By Brad Vandenberk
The Chicago Blackhawks finished their California weekend road swing in Anaheim versus the Ducks Sunday evening. The night earlier saw Los Angeles King, Dustin Brown bury three goals and a helper, as the Hawks were shutout 4-0. The Ducks are looking to make a strong run to fight for a tight Western Conference playoff spot. Hawk’s Captain Jonathan Toews remained in Chicago for this trip and missed his 3rd consecutive game with an upper body injury. Niklas Hjalmarsson was also held back. With two leaders off the ice, the road team needed to fight hard to beat a talented Ducks squad.
Ray Emery got the coach Q nod for the start with Jonas Hiller getting his 21st straight start for the Ducks. Marcus Kruger played on the top line with Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. Brendan Morrison centered Marian Hossa and Viktor Stalberg. Dave Bolland was with Andrew Brunette and Bryan Bickell. Finally, Jamal Mayers had Michael Frolik and Jimmy Hayes on either side.
The first started with both teams getting great chances to open the scoring. Sean O’Donnell took a puck off the skate and headed straight for the bench. He would return. Hossa has a great chance to open the scoring with Hiller there to close the door. The first penalty of the game went to Toni Lydman for a high stick. During the Hawks first power play, the curse if lifted. With the Hawks controlling the puck during the power play, Nick Leddy gets the puck over to Kane who comes off the wall and lets a shot go from the top of the circle. With Jamal Mayers creating the screen in front of the net, the Hawks finally get a power play goal. This is their first one in 13 games. Corey Perry is then called for a trip sending the Hawks back to the power play. Brent Seabrook puts a great shot on net with Hiller looking sharp. Then the Hawks get a little careless as Brendan Morrison taps a puck over the glass in the Hawks zone. This was a 2 minute minor for delay of game. The Ducks get a few great chances but Emery is there to keep the Hawks ahead. After killing the penalty, the Hawks need to finish the period ahead on the road. With just 19 seconds left in the first the Hawks have trouble clearing the zone. Dave Bolland’s clearing attempt takes a funny bounce off the boards and Nick Bonino picks up the puck and puts a shot on net. Andrew Cogliano is there to put home the rebound. But wait! It was a kicking motion and the goal is waved off right away. After a lengthy review, it is ruled a goal and the period ends tied at 1. The goal stood as it was said that Cogliano hit the puck after it bounced off his skate.
The Ducks opened the second with a little more jump in their step. The intensity picked up a bit as Ryan Getzlaf labelled Leddy behind the Hawks net. Teemu Selanne began to heat up as it seemed like he had the puck on his stick a lot. Sharp lets a shot go half way through the period and Marcus Kruger is in front and tips it wide of the goal. The Hawks did not register a shot on net for the first 8 minutes of the period. Francois Beauchemin stood Kruger up at the blue line with a hit that got the crowd going. As the Hawks again, try to clear their defensive zone. Selanne gets the puck to Sheldon Brookbank who fires a point shot off Duncan Keith’s shin pad and past Emery giving the Ducks the first lead of the evening with 7:29 remaining in the second period. Beauchemin hits Kruger again at center ice making the Hawks search for toughness a well needed necessity. The period ended with the Ducks up 2-1 and outshooting the Hawks 25 15.
The final period had saw the Hawks come out flat footed. Selanne was again, in front of the net with another scoring opportunity. At the 16:06 mark Bolland hooked Perry sending the Hawks to an important penalty kill. Just 32 seconds in the Ducks power play, Mayers gets his stick under Selanne’s arm and hauls him down. This took the wind right out of the Hawks sails as the Ducks would get 1:28 of 5 on 3 power play time. Selanne final makes the scoring opportunities count. Getzlaf finds Selanne at the side of the net and he puts a quick shot through Emery’s legs. 3-1 Ducks with 15:12 left. The Hawks gets another power play chances as Lubomir Visnovsky trips up Kane. The power play didn’t even register a shot on net as again the Hawks took almost 11 minutes into the final frame to register 1 shot on net. Things began to turn ugly as Niklas Hagman took a few extra whacks at Emery’s glove and Duncan Keith takes exception. The Hawks loss the game 3-1 and get zero points on this west coast road trip.
-The Hawks were outshot 38-19. They only register a total of 9 shots over the final 2 periods.
-Hawks go 1 for 3 on the power play. The Ducks went 1 for 3 as well.
-Duncan Keith led the troops with 28:38 of TOI
-Dave Bolland had a great night in the face off dot as he won 12 of 16 faceoffs.
-The Hawks have lost their 3 straight and are hopeful captain Toews and Hjalmarsson can return soon.
-Hawks welcome the Maple Leafs to the UC on Wednesday night. This would be where any new acquisition made by 2pm Monday will get to debut.
–Best Wishes for a speedy recovery to Tim Sassone!