The Blackhawks came into this game on a two game losing skid and face the Anaheim Ducks who were losers of three straight. Both teams have been near the bottom of the Western Conference for much of the season while doing it in completely different ways.
The Ducks play good team defense and don’t score a lot while the Blackhawks score a lot but don’t play very good team defense. It’s an interesting match-up especially since this will be Corey Crawford’s first start since December.
It was a slow start for both teams as there was only one shot on goal through the first five minutes of the game. They registered two more shortly after. None of which were great opportunities.
It took the Ducks just short of eight minutes to register a shot. Corey Crawford made a nice save on a Carter Rowney wrist shot from point-blank and followed it up with a pad save on Nick Ritchie. From there the game continued at consistent pace. There weren’t many shots or stoppages as the game moved with a nice flow.
The Blackhawks headed to their first power play at 5:23 as Hampus Lindholm was called for holding Patrick Kane. He registered the only two shots of the power play and the Blackhawks were unable to convert.
The period ended 0-0 with the Blackhawks having the edge in shots on goal 13-8. This was the first time the Blackhawks had a scoreless first period, by either team, since November 16, 2018. A streak of 43 games.
Just :35 seconds into the first period Drake Caggiula was thrown into the boards face first by Rikard Rackell. It was a scary moment as Caggiula did not get up right away and both trainers came out to escort him off the ice. Rakell received a five-minute boarding major for the hit.
It only took :14 for the Blackhawks to capitalize on the power play. Alex DeBrincat (35) was able to walk it up from the left side while measuring up Ryan Miller and then fired a wrister over Miller’s glove side to make it 1-0 Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks still had close to 5 minutes left of the power play because of the major. They had a few shots but it would actually be the Ducks who scored next.
At 15:38 Devin Shore scored a short-handed goal for the Ducks. Erik Gustafsson laid and blocked Shore’s first attempt with his stick but the puck squeaked through and Shore was able to sneak it past Crawford who was moving the other way anticipating the first attempt. That evened the game at 1.
It was a disappointing five-minute power play for the Blackhawks as they ended up even with the Ducks following it.
The game continued to be back and forth for much of the period again but then the Ducks headed to their first power play of the night. At 4:12 Connor Murphy was called for the first Blackhawks penalty of the game while hoooking Corey Perry.
Crawford made a nice save off of a Max Jones snap shot that went to Duncan Keith who then passed it to Artem Anisimov. He carried the puck all the way up the left side of the ice and was able to snipe a shot short side over Miller’s shoulder. Anisimov’s (11) short-handed goal made the game 2-1 Blackhawks.
The Ducks were able to get a couple more shots off during the power play but did not convert. Shortly after the power play expired Carter Rowney was able to tip one under Crawford’s right pad following a pass from Ryan Kesler.
After a fast-paced second period the score was tied 2-2 with both teams registering 23 shots on goal.
The final period started with action like the first two going back and forth. It was consistent until Crawford made a big mistake while attempting to play a puck behind the net and couldn’t get back. He was wasn’t able to move it fast enough as Derek Grant took control and made a nice pass to Troy Terry who buried the shot on a wide open right side of the net. 3-2 Ducks 5:35 into the period.
It took awhile for anymore action but it was DeBrincat once again for the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews carried the puck all the way up the ice, circled the net and made a brilliant pass through the goal mouth to DeBrincat (36) for the goal. The game was tied at 3 with only 4:54 to play.
The late game heroics wouldn’t come until there was only :16 left on the clock as Toews made a nice outlet pass from the corner to Brandon Saad who then fed it to Kane. Kane (40) made the game winning goal look easy as he sniped it over Miller’s blocker side.
It was an evenly played game for two evenly matched teams. In the end the Blackhawks firepower was too much for the Ducks. The overall look of the game was of the typical style for the Blackhawks of late with spotty team defense and a majority of the scoring from the top six.
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