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Underneath It All: Ducks 3, Blackhawks 2 in OT

Huge Brett Leason fan over here.

Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks dropped their first game back from the All-Star Break, falling to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday.

Thank god.

The Ducks are one of the few teams in actual contention with the Blackhawks for the highest odds at Connor Bedard, and Chicago previously beat Anaheim in their first game this season. Anaheim owed the Blackhawks a loss.

The Blackhawks started the scoring as Patrick Kane retrieved a puck from behind the net and got it to Jason Dickinson — who’s playing first line center for the moment — in the crease. Dickinson then shot the puck past Anthony Stolarz, who was in for the second game of the Ducks’ back-to-back.

The Ducks answered that with a goal off of a rebound allowed by Petr Mrazek, as Brett Leason jumped on the puck and put it into the net.

The Blackhawks answered back with a goal from Seth Jones on a mini-breakaway, after Jones received a pass from Dickinson:

But Seth Jones giveth and he taketh away. The puck, that is, as Jones coughed up a giveaway in his own zone and the Ducks converted to tie the game once more, as Leason picked up the primary assist on Jayson Megna’s first goal of the season.

Look: in a game that the Blackhawks need to lose to stay underneath the Ducks in the standings, sometimes the heroes are the least expected ones. I did not know the name Brett Leason heading into the night but now I’m thankful he’s a Duck.

After a scoreless third period, the game headed to overtime, where Isac Lundestrom found Frank Vatrano during 3-on-3 play for the Ducks’ victory.


  • The first period is what every Blackhawks period should aim to be. The Blackhawks played well, controlling both quantity — 13 shot attempts to nine, although there were five Blackhawks shots on goal to six for the Ducks — and quantity, with 0.4 expected goals to 0.33. The Blackhawks also did not capitalize on those opportunities, which is also ideal for this season. That should actually be the slogan this year: “Play Well, Don’t Score.”
  • At least one of the Blackhawks’ players knows his job. Petr Mrazek faced just 26 shots on goal in this game and an estimated 1.81 expected goals. In return, he gave up three, including the overtime winner, and two of the goals for the Ducks came from low-danger areas. That’s what we want to see out of our goaltenders.
  • Tyler Johnson played for the first time since Jan. 22 on Tuesday, appearing for his 23rd game out of the Blackhawks 49 played this season. Johnson played 19:43 across all strengths and tallied a secondary assist in his first game back, while generating four shots and two high-danger chances. After the game, Johnson discussed his line not capitalizing on more of the opportunities they generated:

Yeah, it’s frustrating. Being a hockey player, you want to score goals, but at the same time, I’ve always been taught that if you’re getting those chances you’ve just got to keep on working and keep going, so that’s the only thing that I can think of, the next game they’re going to go in.

  • Jason Dickinson has to go or he’s going to ruin the tank. He’s back to producing offense with two points in this game — a goal and a primary assist — and also drew a penalty and created a takeaway. Dickinson is going to be worth something to a contending team in need of depth (Carolina, Edmonton, Vegas) and that something is worth more for the Blackhawks long-term than Dickinson is.
  • The Blackhawks’ broadcast talked a lot about Philipp Kurashev early in this game (we love to see it). Kurashev played 17:25 in this contest, generating three shots, two takeaways and 0.21 expected goals. While Kurashev was mostly noted for his passing early on, he also didn’t play terribly with the puck on his own stick. The line of Kurashev, Max Domi and Taylor Raddysh was also one of the Blackhawks’ better trios for the night, although they didn’t quite dominate the game the way the Kane-Dickinson-Johnson group did (who had a 94.66 percent expected goal share).
  • While one of Jones’s two giveaways led directly to the game-tying goal, he also had five takeaways in this game. That deserves a quick aside.
  • Although he was on ice for a goal against, Ian MItchell didn’t have a terrible game on Tuesday, with a 66.67 percent shot share at 5-on-5 and 17:46 of ice time across all strengths. Nice to see some growth and development out of one of the very few kids getting consistent minutes this season.

Coach Luke Richardson spoke highly of Mitchell after the game, too:

It was a good, solid game from him tonight. We were in the O-zone a lot with our Ds active and that’s what he’s good at ... in the third he kept one alive just by diving at the puck and getting it to Dickinson for a good chance point-blank. He had a good shot off of the post on the power play and that’s his game: offense and moving the puck and not getting himself in trouble where he has to defend against big guys in the D zone too much. He’s progressed well. I think he just feels more comfortable and it’s good to see young players make steps.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Brett Leason (ANA) — 1 G, 1 A
  2. Jason Dickinson (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
  3. Jayson Megna (ANA) — 1 G, 1 A

What’s next

The Blackhawks stay home for a game against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.