In a Black Friday matinee showdown, the Blackhawks took to Anaheim for a matchup with the Ducks in the penultimate game of the Circus Trip, turning in a dominating performance in a 4-1 win. The game was really not as close as the score suggests, as Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen made several incredible saves to rob the 'Hawks of 3 or 4 additional goals.
The line of Patrick Kane, Kris Versteeg, and Brad Richards played excellently today, with 6 points being produced by the trio. Richards opened the scoring in the first on a 2-on-1 rush with Versteeg, and Kane netted 2 goals, one of them on a slick, between-the-legs feed from Steeger. The 'Hawks other goal was scored by Andrew Shaw.
Once the 'Hawks had gotten out to a 3-1 lead, the Ducks started making some questionable (at best) physical plays. Kyle Palmieri charged and boarded Johnny Oduya in the neutral zone, and received a 5-minute major and game misconduct penalty for it. Corey Perry had a run in with Corey Crawford in the third period, and later cross-checked Marian Hossa in the ribs after Hossa had stolen the puck from him. It got a little choppy, but the 'Hawks were able to keep it together and play responsibly throughout.
Crawford was solid all throughout the game, making 23 saves on 24 shots. The one Ducks goal came on a wild play in the first period, as Hampus Lindholm batted one out of the air and into the net after an initial shot hit the glass and floated back over the net. There was really nothing Crow could do on the play.
Joel Quenneville seems done with the constant line-juggling, as most lines stayed together for the majority of the game. It's encouraging to see that Quenneville is sticking with this lineup and it's working out. Several different lines have stepped up all throughout the Circus Trip, keeping opponents on their heels. This is exactly what the 'Hawks need to be doing in order to be the league's best team.
The win moves the 'Hawks to 4-1-0 on their Circus Trip, with one game remaining. That game is tomorrow night against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. It'll be another late one for us 'Hawks fans in the Midwest, with puck drop scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.