Blackhawks End The Ducks Hot Streak With A Big Win

Jonathan Daniel

The Hawks dominate most of the game and grab a 4-2 win over the Ducks in a battle of the top teams in the West.

You won't have to read into the advanced stats at the bottom of the page to know the Blackhawks dick whipped the Ducks for 53 minutes on Friday night. The defensive responsibility returned as well as the scoring depth. The Ducks made it interesting with a couple of late goals after sleepwalking through much of the game. In the end, the Hawks got a much needed regulation win and reminded everyone they are still the team to beat.

The night got off to the start you would expect with two elite teams on the ice. Both teams had some chances right off the bat but the Hawks were able to set the tone early by getting the first six shots of the game. Jonas Hiller gave up a couple of juicy rebounds early but nobody in red was near the front of the net to cash in. The Hawks opened up the scoring with a shorthanded goal at the 10:34 mark. Niklas Hjalmarsson trusted that Jonathan Toews would be in the correct spot when made a fast bilnd backhand pass from his own goal line. Toews was in the right spot and started a breakout with Marian Hossa. Once Toews passed to Hossa he went straight to the net to slow up Cam Fowler for a split second. Hossa made a brief hesitation to freeze Hiller and then he ripped a wrist shot past his paddle for his 18th tally. Kris Versteeg got off the schied and doubled the Hawks lead about six and a half minutes later. We had a "Goddammit Versteeg" moment turn into gold. Steeger tried a centering pass through the entire Ducks team that had no chance of getting through. To his credit. he followed his pass and the puck found his stick in front of the net where he poked it past Hiller for his ninth goal of the year.

Neither team was able to score in the 2nd period but the Blackhawks had plenty of chances to increase their lead. They spent 5:29 with an extra skater including a 31 second two man advantage but another lackluster performance from the power play kept the team's lead at two goals. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg collided behind the Hawks' net leaving Versteeg shaken up. VerJesus would not come out for the 3rd period.

Bickell would make up for hurting his linemate by getting the Hawks a third goal 10:13 into the final period. Brent Seabrook flicked the puck out of his zone and Bicks beat Ben Lovejoy for it in the Anaheim zone. Jonas Hiller looked like he made the save on Bickell's quick little wrist shot but he could not glove it cleanly after it hit his shoulder before knocking it into his own net. Game over, right? Nope. Niklas Hjalmarsson would try another blind backhand pass at his own blue line but this time it lead to a 3 on 2 rush going the other way. Ryan Getzlaf had the time and space to wait for a sliding Johnny Oduya to go by before putting the puck past Corey Crawford Bruce Boudreau bumped Kyle Pamlieri to the top line and it paid off 53 seconds after Getzlaf's goal. Pamlimeri put what looked to be a harmless wrist shot from the above the faceoff circles on net but Crawford let it go right between his legs to make all of us very uncomfortable. Thankfully Marian Hossa used his streghth and speed to seal the win with an empty net goal in the final seconds of the game.

* I am usually not a fan of Q putting the 4th line out against the opponent's top line but Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith owned Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf for most of the game. The 4th line's advanced numbers took a bit of a hit when the Ducks started to play a more wide open game that led to their late game surge. There were quite a few shifts in the first two periods where the Ducks' top line was pinned down in their own zone against the Hawks' bottom three forwards. I did not care to see them out there in the final minute after the Ducks pulled their goalie. Bollig had a bad turnover at his blue line but thankfully Perry was offside to cancel out a rush. Overall, the 4th line had one of their better games of the season.

* It's no secret that I am huge fan of our little idiot Kris Versteeg. He should drive me absolutely nuts but I can't help myself. Versteeg had been snake-bitten the last few games but turned a rather dumb pass into a goal by going hard to the net. And of course, as soon as he finds himself back on the score sheet he gets injured. Q said it was an upper body injury and he is considered day to day. The good news is he didn't reinjure his knee that caused him to miss most of the 2013 season. The bad news is we will most likely see Sheldon Brookbank play forward on Sunday if VerBeauty can't go. If someone like Jeremy Morin is called up, then the injury is more serious than first thought.

* Corey Crawford was good tonight despite not getting much action for 90% of the game. The Ducks' second goal was inexcusable. That one cannot go it, period. Crow did make some big saves along the way. He stopped Corey Perry one on one late in the 1st period. He made big stops on Jakob Sifverberg and Perry midway through the 3rd period when it was still a 2-0 game. The second Perry save was particularly good as Perry came in from the right circle but Crow came out of his crease to cut down the angle on one of the best goal scorers in the game. I hate that Pat Foley kept reminding us that Crow hasn't won since November 29th without throwing in the footnote that he missed 10 games due to injury during that span. I have no doubt Crawford gets the start on Sunday against the Bruins. We will see Antti Raanta next week in either Detroit or Minnesota.

* The power play stinks all of sudden. When best team on the planet since Thanksgiving gives you multiple chances to bury them you have to make it happen. The Hawks were 0 for 5 on the power play for the second straight game. Might be time to switch things up as my buddy James Neveau wrote over at Madhouse Enforcer.

