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Ducks vs Blackhawks/IceHogs RECAP: Stay On Target

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Anaheim gives up 37 shots to an AHL team, but Gibson shuts the door.

Debora Robinson, Getty Images

There is nothing better than watching Kevin Bieksa on a nationally broadcasted game.

First Period:

The first half of the period featured plenty of special teams play. Five seconds into the game, the lovable face-puncher Josh Manson took a delay of game penalty. After surviving a grade-A Artemi Panarin scoring chance, the Ducks were able to finish off the rest of the penalty kill.

The Ducks’ second power play unit has looked much more aggressive as of late and was rewarded early on. During the home team’s second opportunity, Corey Perry opened the scoring with a power play goal at 6:53. Rickard Rakell quickly snapped a pass into the crease for a wide-open, back door goal. 1-0 Anaheim.

Perry and Rakell have legitimate chemistry, which shows on the man advantage. In a perfect world Carlyle would stack them with Getzlaf on the first unit, but for now the Captain is playing defense with Kesler’s group. It seems less than ideal to take a stud passer that thrives on the half-wall and move him to the point as a shooter. Although Anaheim is down to few offensive-defensemen, he has been playing there for quite some time.

Shots at the end of the period were 9-8 in favor of Chicago.

Second Period:

Chicago’s AHL team came out strong to start the second frame. Even without players like Toews, Hossa, Keith, and Seabrook, Chicago was able to carry the play. They tallied a whopping 18 shots on Gibson but were unable to solve Anaheim’s #1 goaltender.

Jakob Silfverberg had one of Anaheim’s best chances of the period. The Swede came into the offensive zone with plenty of speed and found a way to fend off the Hawks’ defense just long enough to get behind the net for a wraparound opportunity. Unfortunately Silfverberg was unable to get the puck directly inside the post and shot the puck back into Crawford. If it were not for the minor slip up, he would have had a sure goal.

We see you, Ondrej Kase. The young winger pulled a Patty Kane with a perfect spin move along the boards get past Michal Rozsival. He pulled the puck toward the net and fed a streaking Chris Wagner in the slot for a highlight real goal. Also total credit to Wagner for a perfectly placed shot. He recognized that Crawford overextended while out of position completely exposing the five-hole. Wagner’s second goal in as many games extended the Anaheim lead to 2.

Third Period:

The Ducks immediately went into the turtle to start the final twenty minutes. In Anaheim’s first sustained time in the Chicago zone, only a single forward went below the hash marks. The Blackhawks were able to essentially set up a play with zero forecheck pressure in their end, which led to a dangerous chance off the rush. Gibson was able to make a solid save with his chest off of a one timer from the wing.

Hey, so much for that turtle. Instead of their usual three players, four Blackhawks saw themselves watching the puck from below the defensive faceoff circles. This isn’t recommended. Even the defensive minded Ducks knew that might as well creep up for an opportunity. Ryan Kesler finished off a Cogliano feed in the open slot to make the game 3-0. The goal came at 4:42.

John Gibson’s best stop had his best stop of the night (as most goalies seem to do) after he committed a turnover behind his net. With Bieksa floating in the corner light years away from the play, Gibson fed the puck right to Kane. The puck quickly got to the slot and took a two-pad stack effort to show off to the national broadcast team.

Oh, but it wasn’t over just yet. A shift after catching the iron, Rakell tipped home a Getzlaf point shot past Crawford. The young forward continued to collect his highlight type of goals. This time he reached behind his body to deflect the puck home. How does he keep doing things like this? Hockey is fun when you’re scoring. Let’s do this more. 4-0 Ducks.

Corsi recap
Hockeystats.ca

Anaheim will be back in action for their regular season finale on Sunday at home against the Los Angeles Golfers Association.