After a huge comeback against Nashville, an even more daunting task awaited Anaheim. With Ritchie not traveling to Chicago and Vermette still doing time, the work was cut out. Chicago came into tonight’s game red hot, winning seven straight. To add to it, Patrick Kane entered the night with nine goals in just five games, the Hawks were rolling like a well tuned machine.
And the red machine continued rolling. Despite the Hawks four day break, they sure didn’t seem rusty. Only a few minutes in, Bieksa embraced himself by walking out in front of the goal and losing the puck. Jordin Tootoo would breeze the puck over the net and Ryan Hartman nearly wrapped it around, but Bernier made the pad save.
Basically the period was Blackhawks domination. Jared Boll would also be himself by earning his way to the box, where somehow Chicago didn’t score. The whole time Bernier looked at ease, making each save seem simple.
Late in the period as the Ducks became more and more frustrated, Getzy would try to fire up the troops by dropping the mitts with Richard Panik. The captain would be an idiot, drawing a minor for instigating as well as a misconduct. This would keep Getzlaf off of the ice for nearly an entire period.
On the power play, Bernier made two great saves on Anisimov point blank. Somehow, someway, the biscuit never crossed the goal line for the Hawks. The SOG were 19-2 in favor of the home team. Nineteen, to two.
Chicago still came relentlessly in the second, and Bernier matched them shot for shot. Early on, the Ducks tendy stopped Tootoo with the right pad as the shooter came in on a quick break making a nifty move to the backhand, but to no avail.
An Anaheim power play had Kesler redirect a puck into Corey Crawford, but other than that, harmless. With no Ryan Getzlaf to quarterback the power play, the Ducks looked rather weak. Cogs really had the most dangerous look, taking a shot right off the face off, but the two time champion in net said no.
With about five minutes to go in the period, Patty Kane pulled out one of his many tricks with those silky mitts. He spun around Sami Vatanen and threw a strong backhander to the goal, only to be denied again.
The Ducks had been getting more SOG in the middle frame, but nothing was really dangerous. Yet. Marian Hossa would cut to the middle of the ice, shooting the puck to the net, and chaos would follow. The puck hit the post, sliding to the side of the net, and Bieksa would come out with it. Shaw would feed Corey Perry in the neutral zone, and vintage Pears showed up. Skating across the slot, he would sling it past the blocker of Crawford, demoralizing everyone in red. Ducks 1 Blackhawks 0.
Both teams would put 12 SOG in the second, and the Ducks left the period with a shocking lead.
Chicago wouldn’t be all over the Ducks to start off this one, thankfully. It would be Anaheim nearly scoring to begin. Perry found Kevin Bieksa in front, and his shot would skip off the crossbar. Not too long later, Getzlaf would dish Rickard Rakell with a cross creaser, only to have the puck hit Ricky’s skate despite the open goal.
Bernier would continue to stop the rubber, as Anaheim continued to improve their play. With a little under eight to go, Manson would shoot the puck from the boards and Andrew Cogliano would find the rebound. Crawford came up big, keeping his team within a goal.
Chicago would pull Crawford with over two minutes left, desperately searching for the equalizer. From the right face off circle, Kane would snap a puck on goal. The rebound would bounce around the crease, as Vatanen would do a fantastic job by tying up Panick while the puck went through the paint. The biscuit would find a very dangerous Artemi Panarin, as he was able to lift the shot only to be robbed by Jonathan Bernier. It would be with the reach of the blocker which Bernier stopped the shot with, continuing his stellar play.
Kane would find Toews for a one timer, but a fluttering shot gave Bernier ample time to get across. The clock would wind down, and one last face off won by Getzlaf sealed the Hawks fate. The SOG ended 43-26 for Chicago, but the win, belonged to the boys from Orange County.
Bernier would earn his 100th career win, and his 14th career shutout. This was the first time the Ducks had won two consecutive games since January 17th and 19th with wins over Tampa and Colorado.
The Midwest swing will conclude tomorrow night, in St. Louis.