So, that happened. As I suspected in the Gameday, I should have stayed home and played The Old Republic. Not only did the Ducks find a way to blow a 4-2 lead in the third period, but we weren't even able to stay through the whole game as my son got pretty sick (we took him to Urgent Care as a precaution, but the doctors tell us he's just got a little virus). [Ed. Note: I'm assuming the Ducks have the same virus. They are not only losing games, but infecting small children. The horror!]
As for the game, the Ducks actually got off to a hot start, scoring twice in the first three minutes of the game. While Chicago fought back in the first, the Ducks added a late tally on a power play goal by Teemu Selanne and even extended the lead in the second period on a goal from Bobby Ryan.
Then the third period started.
Inexplicably. the Ducks came out with no fire or spark, and Chicago capitalized. Anaheim's lead evaporated in the first 92 seconds of the period and the Blackhawks claimed their first lead of the game on a goal by Patrick Sharp (which completed his hat trick) just two minutes later. Midway through the period, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews added the dagger on a power play and though the Ducks pulled within one late in the period, the game was effectively over at that point.
I'll say this for the Ducks. They find new and exciting ways to lose.The Good
- Apparently Bobby Ryan should get hip contusions more often, because he played one of his better games of the season. Bobby recorded the Ducks' first goal of the game when he followed his own rebound from the corner and his second goal gave the Ducks what I thought was going to be a sure-fire lead (whoops). He finished with a team-high 7 shots and 4 hits, and was just generally an offensive force today.
- Luca Sbisa was an absolute monster today. He made a number of stand-out defensive plays, from denying Toews a wide-open net on a PP to sliding on the ice to deny a 2-on-1 breakaway. He used his body well to eliminate opposing players and he made a glorious pass to set-up Bobby's second goal. There wasn't a whole lot defensively to be excited about today, but Luca showed why many Ducks fans believe he's a cornerstone piece of the franchise moving forward.
- If Teemu regrets signing with the Ducks this season, his play certainly hasn't reflected it. Selanne sniped an absolutely beautiful shot for his PP goal and added an assist on Andrew Cogliano's goal. Teemu finished a team-high +2 and hustled the entire game.
- While the shoddy officiating didn't help, the Ducks found themselves short-handed for nearly a third of the game. The seemingly perpetual power play helped Chicago hang around through the first two periods and proved to be the difference-maker when Toews scored the game-winner in the third period.
- Despite holding a lead for much of the game, Matt Beleskey and Andrew Gordon couldn't buy their way onto the ice, finishing with less than five minutes apiece. If Randy Carlyle can't find time to play his depth forwards when the team has a lead, I don't know what it's going to take for the fourth line to get their minutes.
- Despite being pulled early into the third, Jonas Hiller faced 33 shots in 43 minutes. Hiller let in five goals, though few, if any of them, could be blamed on him. The team just gave Chicago too many opportunities and the talented Blackhawks found a way to exploit them.
- The third period was a disaster, especially the first three minutes. After playing so well for the first 40 minutes of the game, it took only 3:33 for the Ducks to waste that superior effort. There's really no explanation or excuse for that embarrassing showing—the Hawks were just a hungrier team that wanted it more. Also, is it possible to swap captains straight up? Toews was a beast today, scoring two goals and compiling three assists.