The Chicago Blackhawks spun their usual narrative on its head Friday by narrowly hanging on to a big lead in a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Usually this year’s Hawks have fallen behind, only to climb back into games, but they were on the other side in Anaheim clinging to a third-period lead.
The Blackhawks got out to a 3-0 lead with goals from Patrick Kane, Ryan Hartman, and Artem Anisimov, but that didn’t last long. Just 10 seconds after Hartman scored his fifth goal of the season to extend the lead to three goals, Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie rifled one past Corey Crawford to start the possible comeback.
The Ducks kept pushing from there, and appeared to cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal from Ondrej Kase. The referee behind the net immediately waved off the score, however, because Kase swatted the puck in with his glove. A video review stuck to the call on the ice, and the score remained 3-1.
Jakob Silfverberg got the Ducks’ actual second goal with a nice wraparound play midway through the third period. That set the stage for the frantic finish as Anaheim pulled goaltender John Gibson for the 6-on-5 advantage, but Crawford stood tall.
The Hawks deserve some credit for refusing to go into a shell once they had the two-goal lead. It can be easy to hedge toward an overly defensive style, yet Chicago and Anaheim were even with 10 shots apiece during 5-on-5 play in the third period. The Ducks had the overall advantage, 15-10, thanks to an early power play, but the Blackhawks kept some back and forth going even as they clasped to a two-goal (then one-goal) lead.
Crawford finished the game with 34 saves on 36 attempts in another stellar effort. He got some good fortune, though, as a few Ducks shots rang off the pipes. We’ll take it after some ups and downs for Crawford in recent games.
The Blackhawks are now 14-6-2 on the season, which puts them five points ahead of the Blues, Sharks, and Oilers for first place in the Western Conference. They’re back on the ice Saturday for a late night matchup against the Los Angeles Kings starting at 9:30 p.m. CT.