* The Ducks seemed a little off for most of the night. They took some bad penalties, including Ryan Getzlaf putting his team down two men for chirping at the refs, and had some issues with their zone entries early on. I am not sure if they got worn out for scoring all those goals agaisnt the Canucks but they didn't have their "A game" for much of the night. But, much like the Blackhawks, they seem to have that magical switch that can be turned on at any time. I would love to see a Western Conference Finals between these two teams.

* The Ducks certainly didn't lack in the shot blocking department on Friday. They blocked 23 shots collectively including seven from Ben Lovejoy. I'm thinking Ray Shero is wishing he still had Lovejoy in Pittsburgh with all the injuries they have had on their blue line.

* Andrew Shaw showed why he isn't the long term solution at the 2nd line center slot. He drew a penalty early but cancelled it out by ending that power play by taking a dumb interference penalty as the teams went to the benches for a change. He only had one shot on goal and had the lowest CF% on the team at 45.8. He wasn't good at the dot either. He only won 4 of his 11 draws which caused Bradon Saad to take six faceoffs in which he only won one.

* How fun was it to watch Nick Leddy skate against the Ducks?? Leddy had himself a good night, especially at keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

Player of the Game

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Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel

Marian Hossa was playing on a different level than everyone else on the ice. He did an amazing job freezing Jonas Hiller with just the smallest of hesitations. He muscled his way through Cam Fowler to score the game clinching, empty net goal. He was a beast to get off the puck all night long and was his usual amazing self on the defensive end. He led the team with eight shots on goal and contributed on the other end of the ice with four takeaways and two blocked shots. I want to be Marian Hossa when I grow up.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

17:10

78.6

20.9

72.7

6.1

30.0

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

15:36

58.6

-8.6

75.0

8.3

78.6

Seabrook, Brent

D

15:34

80.0

23.9

72.7

6.1

22.2

Leddy, Nick

D

15:12

53.6

-15.9

61.5

-12.1

77.8

Sharp, Patrick

R

11:57

75.0

16.8

69.2

0.8

80.0

Kruger, Marcus

C

12:26

55.6

-11.1

100

33.3

62.5

Toews, Jonathan

C

13:32

71.9

11.9

69.2

0.8

80.0

Saad, Brandon

L

14:15

54.5

-13.1

60.0

-12.7

55.6

Versteeg, Kris

R

04:29

72.7

9.6

71.4

3.4

33.3

Handzus, Michal

C

08:29

92.3

32.8

83.3

17.9

40.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

15:19

61.3

-4.3

75.0

8.3

76.9

Smith, Ben

R

12:04

52.6

-15.0

100

34.5

62.5

Bickell, Bryan

L

08:41

75.0

13.0

71.4

3.4

40.0

Rozsival, Michal

D

17:28

53.6

-15.9

61.5

-12.1

77.8

Bollig, Brandon

L

12:16

50.0

-18.1

100

33.3

62.5

Shaw, Andrew

C

14:18

45.8

-25.6

54.5

-21.6

50.0

Hossa, Marian

R

13:45

74.2

15.3

69.2

0.8

81.8

Kane, Patrick

R

17:11

56.0

-11.7

55.6

-18.4

55.6

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Fowler, Cam

D

20:37

28.6

-11.8

25.0

-10.0

33.3

Lovejoy, Ben

D

17:21

21.9

-21.8

23.1

-13.8

35.7

Cogliano, Andrew

C

09:30

29.4

-7.7

11.1

-28.0

25.0

Selanne, Teemu

R

11:54

21.4

-16.9

33.3

2.6

40.0

Perry, Corey

R

16:08

51.7

24.1

20.0

-13.3

41.2

Koivu, Saku

C

08:45

25.0

-13.0

11.1

-28.0

25.0

Bonino, Nick

C

11:30

30.8

-6.9

50.0

30.0

16.7

Getzlaf, Ryan

C

16:22

51.6

24.8

20.0

-13.3

43.8

Penner, Dustin

R

12:37

33.3

-2.9

28.6

-3.4

30.0

Palmieri, Kyle

C

14:08

56.2

32.6

54.5

35.5

45.5

Perreault, Mathieu

C

12:37

21.4

-16.9

33.3

2.6

50.0

Beauchemin, Francois

D

18:21

30.0

-8.6

25.0

-10.0

33.3

Silfverberg, Jakob

R

10:48

15.4

-28.9

11.1

-28.0

33.3

Winnik, Daniel

C

10:13

21.4

-16.9

25.0

-7.1

50.0

Beleskey, Matt

L

09:59

34.8

-1.2

46.2

25.1

25.0

Vatanen, Sami

D

12:05

57.7

31.5

44.4

18.4

45.5

Lindholm, Hampus

D

16:12

26.9

-12.4

30.0

-1.8

40.0

Allen, Bryan

D

11:04

53.8

26.0

50.0

25.0

40.0

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