Credit: NHL Blackhawks
Hawks Dominate the Ducks With a 4-1 Win!
Blackhawks fans continue to give thanks today after a big win over the current leaders of the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks. Despite facing a goaltender who practically stood on his head to make some very impressive saves, the Hawks dominated throughout most of the game and snapped Anaheim’s three-game win streak.
Here’s the breakdown of the action:
Right out of the gates, the Hawks came on strong and barely let up all period. They kept the Ducks to just one shot on goal until the final few minutes.
Brad Richards kicked off the scoring, connecting at center ice with Brent Seabrook’s long pass from the Hawks zone, and sniped it past Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen. The Hawks increased their lead to 2-0 with a slick pass by Daniel Carcillo to Duncan Keith, whose shot was tipped in by Andrew Shaw.
Shortly thereafter, Niklas Hjalmarsson landed a crushing hit on erstwhile Canuck Ryan Kesler, which had Hawks fans cheering but unfortunately not for long. Patrick Maroon took the puck that Kesler coughed up and threw a shot on net, which Corey Crawford initially stopped. However, a weird bounce found the puck in mid-air over Crawford’s left shoulder, which Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm swatted in to bring the game within one.
The Hawks had a single power play in the first period, but couldn’t convert. After 20 minutes, the Hawks held the 2-1 lead and had 11 shots on goal to just 6 for the Ducks.
The Hawks have been notorious this season for losing steam in the middle frame. It happened again tonight, although to a lesser degree. The Ducks came on strong at the start of the period, quickly catching up in shots and making it very hard for the Hawks to clear the puck. They also gave the Hawks more power play chances than they apparently knew what to do with.
The best part of the period had to be the third Hawks goal, courtesy of Patrick Kane. Seabrook managed to keep in a Ducks clearing attempt and passed to Richards, who made a one-hand pass around the back of the net to Kris Versteeg. Versteeg then made a no-look pass through his legs back to Kane, who fired one past Andersen.
For the most part, Andersen had some ridiculous saves, including the one where he absolutely robbed Marian Hossa.
Us too, Hoss. Us too.
Late in the period, Johnny Oduya was boarded by Kyle Palmieri, but the Hawks were also called for a Too Many Men penalty. Coach Quenneville said it was a line change rather than a retaliation, but Shaw was clearly holding Carcillo back from a fight.
Shots on goal in the period were 13-7 in favor of the Hawks (24-13 through 40 minutes).
The final frame started with 4-on-4 hockey for just under two minutes, followed by another power play by the Hawks. Crawford had some spectacular saves on his part, keeping the Ducks to their lone first-period goal.
Corey Perry landed a blatant cross-check on Hossa’s ribs that somehow wasn’t called. Big Hoss was very slow to get up, but fortunately managed to skate off to the locker room on his own. In the post-game interview, Coach Q said both he and Oduya were going to be okay. (*Whew*)
The Ducks opted for a sixth attacker with two minutes to go, so off went Andersen to the bench. To little too late, as it ultimately ended up hurting more than helping them. A Versteeg-Shaw-Kane cross-ice pass lead to an empty net goal for #88, putting the Hawks up 4-1 with just under a minute to go in the game.
To say that it was a vast improvement over the earlier Hawks-Ducks matchup is a pretty big understatement. If they can keep playing the way they have in the past couple of games, they’ll be in good shape to keep moving up the Central Division rankings (where they currently sit in third).
- 2 points each to Kane (2G), Richards (1G, 1A), Shaw (1G, 1A), and Versteeg (2A) tonight. Keith, Seabrook, and Carcillo also picked up a point each for their assists.
- Power play continues to be a sore spot. The Hawks were 0 for 4 tonight.
- On the plus side, they are now 4-1-0 on the Circus Trip, with one more road game left tomorrow night against the L.A. Kings. WCF rematch, anyone?