It was opposite ends of the spectrum for the two teams coming into this game. The Blackhawks were on a four game losing streak while the Anaheim Ducks were riding a four game winning streak. The Blackhawks were second to last in the Central Division and the Ducks were second from the top in the Pacific Division.
This didn’t leave much to look forward to except the fact that the Ducks were wearing their throwback-inspired Mighty Ducks sweaters
The game started with Ryan Kesler and Jonathan Toews exchanging some words before the opening faceoff which isn’t surprising. Less than two minutes later John Hayden, in what may have been an attempt to fire up the boys, dropped the gloves with Jake Dotchin. It was uneventful with no real punches being landed as they wrestled to the ice in just a few seconds.
If that was Hayden’s plan, it backfired. At 5:41 Brandon Montour fired a wrist shot past a well-screened Corey Crawford to make it 1-0 Ducks. Just :20 later Daniel Sprong made it 2-0 Ducks with a goal from an improbable angle along the goal line.
At 13:09 Patrick Kane took a high-stick from Jacob Larsson for the first power play of the night. Alex Debrincat and Dylan Strome each had a good chance but neither could help the Blackhawks capitalize.
With 3 minutes to go in the period there was a flurry in front of the Ducks net with some great Blackhawks chances, Brandon Manning came in and steam-rolled Pontus Aberg much to the dislike of Josh Manson. Manson dropped his gloves but Manning turtled and wanted no part of him. Manson received a roughing penalty for defending his teammate.
It was more of the same for the Blackhawks’ league worst power play unit as they did not even register a shot on goal for the 2 minutes.
The second period started out with pretty good flow. A few chances each side and few stoppages in play until 4:19 when Duncan Keith was called for interference. Ondrej Kase put a hard shot on Crawford but there was no screen in front of him and he made an easy save. Shortly after Toews had a short-handed opportunity but did not convert. The Blackhawks were able to kill off the rest of the penalty without much action.
Erik Gustafsson tallied his fifth goal of the season on a one-timer from Keith at 7:16. That goal cut the Ducks lead in half to make it 2-1. Gustafsson had a another good slap shot that hit the outside of the post with a little more than 2 minutes to go in the period. He continues to play well offensively but still turned the puck over a few times earlier in the game.
Alex Debrincat tied it up at 19:33 in the period from a desperation Toews pass. Debrincat showed great concentration to shoot this puck after in bounced off of him while being unbalanced. The goal tied the game at 2 going into the third period.
This was a well-played period by the Blackhawks with some good scoring opportunities, solid defense as well as good goaltending by Crawford.
Strome and Debrincat had a nice give and go play early in the period but Debrincat hit the outside of the post with his backhand. The Blackhawks did not feed off of that nice play and a minute later the Ducks went ahead 3-2. Kase beat Crawford high on his glove side at 4:03 after taking a pass of the boards and beating Manning wide.
Debrincat lost an edge and went back first into the boards hard. He went to the bench slowly but did not miss his next shift.
Forsling drew a penalty at 5:00 in the third after being tripped by Sprong in a one-on-one situation. The Blackhawks registered yet another uneventful power play as they moved to 0 for 3 on the night.
The Blackhawks continued to fight in this game and came on with quality opportunities after the halfway point in the period. Toews hit yet another post for the Blackhawks which was one of Gibson’s best tools in this game.
Crawford was pulled at about 18:20 but the timing couldn’t have been worse. Just as he was on his way to the bench there was a rare Kane turnover as he tried to fake a shoot in to the zone and put it right on Jakob Silfverberg’s stick. He skated it in for the easy empty net goal to extend the Ducks lead to 4-2. That’s where the game would end.
After a lackluster first period the Blackhawks recouped very well and played a couple of their best periods since Jeremy Colliton took over behind the bench. The team defense looked solid but it should be mentioned that the Ducks are one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL. It didn’t help that they didn’t have much puck luck tonight considering they hit three posts.
They face the Vegas Golden Knights tomorrow night and hopefully they have better luck this time after get rolled 8-3 last week.