With a five point lead and a game in hand over the Anaheim Ducks for the lead in the Western Conference, the Hawks had the chance to take a valuable seven point lead as the season approaches the final month. But costly turnovers proved to be a difference maker as the Hawks fell to the Ducks after another late goal in the third.
It was a tough defensive match from the start as both teams had trouble creating chances in the first period. The Ducks had to first big scoring chance after a Jimmy Hayes turnover, but Hawks goaltender Ray Emery made a point blank save on Corey Perry. The Hawks found a couple of solid chances themselves in the second half of the first period but Patrick Kane hit the post. Shots were tied 9-9 after a scoreless first period.
The second period did not get off to a good start for the Hawks and they never recovered that well in the period. After the Hawks failed to dump a puck and eventually turned it over, Perry got another good another good look. This time he was able to beat Emery and give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The defensive battle continued as the teams could not get many shots off. The best chance for the Hawks came off a Nick Leddy slap shot but again, goal post.
Anaheim took their 1-0 lead into the third but a power play gave the Hawks a chance to get a goal early in the period. After a spectacular skate save by Emery, Kane beat Jonas Hiller top shelf to tie the game at one. Emery had a huge night for the Hawks and made a flurry of impressive saves to keep the game tied in the third. As time was ticking down in the third, David Bolland had a great scoring chance for the Hawks but instead of shooting, tried to make a pretty pass to Jimmy Hayes and got nothing out of the opportunity. Shortly after, a lose puck found Sheldon Souray and he blasted a shot that deflected in off the stick of Niklas Hjalmarsson to give the Ducks a late lead. The Hawks were unable to pull of some late magic and lost 2-1.
The Ducks pull within three points of the first place Hawks but they Hawks still have a game in hand. As we approach the final month of the season, the Hawks are looking to get healthy again. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are expected to return next week. No reason for the Hawks to panic. Another thing to watch is will the Hawks make a move before next week’s trade deadline. The Hawks have not been tied to any rumors but Stan Bowman has made it known that they will still look to improve their roster at the right price.
What’s next: The Hawks return to action Sunday afternoon in Detroit to face the rival Red Wings. The status for Sharp and Hossa for Sunday is still unknown. Puck drop is set for 11:30 AM.