The Blackhawks flew home from Minnesota to face the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Friday night and it took a shootout for the game to be decided. Unfortunately, Anaheim won 3-2 and the Hawks dropped their third straight game.
Coach Joel Quenneville mixed up his lineup, breaking up his fourth line that had been effective for much of the early season. Even with effective play from his bottom six, and in the second night of a back-to-back, Quenneville rode his superstars hard on Friday night.
Jonathan Toews skated 24:49 and Patrick Kane was on the ice for 24:46 in the loss. Toews won 17 of 25 faceoffs and Kane led the Blackhawks with three takeaways to lead the way. Kane was also credited with an assist on Ben Smith’s goal in the first period.
Smith scored only 45 seconds after Corey Perry put the Ducks up 1-0, but he then disappeared for most of the second period. Through the first 40 minutes, Smith had taken only 10 shifts and had spent only 4:36 on the ice. However, when Quenneville started mixing his lines again in the third period, Smith was suddenly shifting with Kane and saw his ice time more than double in the final 20 minutes.
Ryan Getzlaf scored Anaheim’s second goal with only one second remaining on the Ducks’ only power play. After the game, Quenneville called the Hawks’ penalty kill a “disaster,” and said Getzlaf’s goal might be “rock bottom” for his PK unit.
Kris Versteeg was also credited with an assist on Smith goal and added a goal of his own, but turned the puck over a number of times late. With Michal Handzus back in the lineup, Versteeg only took two faceoffs in the game; he lost both. Handzus started the game well at the dot, but finished winning only six of 17 in the game.
Marcus Kruger was the only Blackhawks forward other than Toews to win more than half of his faceoffs in the game. Kruger won seven of nine, and was also credited with one blocked shot, one hit and one takeaway in only 12:24 on the ice.
In net, Antti Raanta stopped 24 of 26 shots, including a number of big saves late in the third period to get the game into overtime. Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good (read: terrible) in the shootout.
Raanta was “interfered with” on what should have been a game-winning goal for the Ducks in the overtime period, but replay showed Brent Seabrook pushing Saku Koivu into Raanta on the play. Soon after, Brandon Saad was taken down on a breakaway chance but the refs swallowed their whistles.
Brandon Bollig, who was called out at the open of the television broadcast for not being physical enough in the absence of Bryan Bickell, led the Hawks with six hits. Mark Fistric led the Ducks with eight hits as Anaheim out-hit the Hawks 39-25 in the game.
Jeremy Morin only skated 7:40, including 1:09 on the power play. He was credited with three shots in the game. Joakim Nordstrom was better on Friday night than in Minnesota, but won only one of three faceoffs and didn’t factor into special teams. He played 10:10 against the Ducks.
The Hawks host the Florida Panthers at the United Center on Sunday night.