The Blackhawks began tonight six points behind Nashville for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Coming off of their two-game win streak in Florida, the Blackhawks felt very confident in hosting an Anaheim Ducks squad that has seen their share of struggles this season. These two teams were once amid the pinnacle of the Western Conference and have seen war between each other.
The Hawks did not waste much time in this one. Drake Caggiula was in the perfect position to tip in a hard pass from Adam Boqvist just over two minutes into the opening period.
This early score lit a fire underneath the Hawks in the opening period. They had several chances after that early goal and nearly capitalized on two of them. For several minutes after the opening goal, they out-worked the Ducks and the score could easily have been 3-0.
This Anaheim team was not to be underestimated though, especially after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins a few nights ago, as they out-shot the Hawks 16-6. Corey Crawford made some tremendous saves to keep this game 1-0 after one period of play.
This first period was mostly dominated by the Ducks in scoring chances and the defense has to give Crawford some help or these scoring chances will start turning into easy goals.
The second period started with the Hawks on an offensive tear. At 3:46, they had some phenomenal passing in the offensive zone and two key keep-ins at the blue line to continue the pressure. Duncan Keith took a monster slap-shot from the point and it ricocheted off the boards behind the net. Dylan Strome found the puck right in front of him and he pounded it behind John Gibson for his 100th career point.
Less than a minute later, the Hawks got caught in a bind from a defensive breakdown and left Danton Heinen with a wide-open net. The Hawks lead was cut to 2-1.
A few minutes went by and then Patrick Kane was caught tripping Michael Del Zotto, sending the Ducks to their first power-play of the evening. The Blackhawks had almost killed the entire power-play when David Kampf was questionably called for tripping Max Jones. They killed the rest of the penalty and the score remains 2-1.
At 13:08, Matthew Irwin was penalized for hooking Patrick Kane and gave the Hawks their first power-play of the night. The man-advantage started out strong but they couldn't find the back of the net.
With about four and a half minutes left of the middle period, Patrick Kane entered the offensive zone and pulled back to the point. He quickly passed the puck all the way across the ice and found Dylan Strome who beautifully shot it right into the back of the net for his 12th goal of the year and second of the night. Hawks lead 3-1.
In what felt like an overtime 3-on-3 exchange of scoring chances and a really impressive defensive stop from Boqvist; Alexander Nylander was up on an odd-man rush, deked to the backhand, and scored to make it 4-1.
Then only a matter of seconds later, Nylander somehow found the puck in front of the net and he dished it over to Kane for another goal! The Hawks now lead 5-1!
This was an extremely impressive period from the Blackhawks. They capitalized on their chances, albeit not their power-play chances, and they were able to keep the puck out of their own net. The Hawks out-shot Anaheim 18-13 in the middle period and lead 5-1.
Jonnie Nonnie's second intermission report:
Two minutes into the third period, Corey Crawford was pulled from the game by the medical staff due to a concern for a concussion.
This is the first time we have seen Malcolm Subban on the ice for the Hawks since acquiring him from the Vegas Golden Knights. Crawford remained on the bench for the entirety of about 45 seconds and then returned to the game.
Ryan Getzlaf was sent to the penalty box for tripping Kirby Dach about five minutes into the third period. The Ducks did not score on this man-advantage.
At 11:34, Crawford was screened out in front and the shot by Carter Rowney found the back of the net. The Hawks still lead 5-2.
At 15:03 Matthew Highmore sent a cross-ice pass to David Kampf who buried his eighth goal of the year past Ryan Miller (who replaced John Gibson after 5 goals and a .792 save percentage).
The Hawks win by a final score of 6-2. Crawford ends the night with 37 saves and a .949 save percentage. The Blackhawks have now won three games in a row, sweep the series against Anaheim and gained some traction in the standings. They take on a very dangerous Edmonton Oilers team on Thursday night.