All the eyes in the hockey world were focused on the United Center tonight. Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks took on the RED hot Anaheim Ducks. The Blackhawks were in the middle of a “slump” coming into tonight’s game. The Blackhawks were 4-1-5 in their last ten games. While the Ducks had won an impressive 18 of 19 games; they were riding high on an eight game winning streak. The Ducks were this season’s “Chicago Blackhawks” of last season.
Many people viewed this game as a measuring stick for the Blackhawks. Tonight the Blackhawks showed the Ducks and the NHL that they are still the reigning Stanley Cup Champions! The Blackhawks dominated 53 of 60 minutes in tonight’s game. The Blackhawks got some production from some struggling players. Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell showed up on the score sheet with one goal each. There were a lot of contributing factors to tonight’s Blackhawks win. Special teams were good, Corey Crawford was great in net, and struggling players showed up big!
Let’s get to the periods break down:
1st period: The Blackhawks have been preaching the need for a fast start. Well tonight the Blackhawks started off fast. Midway through the first period special teams came up huge for the Blackhawks. The penalty kill produced a short-handed goal from Marian Hossa. Hossa got the puck on great passes from Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook. The Blackhawks were not done scoring in the first period. The struggling Kris Versteeg gave the United Center Faithful a reason to scream and shout. Versteeg put the Blackhawks up 2-0. The first period would end with the Blackhawks leading 2-0.
2nd period: The Blackhawks dominated the Ducks in the first period. The second period would not be any different. The Blackhawks were flying to pucks, hitting, and getting shots on net. Despite dominating the Ducks for the entire second period, the Blackhawks were unable to light the lamp. The Ducks did come up huge on the Penalty Kill in the second period. The Ducks killed four minor penalties in the second period. The score remained the same after two periods, the Blackhawks led 2-0. The Blackhawks however did not come out of the second period unscathed. Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg collided at the end of the period. Versteeg was injured and did not return.
3rd period: The third period was mostly dominated by the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks increased their lead to 3-0. Bickell who has not been producing came through in a huge way for the Blackhawks. Bickell rocketed past the defense and put a lucky shot past Jonas Hiller.
The Ducks would not go away quietly. The Ducks showed with seven minutes to play in the third period why they had won eight in a row. The Ducks Corey Perry intercepted a bad pass Niklas Hjarmalsson and fed Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf scored on an impressive shot to close the gap. The Ducks then trailed 3-1. Less than a minute later, Crawford gave up a BAD goal to Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri put the Ducks within one goal with under six minutes to play. After the Palmieri goal, the Ducks had the momentum in their favor. The tension rose to a fever pitch in the United Center. The Blackhawks were able to the weather the Ducks storm. The Ducks continued their late barrage of Crawford. The Ducks came extremely close to tying the game on several occasions. Marian Hossa sealed the game with an empty netter very late in the third. The Blackhawks went onto win 4-2 over the Ducks.
NEWS AND NOTES:
- Jonas Hiller lost his first start in his last 15 games. He had won 14 in a row.
- The Ducks have won 18 of their last 20. The streak started when they defeated the Blackhawks on December 5th.
- Ryan Getzlaf has 24 goals this season. His career high is 25 goals in a season. Getzlaf will crush that record.
- Patrick Kane goal less streak continues, it is at eight games.
- The Blackhawks are 0-10 in their last 10 Power Plays.
- Kris Versteeg is day to day with an upper body injury.
- Bryan Bickell scored his first goal since December 23rd.
The Blackhawks will take on the Boston Bruins in a Stanley Cup rematch this Sunday. The start time of the game has been changed 11:30am. The game can be seen on NBC.
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