Dec 062013

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks twice pulled even Friday night against the visiting Anaheim Ducks but were not able to avoid their third straight defeat. Play went to a shootout but the Hawks were on the short end of a 3-2 decision.

First Period-Corey Perry opened the scoring at the 3:20 mark, tipping in a Ryan Getzlaf shot. Less than a minute later, the Blackhawks responded after Kris Versteeg’s drop pass got away from Patrick Kane. Ben Smith took control of the loose puck and wristed home the equalizer through Jonas Hiller’s wickets.

Matt Belesky tripped Jeremy Morin 10:02 into the game, resulting in Chicago’s first power play of the night. In the following two minutes, Anaheim outshot the Hawks 4-2 despite being shorthanded.

Hampus Lindholm held Kris Versteeg at the 17:27 mark, but the Hawks got a single shot by Morin on their second time on the man advantage. The period ended with the score tied at a goal apiece.

Second Period-Andrew Cogliano had a shot on Raanta in the third minute after a turnover at the Hawks blue line resulted in an odd man rush, though Anaheim couldn’t convert. Smith made a run at the net a minute later but couldn’t pull the puck to his forehand side.

A Jeremy Morin shot in the sixth minute resulted in a rebound that Sheldon Brookbank banged to the net. Hiller stopped the second attempt.

Teemu Selanne picked the pocket of Duncan Keith along the boards in the neutral zone and bore down on Raanta. The shot beat the Hawks rookie but struck the left post and stayed out of the net.

Midway through the period, Corey Perry knocked the stick out of Johnny Oduya’s hands. When Oduya attempted to play the puck, he was called for closing his hand around it and was sent to the box. Late in the power play, Anaheim struck.

Getzlaf, with Perry again screening Raanta, sent the puck through the five-hole. With 10:05 gone in the middle frame, the Ducks led 2-1. Chicago went hard at the Anaheim zone to try and even the score in the next few minutes with several decent attempts being turned away or just off the mark.

With 5:33 left, Raanta smothered a Kyle Palmieri shot against the post. On the resulting face off, he gloved an attempt by Belesky. The Hawks drew a penalty from Brian Allen after he boarded Jonathan Toews in the 16th minute.

Chicago tied the score late in the power play. Versteeg put back a rebound of a Marian Hossa shot. Hiller sent the attempt back to the front of the net but Versteeg gave it another whack. The persistence paid off as he sent it over Hiller’s stick side and into the back of the net at 17:48. The score remained 2-2 as the teams headed into the second intermission.

Third Period-Selanne had a couple of shots on Raanta in the third minute as the Ducks controlled play in the early going. Perry set up Dustin Penner for a shot in front of the net that Raanta stopped. The same went for a shot by Sami Vantanen seconds later.

Hiller turned Sharp away after a nice pass from Hossa in the sixth minute but most of the chances in the first half of the final period belonged to Anaheim. The Hawks put some pressure in the Ducks zone soon after the midway point of the period.

Raanta made a big save sans stick on Belesky in the thirteenth minute after Chicago surrendered a couple of defensive zone turnovers. The action was back and forth over the next few minutes as the threat of overtime began to loom.

Sharp took a pass from Hossa with 2:18 left but missed with the snipe from the left circle. Raanta gloved an attempt by Penner with 1:57 to go. Anaheim looked to have a 2-on-1 with 35 seconds left but Perry was offside. Penner slapped the puck in frustration and was assessed a ten-minute misconduct penalty. Regulation ended in the Ducks zone, though Chicago couldn’t get off a shot before time expired.

Overtime-Kane and Toews came up with a 2-on-1 rush only to be stopped by a great save by Hiller. In the second minute, the Ducks appeared to win the game when Marc Fistric put in a loose puck on the left post. However, interference was called Saku Koivu on the play and the goal was waved off.

Saad was sprung on a breakaway by Marcus Kruger and was taken down from behind. The officials did not make a call and play went on. Anaheim pounded away at Raanta for most of the final minute, but the extra time ended with the score the same as at the end of regulation.

Shootout-Toews zipped one past Hiller’s stick side. Nick Bonino lost control of the puck but it slid through Raanta’a five hole. Sharp was denied by Hiller. Palmieri backhanded with elevation over Raanta’s stick side. Kane’s backhanded attempt was knocked away by Hiller as the Ducks picked up the second point.

Three Stars-Perry (third), Versteeg (second), Getzlaf (first).


-It’s too bad that Raanta gave up the first shootout goal on what amounted to a changeup after Bonino lost the handle on his attempt. The rookie stopped 24 of 26 shots on goal, matched Hiller for much of the night, and helped earn the one point the Hawks did take from the contest.

-Brent Seabrook clearly knocked Koivu into Raanta in overtime. The Ducks goal should have stood up as the one that ended the contest, so it is hard to get too upset at Saad being denied a penalty shot later in overtime.

-On the second night of back-to-back games, Morin played barely seven minutes. Smith was limited to 9:55 on the ice playing in the middle of the third line.

-Earlier Friday, the Kyle Beach era in the Hawks organization came to an end as Chicago traded him to the Rangers for Brandon Mashinter. This seems like the team is giving Beach a chance at a fresh start. I can’t see Mashinter contributing in Chicago this season. My guess is that he spends the remainder of the season in Rockford. Good luck to Beach, who did have four goals in his last two games with the IceHogs.






Jon Fromi

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