Final Score: Blackhawks 4, Ducks 1
Three minutes into the first and it was clear that Chicago didn't play last night and we did. Corey Perry made a Power Play happen, practically out of nothing. He initiated contact with Duncan Keith and then went down when he felt the stick against the ankle. The second unit started and registered a couple of chances. The top unit...well, they set it up in the zone when there was about 30 seconds left.
Chicago picked up the first tally. An innocuous dump-in was retrieved by the Hawks. Patrick Kane threaded the needle to Jonathan Toews, who the Ducks forgot to cover. Toews was all alone at the bottom of the right circle and whipped it passed Frederik Andersen. 1-0 Hawks.
Chicago was all over the Ducks for the first 10 minutes. Freddy didn't have any show-stoppers, but he did make good saves. Devante Smith-Pelley had the best scoring chance but couldn't elevate a rebound. Around the 10 minute mark, Tim Jackman came down on his off wing and tried to spin-o-rama his way to the crease. It was a valiant effort, but he lost the puck before he ever got around to his forehand again.
Ryan Getzlaf buried Brent Seabrook, signaling Hulkzlaf's arrival to the game. The Ducks tried to hit their way back into the game, but Chicago just kept moving the puck forward.
In the last five minutes, Kyle Palmieri came around from behind the net and was all along in Chicago's house, getting ready to put some mustard on his sandwich and Crawford just smacked the Mustard out of his house, and dragged him out the house by the collar. It's a scoring area metaphor...
The first period ended without incident. The Blackhawks nearly doubled us in shots, and there were like two stoppages in the first 15 minutes. It was exciting hockey if you aren't a Ducks fan.
The first important play in the second period was a horrible penalty by Patrick Maroon. Pat was directly behind Seabrook, and had no way of reaching passed him to get the puck. Maroon still put his stick into Brent's ankles and tripped him. Luckily, we killed off the penalty.
The boards almost got the Ducks back into the game. As strange bounce went to the front of the net while Corey Crawford was behind it. He made a diving poke to get it out of trouble, but he collided with a charging Kesler. Kesler slammed on the breaks but still fell over on top of Crawford. Corey got a make-up call, after he was nudged by Jackman. Jackman shouldn't have been that close. Ducks killed that penalty too.
Chicago took a two-goal lead when Toews backed into Andersen and prevented him from stopping a point shot from Duncan Keith, minutes after the semi-soft call on Jackman that was clearly influenced by the incidental yet scary collision between Kesler and Crawford. Keith, walked from the blue line to between the circles. Stoner clearly didn't push Toews into his own netminder, but the goal was allowed to stand. 2-0 Hawks.
Halfway point of the game! Ducks only have 8 shots on goal...rough.
Fowler almost got the Ducks on the jumbotron, but it went off Johnny Oduya.
Andersen floated a long pass and sprung Maroon for decent chance from the left wing dot. Maroon didn't make a compelling attempt, but he did get in Crawford's face afterward. That was fun.
... And the Blackhawks went up 3-0. I'd like to describe it to you, but Patrick Kane is good...and fast. It was like lightning. He tucked one right under the bar. Watch it in the highlights.
Another opportunity for Chicago on the PP. Fowler for hooking. That's fair. At this point, the refs seemed to be challenging themselves to not call penalties against the Blackhawks.
Cogliano's face has had a rough time in Anaheim. He took an elbow from Keith, no call.
The Blackhawks really dropped back to start the third. The Ducks kept getting turned away at the blue line.
Vatanen drew a penalty in an attempt to make the third period interesting. After zero chances on the first 1:30 of the penalty, Palms drew a penalty to get a 2-man advantage. No goal on the 2-man advantage, but Rakell battled the puck across the line. It was a great play. He fed Perry on the right side, and Perry got it back to him. Ricky went skate to stick, settled the puck and roofed it on Crawford. 3-1 Hawks.
Chances started coming fast and furious as the Ducks activated the D to try and get back into the game. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks were the ones that capitalized. The Ducks got caught trying to fly the zone early. Devo got outnumbered on the boards and lost the puck to Sharp. Lovejoy was alone down low, so he left to pressure Sharp. That left Kane all alone in front of the net to tap in Sharp's fourth assist of the night. 4-1 Hawks.
With only a few minutes left, Bruce activated the line mixer and just started rolling lines. It was hard to watch.
The Good: We weren't shut out!! That's really all I've got. Did you see that game?
The Bad: The Ducks have four goals in their last two games, but two of them came after San Jose had settled into a 6-1 defensive shell late in the third period. Sure, the goal that helped Chicago pull away was controversial. Still, the Ducks didn't really threaten, and that is shown by the...
The Ugly: Look at that corsi chart. That is dominance on a level that's hard to articulate. Normally, you expect some score effect to take place with a two goal lead. The team that is down should make a push to make it a closer game. That didn't happen. Chicago separated itself and the Ducks were never really in the game. It was a big performance by a team that can win the Cup. I hope we learned something.
3rd Icehole: Stan Bowman. What are you doing putting together a team this good? I hate you.
2nd Icehole: Patrick Kane. He scored the third and fourth goals for Chicago. His first stretched the game to 3-0 and the second made it 4-1. He was responsible for keeping the game out of reach.
1st Icehole: Patrick Sharp. Sharp assisted on all four Chicago goals, notching primary assists on the final three. That's generating offense. But, that's not the only reason he's number one tonight. He's exactly the player Anaheim need-a flexible top 6 forward who is great on the Power Play and can play anywhere on the top two lines. I wish we had Patrick Sharp.
Next Game: Tuesday, February 3rd, 7:00 P.M. vs. Carolina Hurricanes