In a showdown between the top two ranked team in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 4-2 Wednesday night in Anaheim. It was a back and forth tilt, that felt like a game between the best of the best, as well as a potential playoff preview.
The first period got off to quite the rocky start for the Blackhawks. The Ducks came out flying, as the Hawks looked as if they were stuck in quick sand, when Peter Holland put the Ducks up 1-0 1:24 into the first period. The sloppy play continued for the Hawks, as Brandon Bolig was sent to the penalty box, for an ill-timed interference penalty. Although the Ducks had a one-man advantage, the actual advantage went to the Hawks, as Jonathan Toews broke through the Ducks zone, to tie the game at one, with his short-handed goal. The Hawks killed off the rest of the penalty, and luckily the period as the sloppy play returned. Luckily for the Hawks, the game was tied after the first 20 minutes of play.
Once again, the Ducks came out soaring, out-chancing the Hawks, and bullying them with their physical play and smothering forechecking. However, near the half-way mark of the 2nd period, it was the Hawks’ birthday boy defenseman, Nick Leddy who gave the Hawks a one goal lead with his Power Play goal. The teams would head to their respective locker rooms to end the 2nd period with a 2-1 Blackhawks lead.
The 3rd period opened with the Hawks overall controlling the play, and holding their one goal lead over the Ducks. It nearly became a 2 goal lead, when it appeared that Brandon Bolig had snuck a puck past Ducks goaltender, Jonas Hiller, but after a video review, the evidence showed that Bolig had kicked the puck into the net, resulting in a no-goal. The no-goal didn’t appear to deflate the Hawks immediately, but the remaining 5 minutes in the 3rd period of the last game on a 4 game road trip, against the hottest team in the NHL sure seemed to. Bobby Ryan scored the Ducks first goal since less than two minutes into the 1st period, to tie the game at 2. A couple of minutes later, Teemu Selanne gave the Ducks the lead with a wrist shot past Hawks goaltender, Corey Crawford. Crawford would eventually be pulled from the game, in favor of an extra-attacker for the Hawks, and the Ducks took advantage as Sheldon Souray provided the icing on the cake, as the Ducks finished off the Blackhawks by a score of 4-2.
Patrick Kane was practically on the ice most of the game(especially in the 3rd period) and ended the night with 25:21 minutes of ice-time, to lead the team.
Corey Crawford played outstanding tonight, as his excellent play kept the Hawks in it, as he withstood his teams inconsistent play, most of the night.
The Blackhawks catch a well-deserved breather after a very good road trip, when they host the defending Stanley Cup champion, Los Angeles Kings, Monday night at the United Center.