Ducks' Late Goal Tops Chicago in 2-1 Victory

Jonathan Daniel

Finally! Anaheim plays a respectable game and takes a 3-0 series sweep of the Blackhawks AKA "The Franchise that Brought Hockey Back" (SI) AKA "The Untouchables" (The Hockey News) in the process!


Final Score: Ducks 2, Blackhawks 1

First Period Recap: A few line changes to start the game saw Teemu Selanne skating alongside Andrew Cogliano and Peter Holland. That change brought Kyle Palmieri to a line with Daniel Winnik and Saku Koivu. The team as a whole started this game just as we'd become accustomed to seeing them play before this ugly four game stretch of major suck-i-tude. Fast paced, solid passing, forechecking, winning battles, etc.

Chicago had no problem getting their game going as Jonas Hiller was tested early on with a few good chances from the Hawks and Patrick Kane in particular, who was up to his old tricks. [Ed. Note: Drinking and punching cabbies? Oh, no the hockey stuff.... -CK] However, despite a late Ducks power play opportunity in the final minutes of the first period, the teams went back to the locker room tied at zip.

Second Period Recap: It was as if the 20 minutes of recovery served a good reminder for Anaheim that they are actually a decent team, they came in the second playing like one. Chicago turned over the puck in the neutral zone to Francois Beauchemin who passed the puck up to Bobby Ryan and a quick chip to Corey Perry who took a peak and sent one flying passed Ray Emery, off the post and in, to put the Ducks up 1-0.

With Anaheim finally finding a way to score first in a game, Perry thought he'd make things harder for the team by heading to the penalty box. However, with the great PK work from Cogliano, Winnik and Emerson Etem, the Ducks are finding themselves to be a threat even when short handed.

These three would have another glorious set of chances when Luca Sbisa headed to the penalty box late in the second.

Even after killing penalties, the Ducks were still making the best of given opportunities. After Bobby Ryan took one to the midsection off a Perry shot, he was still able to get a few shots on goal and even one that glanced off the crossbar.

Third Period Recap: It wasn't until the third period that the Blackhawks finally broke through. Sheldon Souray got caught clearing the puck over the glass and headed off to the penalty box. Of course, as it usually goes, Winnik had a huge opportunity when Emery sprawled out to get his pinky toe on the puck to keep the forward from scoring. With the puck headed right back into the Ducks zone, Hiller was caught peeking around the screen as a bomb off the stick of Kane found it's way to the back of the net tying the game at one.

Of course, this is when Chicago would heat up. The crowd was going and the pace quickened. Remember the team we saw play for the past week or so? They would have been massacred at this point, but the Ducks never backed down. With some increased pressure deep in the Chicago zone, the big boys of Ryan Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan were rewarded when a Souray shot was deflected off a Blackhawks stick and the Ducks took the lead with just around 2:00 minutes left to play.

Chicago sent Emery to the bench for the sixth attacker, but the Ducks defense stepped up and the team was finally able to exhale a sigh of relief.

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The Good: Finally the Ducks come out and play a respectable game. 60 minutes of hockey and some real effort. They actually opened up the scoring in this game and even after Chicago found a way to tie it, they pressed harder and were rewarded with a victory in regulation.

The Bad: Sheldon Souray. He was responsible for scoring the game winner and it was most definitely his saving grace. Souray has been victim of too many blunders lately, so it was nice to see him turn that around in the end - but even in this game he was responsible for penalty that lead to the Chicago goal. A few less turnovers at the blueline would be helpful.

The Ugly: This damn flu. I'm just glad it's the worst thing to come out of this evening cause compared to the last few games there isn't much to complain about on the Ducks end for a change.

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3rd MVD: Luca Sbisa. Tonight was one of his better games. He was hitting well and poking pucks free. He had a few great opportunities that led to some solid scoring chances and was lucky enough to get his stick on a puck that was headed for a wide open net after a save by HIller.

2nd MVD: Penalty killers Andrew Cogliano, Emerson Etem and Daniel Winnik. I'm beginning to wonder if Etem is practicing his penalty killing in his sleep! Many solid chances on the killing units saw all three of these guys with some big chances. It's opportunities like these that will change a team's momentum going forward.

1st MVD: Jonas Hiller. Whether it be luck or great skill, Hiller played a quality game. He came up huge on some fantastic chances by the Hawks and was definitely bailed out by his defensive core from time to time, but all in all, he stepped up when the team needed him to and that is definitely what this team needed to get back on track.

Next Game: Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013 3:00 pm PT @ Columbus
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