hawks give up sloppy goals, fall to Lightning. Series tied 1-1, now to United Center

 

TAMPA—Two goalies taking turns in the crease in the third period. A low-scoring defenseman getting the biggest goal of all.The Tampa Bay Lightning found some strange ways to even the Stanley Cup Final.Jason Garrison scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 11:11 to play, rookie goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy relieved Ben Bishop twice to earn the victory, and the Lightning beat the Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 2 on Saturday night to even the series.Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who played with all the aggression they lacked in the third period of Game 1 when the Hawks rallied late to win.Tyler Johnson and Cedric Paquette also scored for Tampa Bay, which curiously made three goalie changes in the third period. The 20-year-old Vasilevskiy twice replaced starter Ben Bishop and made five saves in 9:13 to earn his first NHL playoff win.Game 3 is Monday night in the United Center.Vasilevskiy has 16 regular-season games of NHL experience, and he had played in just two games since March 31. But the Russian came in for 92 seconds before Garrison scored the go-ahead goal, and he returned to finish the game with 7:41 to play, earning the victory.The Lightning didn’t say why Bishop left the game, came back and left again. He complained of interference on Brent Seabrook‘s tying goal early in the third period, but played on.Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen scored 2:16 apart early in the second period for the Blackhawks, who couldn’t follow up their Game 1 comeback with another.Just over five minutes after Seabrook scored, Garrison put the Lightning ahead when his shot apparently deflected off a Hawk player in front of Corey Crawford, who stopped 20 shots in an uninspiring effort. The goal was just Garrison’s second of the postseason.With his jarring No. 88 jersey and 45 previous minutes of NHL playoff experience, Vasilevskiy handled his surprise assignment splendidly. He made an outstanding pad save with less than five minutes to play as Tampa Bay killed a penalty, and he stayed strong wrapped up the victory. The Lightning again showed off the resilience that got them to this lofty height, improving to 4-0 in Game 2 of their four postseason series after going 1-3 in Game 1. Tampa Bay has lost two straight games only once in the entire playoffs.The Stanley Cup Final’s first two games were split for just the second time since 2004.The Lightning blamed their 2-1 loss in the opener on too much caution in the third period, when the Hawks scored two late goals to win. Neither team showed any particular caution from the start of Game 2, skating aggressively and working hard for offensive chances.Paquette put a long shot through heavy traffic late in the first period for his first goal since April 27, ending a 13-game drought.Shaw made his biggest impact on Game 1 when he apparently bit Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, but the aggressive forward affected Game 2 early in the second by getting in front of Bishop and outfighting Garrison for a loose puck.During a power play moments later, Teravainen executed a give-and-go with Marian Hossa for his third goal in two games. The 20-year-old Teravainen scored the tying goal and assisted on Antoine Vermette‘s winner 1:58 apart in Game 1 victory.The Lightning swiftly tied it up on a back-to-the-net, between-his-own-legs deflection by Kucherov, the gifted Russian who scored 29 goals in the regular season.Johnson then ended his five-game goal drought with his NHL-leading 13th goal of the postseason. Crawford probably should have saved the backhand by Johnson, but it slid across his sweater and dropped in for Johnson’s first goal since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.Seabrook evened it with 16:22 left in the third, teeing up a hard shot with no opposition after the Tampa Bay defense got distracted by captain Jonathan Toews. Bishop claimed Hossa interfered with him on top of his crease, but the goal stood. NOTES—Jonathan Drouin, the No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft, returned to Tampa Bay’s lineup for the first time since Game 4 of the second-round series against Montreal on May 7. Nikita Nesterov was scratched. … Bryan Bickell sat out his second straight game after getting hurt in Game 7 of the conference finals in Anaheim last weekend. The Blackhawks haven’t disclosed the nature of Bickell’s injury, but the forward said he passed the league’s concussion tests. ….Joel Quenneville coached his 200th playoff game. …Niklas Hjalmarsson turned 28 years old.

