Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks Recap


Looking to build off an impressive come from behind win in Los Angeles against the Kings, the Blackhawks headed south to take on the Anaheim Ducks in the second of a back to back. Anton Forsberg would get his second straight start in Anaheim, and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews would be reunited on the first line for the first time in years.

Like many teams the Blackhawks will face for the remainder of the season, the Ducks are fighting for a playoff spot. They entered Sunday afternoon one point out of the third position in the Pacific division. As we all know, this is a very good Ducks team, entering the game with a seven game home win streak, and featuring the best center depth in the entire NHL.

These were the Blackhawks starting lines:
Brandon Saad-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane
Tomas Jurco-Artem Anisimov –Anthony Duclair
Alex DeBrincat-Nick Schmaltz-Vinnie Hinostroza
Patrick Sharp-David Kampf-Matthew Highmore

Duncan Keith – Connor Murphy
Erik Gustafsson – Brent Seabrook
Carl Dahlstrom – Jordan Oesterle

Anton Forsberg

The game started off negatively for the Blackhawks, and never turned around from there. At 1:54 in the first period, Anthony Duclair was sent to the box for a weak slashing call, which quickly turned into a power play goal and an early lead for the Ducks.

Less than a minute into the Anaheim power play Rickard Rakell dropped a pass to Ryan Getzlaf beneath the goal line. Getzlaf then sent the puck back to Rakell who would finish the give and go play with his 27th goal of the season. Anton Forsberg really had no chance to make the save, as the Blackhawks defense continues to let players skate freely near and even through the crease.

The Jonathan Toews line did respond with some high-quality chances, including a mad scramble in front of the Ducks net. After a shot by Jordan Oesterle, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, and Toews all touched the puck near the Anaheim net. Somehow it wasn’t able to find its way into the net, as Ducks goalie John Gibson held strong just above the goal line.

The positive momentum did not last long for the Blackhawks as the infamous Corey Perry took his turn lighting the lamp. Just over six minutes into the period a bad bounce off the stick of Carl Dahlstrom is sent right back to Getzlaf who sets up Perry along the right-wing boards. Perry takes the puck and does a spin move in the Blackhawks crease, yes, I said IN THE BLACKHAWKS CREASE. As Perry is unbothered, he completes his spin move and easily puts a wrist shot past Forsberg from point blank range.

I will not give Perry any credit for this goal because, although he is a great hockey player, I am sure there are many beer leaguers who could have scored this goal. Perry is allowed to dance around in front of the Hawks net like he is in an all-star game, while Oesterle sits next to Forsberg admiring his skill. For those of you who like Oesterle, I can see the upside of his offensive game, but defensively, he is brutal, and this goal is evidence he is not the top pairing defenseman fans want him to be.

But don’t worry guys, the Blackhawks were given not one, but two power play chances before the end of the first period, and of course were not able to score. At the end of the first, the score was 2-0 and shots were in favor of the Anaheim 11-10.

The second period started off with an unfamiliar sight, a Toews fight. After being badgered by Kesler for much of the first period, Toews decided to drop the gloves and stick up for himself. I’d say Kesler got the edge in the fight, but Toews held his own, and it was a refreshing sign of physicality from the Blackhawks. Sadly, the Blackhawks didn’t take any momentum from the scrap, instead the exact opposite.

About two minutes after the fight, Marcus Pettersson scored his first NHL goal for the Ducks. A rebound from a Kevin Bieksa slap shot found its way to the opposite side of the blue line where Pettersson fired a slap shot through tons of traffic and into the back of the net.

The onslaught continued shortly thereafter for the Ducks. From behind the Blackhawks net, Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano centered the puck toward the slot. Saad was there to grab the puck, but was tied up by Nick Ritchie, allowing for Jakob Silverberg to corral the puck and snipe it top shelf amidst a circle of Hawks players. The goal was yet another example of Ducks players skating freely through high danger areas, allowing for easy goals.

Silverberg’s goal would also mark the end of Forsberg’s afternoon, as J-F Berube would be given the net for the rest of the game. Giving Forsberg even an ounce of blame for the 4-0 deficit would be a disgrace, as at least three of the four goals he had almost no chance in stopping.

Berube came in and helped the Hawks through their first successful penalty kill of the night, which would also lead to some much-needed momentum. This momentum would lead to the first goal of the night for the Hawks, and the second of the season for none other than Tomas Jurco.

With six attackers on the ice during a delayed penalty, Connor Murphy fired a one-timer from Duncan Keith. The shot from Murphy would be redirected past Gibson in front of the Ducks net by Jurco, moving the score to 4-1.

The score would stay at 4-1 for the remainder of the period, with the Hawks winning the shot battle 28-23, and having a whopping total of 56 shots on net.

The third period would start with feelings of Saturdays comeback win against the Kings. A minute into the third, a solid defensive play by Vinnie Hinostroza would lead to Nick Schmaltz 19th goal of the season, cutting the Ducks lead in half. The goal was an impressive display of speed from Schmaltz, who took the puck from center ice to score his five-hole goal, blowing by Ducks defenseman Josh Manson.

