Without Jonathan Toews (upper-body), the Blackhawks limped into Anaheim to face a Ducks team that was 3-2-2 in their last seven. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf scored his first goal of the season on Oct. 16 and hasn’t scored since, and the Ducks as a team came into Friday afternoon’s contest averaging only 2.40 goals per game.
Anaheim controlled most of the first period, out-shooting the Blackhawks 9-7. But a mid-period rush by Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov ended with Anisimov tapping home his ninth of the season.
Brent Seabrook started the scoring play with a great stretch pass to Kane, but John Gibson’s inability to control the puck was an issue all afternoon.
Chicago came out much better in the second period. An early period power play saw Seabrook set up Kane once again. This time, 88 handled the business himself.
Kane’s seventh of the season gave the Blackhawks a big two-goal lead.
Marcus Kruger spent most of the first two periods with Dennis Rasmussen, and the two were joined briefly in the second period by Ryan Hartman. The three put pressure on the Ducks and it paid off with Hartman’s fifth of the season.
Unfortunately, the three-goal lead lasted only ten seconds before Nick Ritchie scored for the Ducks. The Ducks out-shot the Hawks 12-8 in the second, and the Blackhawks had won only eight of 42 faceoffs in the game’s opening 40 minutes. Thankfully, Corey Crawford was on point, making 20 saves in the first two periods. Gibson allowed three goals against only 15 shots in two periods.
Anaheim increased their shooting even more in the third period, and Jakob Silfverberg was able to beat Crawford at 8:51 to cut the lead to 3-2. But Crawford was up to the challenge the rest of the way and the Hawks hung on to win a big game without Toews.
Predictably, the faceoff numbers were ugly without Toews. Ryan Kesler won 22 of 30 and Getzlaf won 13 of 17 in a dominant performance at the dot for the Ducks. For Chicago, Vinnie Hinostroza played a terrific game; he and Hartman were the only two Blackhawks with positive possession numbers. But Hinostroza won only three of 15 faceoffs; Kruger won five of 16 and Anisimov won five of 22.
Seabrook led Chicago with two assists and a team-high three hits. Richard Panik surprisingly led the Hawks with three blocked shots. Crawford was marvelous, stopping 34 of 36 in the victory.
Scott Darling will get the nod in net against LA. After a Friday afternoon matinee, the Hawks don’t start until 9:30 pm CST on Saturday.