The only thing that stands between the Chicago Blackhawks and a perfect record is not being able to perform in the shootout. To be honest, the Blackhawks had no business letting the game get into a shootout, but more on that later. The Hawks returned home from their very successful road trip and got to wear their red sweaters for the first time in 16 days. Only getting one point is disappointing but 23 points in 13 games is pretty damn amazing!
The first 20 minutes of play was pretty even. Both teams had a couple of descent scoring chances but both starting goalies, Corey Crawford and Viktor Fasth, made the key saves when needed. Crawford's biggest save of the period, and probably the game, came at the 13:49 mark of the opening period. With Michal Rozsival in the penalty box, Brent Seabrook tried to clear the puck around the boards, from behind his own net, but the puck hit referee Don VanMassenhoven and went straight to Corey Perry. Crawford was able to make a fabulous glove save to rob the former Hart Trophy winner.
The Ducks were able to open up the scoring with a power play goal at 3:33 of the 2nd period. Ryan Getzlaf tried to fire a pass across the crease to Perry but Seabrook had his stick on the ice to block the pass. The only problem was he deflected the pass directly into the back of his own net. Nick Bonino and Ben Lovejoy assisted of Getzlaf's 4th goal of the season.
At the midway point of the period Bryan Bickell put a hard,clean hit on Getzlaf and meathead Brad Staubitz took exception to it. He went after Bickell and Bryan had no choice but to drop the gloves for a pointless fight. If Bickell's hit was dirty or even questionable I have no problem with the fight, but it was a hockey play. That is the type of play you should just file away for later and when you have the chance to pay back Bickell with another hard, clean hit you take it. Starting a fight because a good hit is asinine. Staubitz got an extra 2 minutes for instigation and it didn't take long of the Hawks to take advantage of it. Nick Leddy was able to fire a slap shot past Fasth for his 2nd goal of the season. Patrick Kane kept his point streak alive with an assist and Patrick Sharp also picked up his 10th assist of year on the play as well.
It seems that you can almost bet that when the Hawks score their first goal another is coming very soon. Brandon Saad scored what was ruled a goal just 28 seconds later, but I think the Hawks caught a major break. Saad was able to fire a wrist shot off while airborne and parallel to the ice that trickled past Fasth. It had appeared that defenseman Luca Sbisa (sounds like a Sopranos character) had stopped the puck with his knee before the net was jarred loose. The play was reviewed in Toronto and much to the surprise of many, it was ruled a good goal. Apparently the rule states that the flexible pegs are part of the net and as long as they are still partially in the ice, the net is not considered off its moorings. In my eyes, the Hawks got lucky. I didn't think there was enough video evidence to overrule the call of "no goal" on the ice.
The 3rd period mirrored the 1st in many ways, with both teams getting chances but both goalies standing tall. Crawford continued to look very confident especially on another good glove save on Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks were able to tie up the game with just 2:40 to go in the game. Francois Beauchemin made a very aggressive move and pinched in on Patrick Kane which caused him to cough up the puck. Beacuhemin got the puck over to Ben Lovejoy you fired off a shot the was tipped in by Andrew Cogliano for his 2nd goal of the season.
It was shortly after this that Toni Lydman tried to put a bright shiny bow on this game for the Hawks. He was called for interference at 19:50 of the 3rd. The Hawks were able to capitalize on 1:50 of 4 on 3 to start overtime. Lydman came out of the box and quickly went right back in for high sticking but again the Hawks could not do much with the man advantage. The game with into the hated shootout and we all know what happens. Toews scores and the rest of the team does not. Crow looked over matched given up goals to both shots he saw from Nick Bonino and Corey Perry. At least Q replaced Patrick Sharp with Brandon Saad as the 3rd shooter.
* I was very impressed with the Ducks, they are not a fluke and will be a player in the Western Conference. They have great veteran presence, some good young talent and despite what the they think in DC, good coaching. I am not sure if relying on a 30 year rookie goalie from Sweden to get you to promised land is the way to go but we shall see.
*Reading through the game threads I was very pleased to see a lot of regulars helping a new member and hockey fan, getafix, get familiar with the Hawks and the great game of hockey. Nice job guys! Plus seeing all the old gifs return was a lot of fun!
The Blackhawks return to action Friday night when the San Jose Sharks come to the United Center. The Sharks are in a tailspin and have lost 6 straight games since starting the season 7-0-0. Hopefully the Hawks can finish them off in 60 minutes and avoid another crappy shootout!