But, the hopes of a comeback wouldn’t last long as yet another Ducks player would be allowed to operate in front of the Hawks netminder, leading to the fifth goal of the afternoon. As Kesler beat Brent Seabrook to a puck along the left-wing boards, he fired a backhand shot on net that was redirected by Cogliano who was driving to the net. Berube would make the initial save, but Silverberg would also be given access to the front of the Hawks net, and would pound home his second goal of the night.

Speaking of second goal of the night, Perry would also add another goal to the Ducks lead. An impressive display of passing and movement throughout the Ducks offensive zone featured a Cam Fowler give and go with Getzlaf that set up Perry’s easy chip in goal, the Ducks sixth and final goal of the game.

Before it was all said and done, Schmaltz would also score his second goal of the game, reaching the 20-goal mark for the first time in his young career. A strong fore-check by Alex DeBrincat, Hinostroza, and Schmaltz deep in the Ducks zone led to a turnover by Hampus Lindholm. This was followed by two quick passes from Hinostroza, and then DeBrincat, leaving Gibson’s net open for Schmaltz to score. The score was 6-3 which is where the game would end.

Ugh, finally that’s over.


  • With Nick Schmaltz reaching that 20-goal mark for the first time in his career, I think it is important to note that amongst all the negativity this team has faced this season, Schmaltz has definitely taken the next step. At age 21, Schmaltz has solidified himself as a top six player who the Hawks can build with. Is he a center or a left wing? Time will tell, but this season has been significant progress nonetheless.
  • I know not everyone is a fan of fighting, but I love Jonathan Toews dropping the gloves with Ryan Kesler. You have to tip your cap to a guy like Toews who is sticking up for himself against an agitating player like Kesler. Especially because of the fact that this team continues to show they lack the physicality needed to be successful. But, the bigger storyline from this fight may be the reaction of the post-game crew, who were not happy with the reaction from the bench as Toews came out of the box. I’m not sure I buy into one little shot of the bench, but I think it may point to some bigger issues with this team.
  • Against arguably the best center depth in the entire NHL, the Hawks were 56% in the dot yesterday. I have to say, that is a really impressive number, especially considering who they were going up against. Toews, Artem Anisimov, and David Kampf were all above 50%, which is a great sign for the Hawks. Especially Kampf, who I think has really solidified himself as the “Kruger” on the fourth line for the foreseeable future.



  • As I stressed throughout the recap, the lack of physicality from the Hawks defense on the majority of the Ducks goals was just sickening. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see Blackhawks defenseman watching as Anaheim players skate freely through and around the hawks crease, something even the Anaheim broadcast pointed out on Corey Perry’s first goal. If it wasn’t obvious for you yet this season, yesterday’s game was proof this defense needs a big time makeover.
  • Matthew Highmore is a -5 with zero points in his first three games for the Blackhawks. Now, I understand the Hawks have given up 16 goals in those three games, but you would like to see the AHL all-star find his way on the score sheet, or even be noticeable, but instead, he has been very unimpressive.
  • Alex DeBrincat has had some assists over the last few weeks, but has not scored since February 17 against the Washington Capitals. DeBrincat has been very streaky all season, and will need to be more consistent with his goal scoring next season. I think his goal scoring numbers are also evidence that he needs to be playing a top-six role to be productive. It isn’t an ideal situation for the coaching staff, but a weakness in DeBrincat’s game that must be recognized.

3 comments on “Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks Recap

  1. Chico Maki

    I’m not sure I want my $10 million Capitan with a history of head injuries–fighting.

    Rumor out today says Gustafson signing for two years at over $2 million??? REALLY??

    If true, either he needs to be packaged in a trade…..or…..its another reason why Bowman should lose his job.

  2. Alan Parsons

    Toews fighting is ridiculously stupid. It does NOTHING for this team. It did nothing other than make the meatballs drool. They gave up 2 goals while their best center was in the box. How is that helping the team? He needs to be on the ice. And he has a history of head injuries. Thats enough reason right there.

    Gus’ contract is rumored to be 2-2.5 for 2 years, so 1.25 per year or so. Thats not a terrible contract. They will need him until MItchell, Joki, Forsling or someone else is ready. Thats not a terrible contract. Its moveable and gives them some insurance. And they can bury it in Rockford. Doesnt bother me.

  3. Under Qs moustache

    Toews has to fight? Is that the best use of a 10.4 cap hit? Does Kane fight next? When the Hawks were winning they had a few big guys that did the dirty work. Remember Buff, Bickell, Brower, and Ben Egar? Now its smurf time.
    The best centers in the league wouldn’t lose close to 60% of the face offs to any team including the BlackHawks.
    Not sure what the deal is with the Hawks defense. The loose play infront of the net has been going on for awhile, and is yet another reason why Franson was part of this team. So” let the children play” has left the goalies out to dry. The back checking and forward play in the defense zone has been suspect all year. Back when the Hawks were good, the defensive play created the offense. That has all but disappeared with the smurf/ rookie crew, and been abandoned by the vets getting the big checks.
    Highmore has been all over the net and high traffic areas, very visible, so don’t focus too much on his plus minus. Its just a stat. Ovi won how many scoring titles with a negative plus minus? Yet most every team would be better with him on it. Not to say Highmore is the next Ovi, I’ll let Stan sell you on that in the off season.

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