By: Matthew Garcia
Today was a Sunday Matinee affair between the visiting Chicago Blackhawks (28-29-8) and the Anaheim Ducks. (32-21-12) The Blackhawks are coming off a road victory against the Los Angeles Kings in which they rallied from a two-goal deficit with an explosive four-goal third period to down the Kings 5-3. The Ducks are continuing a brief four-game homestand and are coming off a 4-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets back on Friday night, and will look to keep that success running in today’s match-up. The starting goalies for today’s game would be John Gibson for the Ducks and Anton Forsberg for the Blackhawks.
The puck would drop and the Ducks would be off and running as they would draw a penalty just 1:54 into the game as Anthony Duclair would be sent to the box on a slashing call. It would take just 29 seconds on the power play for the Ducks to take a 1-0 lead as Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell would play a little give-and-go that would see Rakell tip-in a pass from Getzlaf and behind Forsberg for the lead just 2:23 into the contest. The Ducks would strike again quick as Corey Perry would make a highlight reel goal as he would spin from below the goal line to the front of the net before roofing it against Forsberg to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead just 3:51 after the Rakell goal. The Ducks would surrender two powerplay opportunities but would be successful in killing both penalties and head to the locker room with a two-goal lead.
The action would kick off just eight seconds into the middle frame as Ryan Kesler and Jonathan Toews would square off at center ice, both players would land some good blows, but it would be Kesler who gets the takedown victory in the scrap. The Ducks would be the ones to claim the momentum from the fight as Ducks defenseman Marcus Pettersson would fire a wrist shot from the blue line, through traffic, and up over the blocker hand of Forsberg for his first career NHL goal a 3-0 lead just 2:09 into the second period. 4:30 later it would be Jakob Silfverberg getting on the board as he would take a feed from Andrew Cogliano before snapping it top-shelf over the glove of Forsberg for a 4-0 lead. Joel Quenneville would pull Forsberg and we would see J-F Berube come in for relief with 13:21 remaining in the second period, and the Blackhawks would respond as late in the period a delayed penalty on Anaheim would see Tomas Jurco get a piece of Connor Murphy‘s point shot and past Gibson for the Hawks’ first goal of the game. The Blackhawks would continue their push but Gibson and the Ducks would hold them off the board and take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
Early in the period, the Blackhawks would start to make things a little uncomfortable for the Ducks as Nick Schmaltz would be able to fend off defenseman Josh Manson before firing a wrist shot that would beat Gibson five-hole and make it a 2-4 game just 1:07 into the final period of play. The Ducks would find their bearings after slipping up a bit early in the period and Silfverberg strike again as he would be crashing the net and get an enough of the puck on a backhand bid that would squeak under the pads of Berube and into the back of the net making it 5-2 just seven minutes into the third. Quenneville would make use of his challenge as he would contest that Berube was interfered with by Silfverberg, but a short review would see the goal stand. Late in the period it would be Perry potting his second goal of the game as he would take a pass from Cam Fowler at the side of the net, Perry would have his first shot blocked by a sprawling Berube, but would collect the rebound and put it up over Berube giving the Ducks a 6-2 lead with just 5:19 left in the game. The Blackhawks would respond just over two minutes later as Schmaltz would receive a pass from Alex DeBrincat before firing it into a wide-open net to pull within three with just under three minutes to play. The Ducks would be able to hold off a late period surge from the Blackhawks and secure a 6-3 victory and a much-needed two points to reclaim third place in the Pacific Division.
Final Score: Blackhawks-3 Ducks-6
With the victory tonight the Ducks reclaimed sole possession of third place within the Pacific Division. The Ducks’ next few games will be very crucial ones (though every game down the stretch will be crucial for Anaheim) as they will be against playoff teams, or teams pushing to make the playoffs. Tuesday will be the end of the Ducks’ current four-game homestand as they will play host to the Washington Capitals. (37-21-7) It will also mark the final regular-season meeting between the two teams. The Capitals came out victorious in their first meeting back on December 16 by a final score of 3-2 in which Alexander Ovechkin fired home the game-winning goal in overtime. In the game against Washington on Tuesday, the Ducks will need to contain Ovechkin, and play very tight defensively if they want to come out on top with two points against a very high-powered Capitals offense.
Playoff Picture: (Pacific Division)
While the Ducks sit in sole possession of third place in the Pacific it is important to note that the Los Angeles Kings are just one point behind them in the standings, and currently hold the final wild-card spot. The Kings are currently on a five-day break and will be idle until Thursday evening when they play host to the Washington Capitals, this means that the Ducks will have an opportunity to create a bit of a cushion for themselves as they will play on Tuesday as well as Thursday night against the Nashville Predators. The San Jose Sharks currently hold a one-point lead over the Ducks for second place in the Pacific Division and are currently in action against the Columbus Blue Jackets. If the Sharks lose tonight the Ducks will have an opportunity to climb into second place on Tuesday with a win over the Capitals as the Sharks will not play again until Thursday night when they play host to the St. Louis Blues.
Want to start your sports media career? Then Join The Puck Network!
DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team. What are you waiting for? Start your sports media career TODAY!
March 4th, 2018