The Chicago Blackhawks seemed to leave their offensive punch in Anaheim on Thursday night as the team mustered just one goal in a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.
Simon Despres scored late in the second period on what was ultimately the winning goal for the Ducks as they grab a 2-1 series lead. Patrick Kane scored the lone goal of the game for the Blackhawks as they lost for the first time on home ice in this postseason.
The Blackhawks started out the game with a couple of power plays, but they were unable to get anything good going on either of them as the Ducks pushed hard on the forecheck. Ultimately, that pressure paid off as Marian Hossa was sent off, and Patrick Maroon scored on the ensuing Ducks’ power play to give his team a 1-0 lead.
Despite the goal, the Ducks couldn’t stay out of trouble, and Jakob Silfverberg was sent off after high sticking Jonathan Toews in the offensive zone. The Blackhawks couldn’t take advantage of the four minute double-minor penalty however, and the Ducks retained their lead.
It looked as though the Hawks would head into the intermission trailing, but Patrick Kane had other ideas. Skating into the middle of the offensive zone, Kane found himself all alone after two different Ducks defenders flew past him, and the talented winger fired a no-look backhanded shot into the cage past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at 1-1 after 20 minutes of action.
Through the first three minutes of the second period, the Ducks attacked relentlessly, racking up seven shots in that short span. Andrew Cogliano had a fantastic scoring chance to cap off the furious rally, but Corey Crawford stopped it to keep the game tied.
After that initial onslaught, the Blackhawks did a nice job of dialing back the pressure a bit, and they started to assert themselves a bit more. Kris Versteeg barely missed on a shot attempt after he somehow corralled a wayward pass from Andrew Shaw, and then Bryan Bickell was stoned on a short side chance against Andersen.
With just under a minute to go, the Ducks grabbed the lead back. Off of a face-off win by Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks cycled the puck around the zone, and Simon Despres stayed in the face-off dot after pinching in from the point. He eventually got a pass over to him across the ice, and he one-timed a shot past a sliding Crawford to make it a 2-1 game with one period to go.
In that third period, the Blackhawks got off to a sluggish start, but they finally starting make a push late in the frame. The Hawks' top line generated several chances, with Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa each getting good looks, and Kane got a tremendous look late in the game as he pushed through the Ducks' defense for a shot on goal. The puck ended up skipping just wide however, and the Ducks walked out of the United Center with a hard-fought victory.
The Blackhawks will look to even the series up on Saturday night as they welcome the Ducks back to the United Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time, and the contest will air on NBC 5 Chicago.