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Blackhawks vs. Ducks Game 1: Chicago falls in series opener, 4-1

Kyle Palmieri scored the game-winner as the Ducks took Game 1 in Anaheim.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks are down in the Western Conference Final after losing Game 1 to the Anaheim Ducks, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon. The layoff didn't appear to leave the Hawks looking out of form, but a solid performance was undone by some key mistakes.

On March 7, the Blackhawks completed their dismantling of the Minnesota Wild after overcoming a late game comeback. Ten days later, the team was finally back as it squared off against the Ducks at the Honda Center, and didn't show any early rust.

The Blackhawks looked fantastic coming out of the gate with the exception of a Hampus Lindholm goal eight minutes into the period. They played with a fantastic pace and outshot the Ducks, 16-7. Throughout the period, the top three lines all had moments where it looked like they would be able to score, but they could not get the puck past the red hot Frederik Andersen.

In the second period, the Ducks quickly took a two-goal lead on a Kyle Palmieri goal after a sustained shift in the Blackhawks zone. The Blackhawks continued to play at a ferocious pace, but the Ducks' defense tightened up for much of the period.

With 40 seconds left before the second intermission, the Blackhawks were finally able to capitalize on a Ducks turnover in the defensive zone when Brad Richards put the puck past Andersen. Richards took the puck away from Francois Beauchemin at the blue line, and placed a shot between Andersen’s blocker and chest to make it a 2-1 game.

A possible rally gave way to another Ducks goal 13 minutes into the third period, however, when Andrew Cogliano scored a clinching goal off of a mistake by Duncan Keith. Jakob Silfverberg scored a clunky empty netter with 1:18 left to put the game away.

In the end, Andersen was too much for the Hawks to handle. The Ducks goaltender blocked 33 shots and looked like he was in complete control of his rebounds.

One of the biggest stories coming into the game was David Rundblad. The young defenseman struggled defensively throughout much of the game and it showed as the first two goals that the Ducks scored came after Rundblad mistakes. Though he struggled throughout, it is important to remember that this is his first career playoff start and that he hasn’t played in 37 days. It will be interesting to see what will happen next with the blue line.

Game 2 will be Tuesday night in Anaheim.