Teravainen,Vermette score late goals 1:58 apart, Hawks take opener 2-1

 

TAMPA—After 53 minutes of scoreless frustration, the Blackhawks needed less than two minutes more to roar back on top in the Stanley Cup Final opener.Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette scored 1:58 apart late in the third period, and the Blackhawks rallied to stun the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Wednesday night.Corey Crawford made 22 saves for the Blackhawks, who opened the final series in their quest for their third NHL title in six seasons with more of the clutch offensive play on which they’ve built a championship team.

”You just learn not to panic and keep working hard,” Crawford said. ”Stick to your game plan, and we’ll get our chances.”

Nothing worked for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane – but with their two stars off the ice and the clock dwindling, the Blackhawks’ role players delivered to crush the Amalie Arena crowd celebrating Tampa Bay’s first trip to the Final since winning the 2004 title. Teravainen scored through traffic with 6:32 to play, and Vermette got the winner in the slot with 4:34 left.Game 2 is Saturday night in Tampa.Ben Bishop stopped 19 shots and Alex Killorn scored in the opening minutes for Tampa Bay, which appeared to be closing in on a gritty shutout victory. Until Teravainen’s goal through a two-man screen, the youthful Lightning gave a stellar defensive effort against the Blackhawks high-powered offense in front of a frenzied home crowd.The 6-foot-7 Bishop was a few minutes away from his third shutout in four games, including a tenacious 2-0 victory over the New York Rangers to win the Eastern Conference title last Friday night.But steady work in Tampa Bay’s zone finally was rewarded in dramatic fashion.Shortly after Crawford stopped Ryan Callahan on a breakaway, Marcus Kruger and Valtteri Filppula provided screens in front of Bishop, who never saw Teravainen’s shot for his third goal of the postseason.Moments later, Vermette collected a bouncing puck in the slot and beat Bishop for his third goal, providing a big return on the Blackhawks’ decision to acquire him at the trade deadline.The winner of Game 1 has won the Cup in 58 of the last 75 Finals since 1939, including the last three.The Hawks roared into its third Final in six years and 13th overall after outlasting Anaheim in a memorable seven-game conference final. A roster loaded with championship-winning players and veteran talent made the Blackhawks most observers’ favorite in the series despite questions about a defense relying heavily on just four players, including tireless star Duncan Keith.Tampa Bay needed 20 games to win its second Eastern Conference championship, but emerged from a Game 7 victory over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden with a wealth of confidence in its youthful, gifted lineup.After a stirring pregame celebration of the Lightning’s return to the Final 11 year after winning their only title, they opened the Final with a noticeable jump on the Blackhawks – and Killorn needed just 4:31 to get the Lightning on top.With his back to the net, the Harvard product made an exceptional backhand redirect of Anton Stralman’s shot, swatting down at a wobbling puck and knocking it past Crawford’s pad for his eighth goal of the postseason. Captain Steven Stamkos said Tuesday that the playoffs have been Killorn’s ”coming-out party” as an elite forward.The Blackhawks increased their intensity later in the period when Kane moved back onto a line with Toews, reuniting the Hawks two best scorers. Yet Tampa Bay kept up its strong positional game in the second period, and the Blackhawks’ offensive frustration grew, with Toews growing visibly agitated with their inability to give trouble to Bishop.

NOTES—Tampa Bay lost for the first time in the postseason after scoring the game’s first goal, dropping to 9-1. … The Hawks scratched F Bryan Bickell with an undisclosed injury and dressed Kris Versteeg, who was in Toronto on Monday for the birth of his first child, son Jaxson. Kruger played despite missing time last Saturday in Anaheim with an undisclosed injury. … Killorn is the first Harvard graduate to score in the Stanley Cup Final. … Tampa Bay was the NHL’s best home team during the regular season, and the Hawks were the best on the road. The Lightning led the league in goals, and the Blackhawks shared the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed. … Brad Richards mostly got a warm reception in his return to Tampa, where he won the 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy during the Lightning’s title run. Richards was traded in 2008.

Hoiberg to be named new Bulls Coach-five year contract.

Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above headFred Hoiberg is going pro.  (USATSI)

The Bulls will formally introduce Fred Hoiberg as their new head coach on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. CT, confirming the worst-kept secret in recent NBA history. Hoiberg is leaving Iowa State University in order to take his first head-coaching job in the pros. He will replace Tom Thibodeau, who was fired last week.Hoiberg and the Bulls have agreed to a five-year, nearly $25 million contract.The Cyclones ran a pro-style offense while he was at the helm, placing an emphasis on taking 3-pointers and shots at the rim, avoiding long 2-point jumpers.Hoiberg is not new to the NBA, as he spent 10 years in the league as a player, four of them with the Bulls. After his career on the court was over, he spent four years in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office. He has been linked to numerous NBA jobs, most recently reportedly interviewing with the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans. This was only a matter of time.Back when Hoiberg was a senior at Iowa State, Bulls general manager Gar Forman was a Cyclones assistant coach. There have been rumors and reports for months that he’d be the Forman’s choice if/when the team split with Thibodeau. Like Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hoiberg is joining an organization where he has a pre-existing relationship with management as well a talented roster at his disposal. This is a much better situation than what most college coaches have had when making this leap.

 

Hawks wipe out Ducks, win Western Conf Crown, face Tampa Bay in Stanley Cup Finals

 

 

ANAHEIM—Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the opening minutes, Corey Crawford made 35 saves and the Blackhawks roared into the Stanley Cup finals with a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals Saturday night.Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Blackhawks, who will play for their third NHL championship in six seasons when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning beginning Wednesday night in Florida.After six games of tense hockey in an extraordinary series, Game 7 was an incongruous rout. Toews was responsible for it, burnishing his reputation for big-game brilliance with a rebound goal just 2:23 in and another power-play score before 12 minutes elapsed.Anaheim lost a Game 7 at home for the third straight season.Game one in Tampa is Wednesday night.

It’s done, worst kept secret becomes reality as Bulls launch Thibodeau


Chicago Bulls Logo - Red bull with script above head

After weeks of rumors and reports, the Bulls announced Thursday that they have fired head coach Tom Thibodeau. He was let go with two years and approximately nine million dollars left on his contract.Thibodeau has been the Bulls coach since 2010 and was successful in his five years with the team (255-139). He won the Coach of the Year award in 2011 and the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals that same year, their most successful playoff run under Thibodeau. However injuries to key players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have stymied the Bulls since then. The Bulls went 50-32 this past season and were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games in the playoffs.There have been conflicts between Thibodeau and the Bulls front office for the last several years and the relationship was strained even further in the past couple of months. The team’s press release announcing Thibodeau’s dismissal openly discusses this tension.

Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said, “The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”

 

“When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” said  Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed.”

Despite these statements from the Bulls, Thibodeau will be a hot commodity among teams looking for a new head coach. The Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Pelicans are rumored to be potential landing spots for Thibodeau.

Hawks score three times in 3:45 span to beat Ducks 5-2, force game seven Saturday in Anaheim

 

It is really hard to wear out Duncan Keith. He just keeps going and going and going.Keith had three assists and saved a goal in the third period, and the Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 on Wednesday night to force a Game 7 in the Western Conference finals.The Blackhawks’ biggest stars stepped up during a key stretch in the second, led by another terrific all-around performance for Keith. Shaking off the Ducks’ plan to wear down the Hawks top four defensemen, Keith had his fourth multipoint game of the playoffs.

“He’s kind of a freak as far as his metabolism and conditioning level,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think the more he plays, the more efficient, the more he gets going.”
The Blackhawks forced a Game 7 by scoring from in-close. We take a closer look at their keys to victory.The Blackhawks refused to let their season end, pushing the Ducks to a decisive Game 7 with a berth in the Stanley Cup finals on the line.Andrew Shaw had two goals late in the third, sending the Ducks to their first regulation loss of the playoffs. Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane also scored, and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.

Next up for the NHL playoffs is a double dip of Game 7s to determine which teams will play for the Stanley Cup. The New York Rangers host the Tampa Bay Lightning in the East final Friday night, and the Blackhawks and Ducks meet in Anaheim on Saturday night.

It is only the second time in the expansion era since the 1967-68 playoffs that each of the conference finals required a Game 7. The other time was in 2000, when New Jersey went on to beat Dallas for the NHL title.

