(SportsNetwork.com) - The Anaheim Ducks hope to continue a superb start to the postseason and grab a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals when they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Tuesday's clash at the Honda Center.
The Ducks opened this best-of-seven series with an impressive 4-1 win over the visiting Blackhawks. Sunday's Game 1 victory pushed Anaheim's record in these playoffs to 9-1, as the Ducks swept Winnipeg in the opening round before dropping just one game against Calgary in the second round.
By winning nine of their first 10 games this postseason, the Ducks are off to their best-ever start to a playoff year.
Despite the Ducks' strong play in the opening two rounds and their status as the top seed in the West, Anaheim entered this series against Chicago as a slight underdog. The Blackhawks, after all, won Stanley Cup titles in 2010 and '13 and are making their third straight appearance in the conference finals.
Anaheim, meanwhile, is in the West finals for the first time since winning its only Cup in 2007.
The Ducks and goaltender Frederik Andersen were able to frustrate Chicago's vaunted offense in Sunday's opener. Andersen made 16 of his 32 saves in the first period and helped Anaheim kill off all three Chicago power plays.
Nate Thompson, Hampus Lindholm and Jakob Silfverberg each tallied a goal and an assist, while Kyle Palmieri also lit the lamp for the Ducks.
Anaheim grabbed a 1-0 lead on Lindholm's marker at 8:48 of the first period and Palmieri made it a two-goal cushion early in the second stanza. Brad Richards cut the deficit in half for Chicago with his goal in the final minute of the second, but the Ducks kept the Blackhawks off the board the rest of the way while Thompson and Silfverberg added insurance goals in the third period.
The Ducks have outscored their opponents 18-3 in the third period this postseason.
"You're not going to win unless you have four lines playing," Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Palmieri, Thompson and Cogliano were very good today. Those guys played really good, but you need it if you want to be successful."
Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots for the Blackhawks, who were on the losing end of a Game 1 in the Western Conference finals for a change. They entered with wins in their last three West final openers (2010, 2013, 2014).
"They're a dangerous team," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of the Ducks. "I think no matter who is on the ice, they're capable of making plays and you have to be aware of that as well. They generated offense with all four lines."
Chicago is expected to make a change on defense for Game 2 when David Rundblad is likely to be replaced with Kyle Cumiskey in the lineup. Cumiskey practiced alongside Johnny Oduya on Monday, giving him the inside track over Rundblad for tonight's game.
Rundblad was inserted into the lineup for Michal Rozsival, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Game 4 of Chicago's second-round sweep over Minnesota. Sunday marked Rundblad's first game since April 11. Cumiskey, who hasn't seen game action since Feb. 27, had no points in seven games during the regular season.
The Blackhawks hope to regroup and even the series tonight before it shifts to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. The next encounter is slated for Thursday night in the Windy City.
The Ducks, however, have won their last six postseason home games, one shy of the franchise playoff record set April 30-June 7, 2003. Anaheim is 5-0 at home this spring after going 26-12-3 at the Honda Center during the regular season.
Chicago is 3-3 as the visiting team in the playoffs. The Blackhawks went 24-16-1 on the road during the regular campaign.
This is the first-ever postseason series between the Blackhawks and Ducks.