The Chicago Blackhawks returned home from their 6-game road trip to lose to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in the shootout. The Blackhawks still remain the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss, as they earned one point in the standings for the shootout loss.
The Ducks showed played better hockey in the first period, as they nearly scored a shorthanded goal against the Hawks. The Hawks’ Power Play looked very shaky in the first, as the best chances that were generated while they had a man advantage, were generated by the shorthanded Ducks. The period came to a scoreless close, as the Hawks were starting to find a groove and generate chances.
The second period was the Hawks’ period even though the Ducks took the lead and the momentum as Ryan Getzlaf broke the scoreless tie, by deflecting a shot off of Hawks’ defenseman, Brent Seabrook . The Hawks, and the United Center got a jolt of energy after Hawks’ winger, Bryan Bickell landed a huge(yet clean) hit on Ryan Getzlaf that Ducks’ forward, Brad Staubitz took exception to as he jumped Bickell for the hit. Both Bickell and Staubitz received 5-minute majors for fighting, however, Stuabitz also received an extra 2-minute instigator penalty. The energy in the building was electric, and it carried over onto the ice as Nick Leddy buried the Power Play equalizer, tying the game at one goal apiece.
The energetic play continued, as less than a minute later, Brandon Saad made a beautiful airborne shot that trickled past the goal line. It wasn’t ruled a goal(most felt that it honestly wasn’t a goal) until after a lengthy video review at the NHL headquarters in Toronto ruled it a goal, making it 2-1 Hawks.
The Hawks carried the lead to the end of the 2nd period, and through most of the 3rd period, surviving an Anaheim 2 man advantage, and some poor Power Plays. The lead lasted until 17:20 into the 3rd period, when a helmetless Andrew Cogliano slipped a tip-in goal past Corey Crawford to tie the game, and stop the Hawks momentum. Ducks’ defenseman Toni Lydman committed an ill-timed interference penalty at the tail-end of regulation, giving the momentum back to the Hawks, as the two teams prepared for overtime.
The Power Play proved to be fruitless, as the Hawks executed with much to be desired with the man advantage yet again, as the Ducks’ 29th ranked Penalty Killing unit foiled the Hawks Power Play unit. Toni Lydman, again, gift-wrapped a beautiful opportunity for the Hawks in overtime, with his high-stick on Patrick Sharp. While the Hawks generated some good shots on the OT Power Play, it produced nothing on the scoreboard, as the teams headed to the shootout.
Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad were both stopped by Ducks’ goaltender, Viktor Fasth, as Corey Perry‘s goal, proved to be the deciding goal in the shootout, giving the Ducks a 3-2 victory, and 2 points in the standings.
Corey Crawford played an excellent game(up until the shootout) as he kept the Hawks in the game with several dynamic saves, and ended the night having stopped 29 of 31 Anaheim shots on goal.
The Hawks’ Penalty Kill was spectacular yet again, as it killed 4 Ducks’ Power Plays, including one 2-man advantage.
The Penalty Kill, along with the play of Corey Crawford were the keys to the Hawks avoiding their first regulation loss of the season.
Bryan Bickell continues to play with a new-found physical edge this season. That edge powered the Hawks momentum that eventually lead to the Hawks taking the lead in the 2nd period.
The first game back home after a long road trip is usually a tricky one. However, the Hawks did leave the game with a point in the standings against a very good team in the Anaheim Ducks, having still not lost in regulation yet this season.
Next the Blackhawks will play host to the stumbling San Jose Sharks at the United Center, Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM Central Time.