“I think the finality of it is what stands out,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I mean, one group is going to go home and one group’s going to go play for the Stanley Cup. There’s really not a lot you can leave on the table.”

The Ducks and Blackhawks each dropped a home Game 7 to Los Angeles last season. Anaheim blew a 3-2 series lead against the Kings in the second round, and the Blackhawks lost 5-4 in overtime in the West finals on a deflected shot from Los Angeles defenseman Alec Martinez.

“I remember the feeling after we lost that game,” Kane said. “We definitely don’t want that feeling again.”

Patrick Maroon and Clayton Stoner scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 18 saves.Anaheim caught a break when Jakob Silfverberg brushed up against Crawford’s glove on Stoner’s first goal of the playoffs at 1:57 of the third, trimming the lead to 3-2. There was no call on the play and Crawford threw up his hands in exasperation after Stoner’s big slap shot went into the net.But Crawford quickly put the play behind him, hanging tough while the Ducks made a frantic push for the tying goal. He got some help from Keith when the two-time Norris Trophy winner swept a shot away from the goal line about 3½ minutes into the period.

“It’s unbelievable,” Shaw said. “He’s one of those athletes who digs down and finds that extra step.”

Shaw finally got the Blackhawks some breathing room when he beat Andersen with a nifty backhander high into the net with 3:32 left. Andrew Desjardins made a nice hustle play to get the puck over to Shaw for his third playoff goal.Shaw then added an empty-netter in the final minute as the Hawks improved to 7-1 at home in the playoffs.

“I think we chased the game a little bit tonight and I think we let them dictate the second period,” Ducks center Ryan Kesler said. “They scored three quick ones. It’s tough to come back from three goals. We gave it a shot there.”

Keith picked up his first assist in the second when he made a long pass ahead to Kane, who touched it to a streaking Saad. The rugged forward then skated in and beat Andersen for a 1-0 lead, sending a charge through the crowd of 22,089.The team with the first goal has won each of the first six games.Keith connected with Hossa for a pretty score at 10:41, patiently waiting while the winger got open on the other side of the net. He got his 14th assist of the playoffs when Kane made a dazzling move to get past Matt Beleskey and then managed to squeeze a shot past Andersen with 7:52 left in the second.Keith played 28½ minutes. He leads the NHL in ice time for the playoffs.

“I’ve always taken pride in working out and training,” he said. “When I was younger, I was never a big guy, I’m still not the biggest guy. It’s a way to try and maybe even the playing field in some ways.”

NOTES—Ducks D Simon Despres hurt his left leg in the third period, but returned to the game after a quick trip to the locker room. … Kimmo Timonen was inactive, and David Rundblad returned to the lineup for the first time since the Hawks 4-1 loss in Game 1 against the Ducks. Timonen played in each of the Blackhawks’ first 15 postseason games. … F Emerson Etem got back in the lineup for the Ducks. F Tomas Fleischmann was inactive after he played 10:14 in Monday night’s victory.

NU extends Hoops Coach Chris Collins

Northwestern Wildcats (1981 - Pres)

EVANSTON—Northwestern has agreed to a contract extension with men’s basketball coach Chris Collins.The school did not provide any details while announcing the move on Tuesday.Collins, who replaced Bill Carmody, is 29-36 in two seasons. Northwestern went 14-19 his first season and 15-17 last season.With veterans Alex Olah and Tre Demps along with sophomores Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh returning, the Wildcats appear poised to contend for the school’s first NCAA tournament bid.

Ducks stun Hawks 5-4 in OT for 3-2 series lead

 

ANAHEIM—Matt Beleskey scored 45 seconds into overtime, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Blackhawks 5-4 on Monday night in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.Jonathan Toews scored two stunning goals in 72 seconds late in regulation to force overtime, but Beleskey barreled into the crease and scored on a rebound of Ryan Kesler’s shot, flying through the air in celebration.Kesler and Sami Vatanen had a goal and an assist apiece for the Ducks, who moved to the brink of their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals since 2007.The Blackhawks had won four overtime games already in this postseason and had all the momentum heading to OT this time – until Beleskey swooped in.Game 6 is Wednesday at the United Center.