The Chicago Blackhawks faced a stern challenge in playing against the NHL-leading Anaheim Ducks on Friday night, but Patrick Kane’s two goals and Patrick Sharp’s four assists helped them to a decisive 4-1 victory.
Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith also scored goals for the Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 21 as the Hawks bounced back from a tough loss to the Los Angeles Kings earlier in the week.
After the Blackhawks killed off an early Keith penalty, the Blackhawks got a great possession from their loaded up post-PK line and scored the game’s first goal. Kane fired a pass into the far face-off circle for Toews, who had to readjust and bring the puck back to his forehand.
With Frederik Andersen sliding across the crease, Toews fired a wrist shot just inside the far post of the goal, and just five and a half minutes into the game the Hawks led 1-0.
As the period came to an end, the Ducks had several good chances to score, but Crawford was able to make a couple of key saves, including back-to-back saves on a 2-on-1 Anaheim rush. The saves ended up leading the Hawks into the locker room with their one-goal advantage intact, and they also led in shots on goal 13-7.
The second period got started with the Blackhawks failing to score on a power play, but they continued to dominate possession time, and eventually they took advantage. After a nice play by Sharp to keep the puck in the zone, Keith lined up a slapshot from the high slot and ripped a slap shot past Andersen to make it a 2-0 game.
Just a few minutes later, the Blackhawks scored again. Ryan Getzlaf was stripped of the puck near center ice by Sharp, and the Hawks’ winger drove through the blue line and passed back to a streaking Kane. Kane got around the defense, found an open lane, and rifled a wrist shot past Andersen and just under the crossbar to make it a 3-0 game late in the period.
Crawford did have to make one more save late in the frame as a clearing shot by Francois Beauchemin hit Bryan Bickell and deflected on net, but his pad save kept the shutout intact through 40 minutes.
That shutout didn’t last through a power play near the middle of the third period as the Ducks finally got on the board. Rickard Rikell made an excellent play breaking into the zone as he pushed a pass over to Corey Perry, and as Rikell drove to the net he got the puck back and flipped a shot past Crawford to make it a 3-1 game.
The Blackhawks did end up getting a key insurance goal with six and a half minutes left, as Sharp got a puck along the boards and fired a pass to the middle of the ice. Kane put his stick down and forced the puck past Andersen, and the 4-1 lead the goal gave Chicago stood as they knocked off the West’s top team.
For their next game, the Blackhawks will head north to San Jose for a Saturday night showdown against the Sharks.