Blackhawks best the Ducks 4-2

If there is anything that can break a team out of a slump and midseason doldrums it’s beating the best team in the NHL at least statistically, and that is exactly what the Hawks did. In a couple of recent games the Hawks may have been out worked but not on this night.

The Hawks proved once again that they can not only play with the best they can come out on top and are in fact the best until they are dethroned. This game was important for the Hawks for several reasons. They needed to show that they can work the boards with the best of them. The game was virtually a four point game in the Western Conference Standings and closed the gap between the two teams. Lastly, the Anaheim Ducks incredible win run began here in Chicago and so it was fitting it should end here.

The scoring opened in the first period with a shorthanded goal by Marian Hossa. The play was set up by a sensational breakout pass from Nik Hjalmarsson to Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa finished it with getting the puck past Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.

The next goal scored in the first was indicative of how the Hawks played all night. Kris Versteeg was battling three Ducks in front of their goal and somehow picked the puck out of mid air and get it past Hiller and just like that it was 2-0 at the end of the first.

The second period saw no scoring but plenty of action. The Hawks had dominated and dictated play through the first two periods the Ducks only had 11 shots on goal. Corey Crawford made some spectacular saves on Corey Perry. The only negative was Kris Versteeg left at the end of the second period injured when he collided behind the Ducks net with Bryan Bickell.

If the first two periods were the Hawks the latter part of the third belonged to Anaheim. Bryan Bickell like Kris Versteeg outworked the opposition and exploded up the ice after receiving a nifty pass from Brent Seabrook that just beat Hiller over the glove.

It looked like the Hawks were sailing up 3-0 but wait let us not forget this is the league leading and a gazillion wins a row Anaheim Ducks we are talking about here. After a couple of hiccups with a turnover that led to a goal by the prolific Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Then on what has to classified as a soft goal by Corey Crawford Kyle Palmieri scored five hole on Crawford from 30 – 35 feet in the high slot to make things a little uncomfortable at 3-2.

The Ducks pulled goalie Jonas Hiller and again it was Marian Hossa with an empty net goal icing an important win in the west for the Hawks.

The Hawks should bottle the way they played this game because they will face an equally imposing opponent and a familiar one on Sunday when they take on the Boston Bruins in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals in a national broadcast which should be another great game.

Three Stars of the game:

1.      Marian Hossa

2.      Kris Versteeg

3.      Niklas Hjalmarsson

Next game Sunday, January 19, at 11:30 a.m. CDT from the United Center vs the Boston Bruins. Tune in to NBC in Chicago; or listen via WGN 720.

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