First it was the seesaw battle in St Louis on Saturday night, and now this. To say the Anaheim Ducks have a flair for the dramatic would be a classic understatement. What an incredible test of will it was on Tuesday night, Feb 12 in Chicago. This was a game between the teams with the best records in the Western conference. Viktor Fasth again started in goal for Anaheim, seeking his sixth win in as many career NHL starts. On the other side, Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford has seemingly come out of nowhere to mold himself into an elite netminder.
In the end, it was the Anaheim Ducks who pulled out an epic come from behind victory.
First period: There was no scoring in the period but there was some superb hockey played. Both teams applied good pressure. The forecheck of the Blackhawks is a bit more frenetic than the calculated attacking style of the Ducks, but the difference in style is due more to the makeup of their roster than anything else. Both are equally effective. Fasth and Crawford both had big moments. Crawford robbed Corey Perry, and Fasth robbed Hossa. Andrew Cogliano continued a trend, as his speed and quickness led to a Ducks power play 13 mins into the game when Michal Roszival went to the penalty box for hooking. Score tied at 0-0 after one period.
Shots on goal in first period: Chicago 9, Ducks 8
Second period: This was the most entertaining period of the night. The feeling out process was over. Now they let it all hang out. Daniel Winnick was instrumental in helping the Ducks draw first blood. Just 2:58 into the period, Winnick was ragging the puck in the Blackhawks zone and Viktor Stalberg had no choice but to take a holding penalty as the rest of the Anaheim team was jumping in the zone to support the puck. 37 secs into the odd-man advantage, the Ducks scored. Ryan Getzlaf took a pass from Ben Lovejoy and carried the puck across the Chicago blueline. he gave the puck to Nick Bonino in the high slot, and received the puck back just to left of Crawford. Getzlaf spotted Corey Perry parked on the far goalpost. It would have been an easy tip-in goal for Perry, but the puck never made it there. Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook tried to intercept the pass, but instead tipped it into his own net; goal credited to Getzlaf. It would even out later on, as the Blackhawks were on a power play, and a slap shot from Nick Leddy hit the stick of Sheldon Souray, and the deflected puck beat Fasth. Score was still tied 1-1 when just 20 secs later the Hawks scored again. 20 year old rookie Brandon Saad crashed the net, and poked the puck by Fasth. Because the net dislodged as players crashed in, it had to be reviewed. It was allowed to stand. Period ended with Chicago leading 2-1.
Shots on goal in second period: Ducks 14, Chicago 12
Third period: The first period was fun to watch, the second, even more fun. The third period got a bit tedious, as Chicago seemed content to sit on their lead, and not risk making any mistakes. The result was a lot of uninteresting play in the neutral zone. Chicago's strategy almost worked. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau shortened his bench in the period. That meant that Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and Brad Staubitz saw no ice time in the period. Lines were remixed, and it would be the newly formed line of Getzlaf, Perry, and Cogliano which ultimately got it done. Late in the period, the Ducks were swarming the net. A great team effort would culminate with Cogliano pounding in a rebound from close range at 17:20. The score was tied 2-2, and now the real drama began. Toni Lydman took an interference penalty at 19:50, so when overtime began, Chicago would skate with a four-on-three power play.
Shots on goal in third period: Ducks 9, Chicago 6
Overtime: The Ducks managed to hold Chicago shotless on the 4 on 3 power play. Toni Lydman got out of the sin bin, enjoyed 18 secs of freedom, and then got thrown back in for high-sticking Patrick Sharp. The Ducks did not panic, even though they again would face the offensive wizardry of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp, on the 4 on 3. The Ducks killed it off, and OT ended with score tied 2-2.
Shots on goal in OT: Chcago 3, Ducks 0
Shootout: Chicago chose Toews, Kane, and Saad. Shooting first, Toews beat Fasth thru the five-hole. Bonino then undressed Crawford to make it 1-1. Once Fasth the stonwewalled Kane. Perry put his team in position to win, when he beat Crawford with a low wrist shot. Fasth brought the victory home when he stopped Saad, to give the Ducks a hard earned victory.
Final score: Ducks 3, Chicago 2
Final shots on goal: Ducks 31, Chicago 30
Power play: Ducks 1-4, Chicago 1-5
Ducks record is now 9-2-1 (Second place in Western Conference)
Ducks played their fourth consecutive game without defenseman Cam Fowler (upper body injury).
Viktor Fasth is now 6-0 on the season, having won the first six NHL starts of his career.
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