First Period Recap: Young goalie Antti Raanta got the start for the Blackhawks. Jonas Hiller started in net and Frederik Andersen backed him up. Hiller had to be good early as the Hawks got a bid on net that, upon further review, was a hand pass off Hiller's body. Regardless, Hiller still made the save. It seemed that the Dustin Penner - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry line would go against the Jonathan Toews line as Boudreau started his matching game early.
The Getzlaf matchup worked well and the Ducks opened the scoring just two minutes into the game. Perry took a hit (that may have been to the head) to keep a puck alive. The puck squirted out to Getzlaf who riffled a shot off Perry's stick and into the net. However, this lead lasted all of one shift when the Ducks couldn't pick up Patrick Kane and he made a play to Ben Smith. Smith took a shot from the slot that went straight through Hiller. While Hiller could have (and should have) made the save, Vatanen failed to keep the oncoming player from driving in on the goal.
With the game tied, the Hawks began to drive the play. Aside from a nice hit by Emerson Etem, the Ducks were not able to control the Hawks' speed and swift passing. A bouncing puck added to the confusion in front of Hiller. That confusion turned into a penalty (tripping) against Matt Beleskey. The Hawks have the ninth ranked power play in the league and, luckily, it didn't show. The Ducks forced the power play wide and held the blue line, forcing the Hawks to dump the puck in the zone. After a bunch of failed attempts on Hiller, Perry got three close chances in on Raanta who tried to play the puck with Perry on the doorstep. Raanta was lucky enough to make the saves and keep the score tied.
Toward the end of the period I began to notice Vatanen's tendency to let people walk in on him. He would put pressure on the oncoming players early but wasn't able to keep them from walking in behind him. The Hawks looked to take advantage of the Ducks' young defensemen and Joakim Nordstrom nailed Hampus Lindholm against the boards. Although Lindholm hadn't touched the puck, there was no penalty call on the play.
On the very same shift, Lindholm got a hand around Kris Versteeg who was skating behind the net and was whistled for holding. The Hawks' second power play faced a strong penalty kill from the Ducks. Hiller wasn't forced to make many saves and the Ducks easily killed the penalty. The period came to an end with the Blackhawks leading in shots 11-8.
Second Period Recap: Reunited in this game were Etem, Nick Bonino and Teemu Selanne and it was beautiful. Hard work from Bonino and Etem allowed Selanne to strip the puck and rush off on a breakaway. The hockey gods have something against Teemu lately because the guy can't catch a break. He did everything right on the breakaway – opened up Raanta, slid the puck through the five-hole, but it hit the post and trickled wide. Let's just hope that when this ketchup bottle opens it rains goals.
More dominant shifts came from the Ducks. Perry was called offside because Steckel was changing inside the blue line, otherwise he would have been in on a two-on-one break. The strong play from the Ducks continued as Hampus took the puck down to the net off the boards creating a good chance and scramble in front. It was clear that the team was giving it their all on every shift. There was not a single player sitting around or watching the puck. Everybody was in motion.
A penalty call on Oduya for covering the puck gave the Ducks their first power play of the game. Unlike the Hawks' power play, their penalty kill is terrible, ranking 29th in the NHL. The Ducks possessed the puck the entire time. Selanne, beyond snake bitten, just whiffed on a wide open net from the dot (AKA his office). The combination of Etem, Palmieri, Selanne, Lindholm and Koivu started the power play off well, but just missed on their chances. With the penalty clock winding down, Getzlaf rocketed a shot from the point that slipped right through Raanta with one second left on the penalty clock. Perry's screen in front prevented Raanta from getting a stick on the shot.
Now 2-1 Ducks, the Hawks began to wake up. Back-to-back shifts in the Ducks' zone came close to evening the score. Former Duck, Sheldon Brookbank almost scored on a blocked shot rebound, but Hiller made the save. Cam Fowler made a great play to alleviate pressure from the Ducks and carried the puck out of the zone. Steckel's reunion with Palmieri seemed to energize the fourth line. The two nearly scored a bang-bang goal from behind the net. The review showed that the puck was held outside by Raanta, but the Ducks kept pushing.
