Final Score: Ducks 1, Blackhawks 4
Before I begin, a few disclaimers. First, I'll take Magumbo responsibility. I'm pretty sure the only thing I mentioned in the preview that came true was that Francois Beauchemin was out, not only that, he'll miss four to six weeks with a broken finger. In fact, he wasn't even replaced by Clayton Stoner who was put on injured reserve with... wait for it...wait for it... The Mumps, and the Ducks called up Jessie Blacker from Norfolk.
More importantly, I want to get this over with as soon as possible. Well, if that was actually the case I'd write "Chicago was better than Anaheim in every way imaginable. They won 4-1. It could have AND SHOULD HAVE been worse." and leave it at that, but I kind of have to be more detailed. So for a slightly more detailed, significantly more vulgar account of the game, continue reading. Otherwise, please go try to enjoy the rest of your long weekend.
Chicago hit the ground running, completely dominating from the drop of the puck. It took Anaheim about seven minutes to register a shot on goal, or even a decent shift in he offensive zone. Even that was ruined by the fact they gave up a 2-on-1 break to finish it, on which Brad Richards looked off Kris Versteeg and opened the scoring with a wrist shot. 1-0 Hawks.
As you can see in the chart above, the domination continued until the Blackhawks scored their second goal. It was inevitable, more or less, because the Ducks just couldn't clear the zone to save their lives on that shift. Sure, some of them were impressively kept in by Chicago, like when Duncan Keith jumped what seemed like 14 feet in the air to glove down a clearance at the blue line, but others were plain awful from the Ducks. Eventually Keith got free in the slot as the Ducks' D was just exhausted and out of position and Andrew Shaw deflected his shot through Andersen's legs. 2-0 Hawks. To illustrate how terribly Chicago was out playing the Ducks at this point, the shots on goal were 11-1 for the Blackhawks.
There was one ray of hope in the first when Hampus Lindholm scored to bring the Ducks within one, still significantly against the run of play. It was actually a really, really cool goal. Ryan Kesler entered the zone with the puck and got WRECKED by Niklas Hjalmarsson but, as the cliche goes, took the hit to make the play to Patrick Maroon. Patty's, seemingly inconsequential shot deflected to the high glass and bounced right back in front where Lindholm bunted it into the net. There is no other word that can describe that goal but bunt, like in baseball... a Bunt. Suddenly there was hope, but that soon evaporated when Chicago got right back to what they were doing and closed the period out leading 2-1.
At some point during the period the Ducks had a trade to announce, as Gary Bettman would say. It was Eric Brewer coming in, to add defensive depth, from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a third round pick. Brewer is in the last year of his contract with a $3.875M cap hit and $3.75M in actual salary. Here are some more details on the trade from Puck Daddy's Josh Cooper.
The Ducks were somewhat more respectable with the puck to start the second, but that all ended when Matt Beleskey was called for interfering with Ben Smith. The maligned Chicago power play didn't convert, but gave the Hawks all the momentum they needed to score only a few minutes later. Somehow Patrick Kane, of all people, was left wide open in the slot and Versteeg was able to get an amazing, no-look, backhand, between-the-legs, behind the back pass to him from below the goal line for an easy one timer. When a pass requires NINE adjectives/qualifiers to describe it, you know it's pretty. 3-1 Hawks.
There are really only two other things you need to know about this period. First, FREDDY ANDERSEN MADE ONE OF THE BEST SAVES EVER. I have no words... Just watch it. Over, and over, and over again.
The other is that with nine seconds left in the period, Kyle Palmieri was given a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct for... ummm... well... a hit on Johnny Oduya. If you want to know what I really think about it, scroll on down to "The Ugly." Warning: NSFW.
Only three minutes of the major (the three minutes that never should have been given) counted as a power play for Chicago as Versteeg was serving a coincidental too many men on the ice penalty. The Ducks actually did a very good job of killing it and Corey Perry even got two shorthanded chances, and the last few seconds were negated by another too many men call against Chicago.
Anyway, the third period rolled along, Perry bowled over Corey Crawford for a goalie interference penalty, Kane scored an empty netter and a lot of Blackhawk fans in post-2010 jerseys went home happy. The End.
The Good: FREDDY ANDERSEN. If it wasn't for him, who knows how many goals Chicago would have scored. That save in the second period was as great as anything you'll see in a Dominik Hasek highlight reel. Save. Of. The. Year. The goal was also pretty cool, but I'm sure everyone reading this would give up one sort of cool goal for five Pug Fugly goals any day of the week.
The Bad: Do I really have to continue? The Ducks were bad. Get it?
The Ugly: Let's take a look at the official NHL definition of Boarding:
41.1 Boarding - A boarding penalty shall be imposed on any player or goalkeeper who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently in the boards. The severity of the penalty, based upon the impact with the boards, shall be at the discretion of the Referee.
There is an enormous amount of judgment involved in the application of this rule by the Referees. The onus is on the player applying the check to ensure his opponent is not in a defenseless position and if so, he must avoid or minimize the contact. However, in determining wheter such contact could have been avoided, the circumstances of the check, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the check or whether the check was unavoidable can be considered. This balance must be considered by the Referees when applying this rule.
Any unnecessary contact with a player playing the puck on an obvious "icing" or "off-side" play which results in that player hitting or impacting the boards is "boarding" and must be penalized as such. In other instances where there is no contact with the boards, it should be treated as "charging."
OK, so by the letter of the law, not technically a terrible call, only a bad one. BUUUUUUUUUT..... by the common application of the rule GO FUCK YOURSELF REF. How Oduya could possibly have been considered defenseless as he was carrying the puck up the ice and turning to protect himself (poorly) from a hit he SAW COMING is totally beyond me.
The only reason I can possibly see in this call is that Oduya's head happened to hit the top of the boards when he took a clean check from the front by Palmieri. This is Chara/Pacioretty coincidental times 100. Honestly, Michael Rozival grabbing Palms by the top head from the bench was just as bad as the hit itself, despite being 1,000,000% less injurious. If there is even a sniff of a suspension for Palmieri I am going to lose my FUCKING SHIT... oh wait, where is my shit again, oh yeah I've already lost it, so nevermind.
If you want a more reasonable view of the play, ask neutral, friend-of-a-friend Josh Cooper over at Puck Daddy (Spoiler: Link contains the phrase "didn't exactly look totally illegal/suspension-worthy").
3rd Icehole: The Refs - Not usually allowed to call them out in the Iceholes, but that boarding major and game misconduct against Kyle Palmieri was atrocious. I'm sure the rest of the penalties were justified by the fact that Chicago was SO MUCH BETTER and putting the Ducks in a position to take them. But FUCK THAT CALL.
2nd Icehole: Every Duck on the ice except Freddy - Holy shit they were terrible, just not able to generate anything of value from simple zone clearances to actual scoring chances. That may be a slight hyperbole, but only slight because...
1st Icehole: All of the Blackhawks were MUCH better than their Anaheim counterparts today, even on the simplest plays. Duncan Keith made some outstanding jumping plays to hold the zone, the offense created numerous odd man rushes, every time the puck was in the Chicago end, the Ducks were clearly outnumbered in all high percentage scoring areas and it wasn't there for long. I could go on, but I have already extended this as long as anyone here wants me to.
Next Game: Saturday, November 29, 2014 at 7:30pm PT in San Jose, wonderful... The team that beat the Ducks so badly that the teams combined for 165 penalty minutes.