For the second game in a row, the Blackhawks came out with a high powered offensive attack. They were able to cool down the red hot power play of Anaheim that had scored 6 power play goals in their previous game against the Vancouver Canucks. The brilliant penalty killing of the Blackhawks turned defense into offense as Niklas Hjalmarsson made a great lead pass to spring Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews on a two on one. Toews connected with Hossa who scored beat Jonas Hiller at 10:34 for a shorthanded goal. Then it was a turnover in the defensive zone that left Kris Versteeg all alone and he beat Hiller at 17:06.
The second period was all about missed chances for the Blackhawks. They had three power plays including a 5 on 3 power play for about thirty seconds an could not convert on any advantage.
With a 2-0 lead at the start of the third period, it looked like the Blackhawks might cruise to a win as they had held the Ducks to 11 shots in the first forty minutes. Bryan Bickell would extend the lead at 10:13 when his shot went off of Hiller and popped up in the air where Hiller could not get the glove on it as it trickled off of him and into the net. But the Ducks weren’t done as a turnover by the Blackhawks led to a 3 on 1 for the Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf beat Corey Crawford at 13:47. Things would get a little tighter 53 seconds later as Kyle Palmieri scored his ninth goal of the season at 14:40. But the Blackhawks would salt the game away as Hossa was freed from the defense by passes from Hjalmarsson and Marcus Kruger. Hossa had a breakaway and after shrugging off the defender, he put in an empty netter with eight seconds remaining.
What it means
The Blackhawks played a solid game and put the clamps down on a Ducks team that scored 9 goals in their previous game. The Blackhawks extended their lead in the Central division and are now 4 points behind the Ducks for the best record in the NHL with 73 points. This was the first win for Corey Crawford since November 29.
3 stars of the game
3. Jonathan Toews- Toews had a good game with one assist and was a plus two. But one of the most important contributions for Toews was in the faceoff circle as he won 14 of 23 faceoffs. The captain has won 35 faceoffs in the past two games.
2. Niklas Hjalmarsson- How about the improved play of Hjalmarsson? He had two assists and now has 21 points this year. Hjalmarsson was a plus one, delivered two hits and blocked two shots.
1. Marian Hossa- It was another strong game for Hossa who scored two goals and now has 19 on the season. Hossa was a plus one and had a game high eight shots on goal. It has been a nice stretch for Hossa who has a four game point streak tallying 4 goals and 2 assists in that period.