A bad penalty was taken by Bryan Allen, who hit Toews with a crosscheck along the boards. The Hawks third power play of the game looked like it would fail yet again. but with just over 20 seconds remaining, Kris Versteeg scored off a blocked-shot rebound that neither Hiller or Fowler could find, tying the game a two. The final minutes of the period saw both teams pick up speed and race up and down the ice. The Ducks tied the Hawks in shots 17-17.
Third Period Recap: Selanne can't buy a goal. That was the theme for Teemu all night long. While Etem and Selanne made a great combo, the puck just wasn't going in for the 43-year-old. Fortunately for the Ducks, all of the lines seemed to have chemistry. A full team effort resulted in many chances in the third.
Hiller's best save of the game came against Patrick Sharp who received a pass from Marian Hossa that Hiller snatched out of the air. Raanta, unlike Selanne, is one lucky goalie. Twice in the period he was without his stick in net. Beleskey nearly untied the game with a shot from the slot on a broken play, but it was shot right into a stick-less Raanta.
This period was amazing to watch. The Ducks were having their best period of the night. But, with just under a minute left in the game, Penner was issued a ten minute misconduct for violently shooting the puck after a questionable offside call that would have sent Penner and Perry in two-on-one. Luckily, Penner was not assessed a two minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, or the OT period to come could have been bad.
Overtime Recap: Hiller made the save of the night on the Blackhawks' first chance of the overtime period. A lunging toe-save from Hiller prevented Kane from winning the game. It was just after this when the Ducks should have won the game. With offensive zone pressure, Koivu was standing in front of the net while Mark Fistric possessed the puck below the goal line. Brent Seabrook crosschecked Koivu from behind pushing him straight into Raanta. With this opportunity, Fistric dunked the puck into the net from behind the goal. The goal was waved off by the
protector of the original six referee (What a surprise right?).
Rage and madness ensued. Lindholm was pulled down with no call. Perry was mauled in the corner allowing an odd-man rush for the Blackhawks. The game went into the shootout, marking the third straight game that would need a shootout to decide the winner.
Toews - 1-0 Blackhawks
Bonino - 1-1 tie
Sharp - 1-1 tie
Palmieri - 2-1 Ducks
Kane - 2-1 DUCKS WIN
The Good: This was a full team effort. Every line left it all out on the ice. Teemu had a jump in his game even though he wasn't able to score. The penalty kill was perfect aside from the late tying goal that came off an unlucky blocked-shot rebound. Hiller made timely saves and one amazing one in overtime. The power play scored too, so there wasn't much the Ducks did wrong in this game.
The Bad: Discipline could have been better in this game. Allen's penalty that resulted in the game tying goal could have easily been avoided. Penner's late game misconduct could have cost the Ducks too, but he was justified in his anger so I'll let that slide tonight. Just never do that again!!!
The Ugly: ALL OF OVERTIME!!! Between the refs failing to make calls and the Ducks actually winning the game, the OT period was beyond infuriating. The Ducks lost out on a point in their ROW column for it as well. If this comes back to hurt the team, we know who to blame.
3rd MVD(s): Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. The two defensemen had great games. Fowler has become the leader on defense and Lindholm is making the Ducks look like geniuses for taking him sixth overall. Both of these players can skate the puck out of the defensive zone and aren't afraid to jump in on the attack. Lindholm created some great chances down low when he chose to pressure the puck and drive the play.
2nd MVD: Jonas Hiller. Opening goal aside, Hiller saved the game late in the third and in the overtime frame. His last few games have been his best all season. Hiller won the game with the save on Kane in the shootout and for that he deserves the second MVD.
1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf. Getzlaf basically scored both goals for the Ducks. The first goal was a shot directed to Perry's stick for an easy tip in. On the power play Getzlaf made use of Perry's screen and blasted one past Raanta. He also played on the penalty kill which was great. Also, Getzlaf won the matchup against Teows, which was key in determining the outcome of the game. Overall, a completely dominant game from the captain.
Next Game: Saturday, December 7 - 5:00 p.m. PST @ St. Louis Blues