A showdown between the top two teams in the NHL took place Wednesday night in Anaheim as the Chicago Blackhawks squared off against the Ducks. The Ducks entered the game five points behind the first place Blackhawks. Despite have a game in hand, a victory over the Hawks would be crucial for the Ducks has the season approaches the final month.
The Ducks got off to an early lead due to sloppy play by the Hawks early. After a shot went wide, Holland was able to tap one in after a fortunate bounce off the back boards. Sloppy play would continue to be the theme for the Hawks the entire night. After Crawford kept the Hawks within one, Toews was able to score shorthanded to tie the game. However, the first period continued to be dominated by the Ducks. But excellent with excellent play by Crawford, the Hawks escaped the period with a tie game.
After the dismal first period, the Hawks played much better in the second. They got a couple of quality chances but Hiller kept strong for Anaheim. Nick Leddy, on his 22 birthday, fired a slap-shot past Hiller on the power play to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. Play was controlled by the Hawks and Crawford kept the Ducks scoreless in the second. Things were looking up heading into the third.
With a 2-1 lead, the Hawks almost took a 3-1 lead but Brandon Bollig’s goal was waved off after a distinct kicking motion. The waved off goal proved to be costly. With five minutes left in the game, Ryan was able to grab a rebound and sneak one past Crawford to tie the game at two. Shortly after, the Hawks failed to get the puck out of the zone and the Ducks wound up with a two-on-one. Johnny Oduya proved no help for Crawford and Selanne was able to find the back of the net. Anaheim added an empty net goal. Hawks lose 4-2. The second time this season that the Hawks have blown a late lead to the Ducks. Absolutely not Crawford’s fault tonight as the Hawks played one of, if not their sloppiest game of the season with way to many turnovers against a great Ducks team.
What’s next: The Hawks get a rare four days off before returning the the United Center next Monday to face the Los Angeles Kings. Puck drop is 7:00pm.