Sometimes, games turn in a single rush.
Just past the five minute mark of the second period and the Hawks trailing Anaheim 1-0, Troy Brouwer and Andrew Ladd broke in on a 2-on-1. Brouwer went wide with the puck and successfully drew the defenseman away from Ladd.
He slid a beautiful cross-ice pass over to Ladd. With the puck on his forehand and about 75% of the net to shoot at, Ladd fired the puck along the ice. J.S. Giguere went post-to-post and made a kick save with his left leg.
The rebound shot out to an Anaheim player who found Ryan Getzlaf streaking behind the Blackhawks while they were in a middle of a line change. Brent Sopel was the closest Hawk player and actually did a terrific job of preventing Getzlaf from lifting the puck on his breakaway move. Cristobal Huet made the save but Sopel was called on a very questionable hooking call.
On the ensuing power play, Teemu Selanne scored his second goal of the game after a scramble in front and what could have been a 1-1 game turned into a 2-0 Ducks lead. Three minutes later, the Ducks scored on another power play and it was all they would need.
The Hawks mounted a semi-serious threat early in the third period with two excellent shifts but Giguere turned away each shot and that was that.
Maybe the Hawks don’t win the game if Ladd scores to tie it at 1, but there’s no denying the end-to-end sequence completely changed the complexion of the game. Either way, the Hawks were due to lay a stink bomb at some point on this trip. It makes sense it would come during a Friday matinee the day after Thanksgiving.
–Early in the second period, Marian Hossa was the recipient of a pass and was standing about 15 feet away from the net. The puck ended up slipping off his stick but in a couple weeks, a play like that will either be a goal or a terrific save from the opposing goaltender.
–It was kind of strange to see Joel Quenneville stick with a strict line rotation through the whole 60 minutes especially in a first period where the Hawks looked particularly flat. In a season that’s seen him completely gum up his lines two shifts into a game, I kept waiting for the first adjustment. Never happened.
–So the Hawks finally start filling up the net on the power-play after they abandon the ‘forward playing the point’ strategy. Then Hossa returns and they completely change whatever they’ve been doing except this time Kris Versteeg plays the ‘point’. I use quotations because most times, Versteeg lined up low along the half-boards leaving Duncan Keith alone on the point.
In the second period, the Ducks predictably got a terrific short-handed opportunity when Corey Perry won a loose puck battle and Keith was the only Hawk within the same area code. Huet ended up having to make a save that was far too difficult with the Hawks up a man.
In other news, the Hawks power play went 0-for-4.
–Bobby was one of the criminally insane up at 4 am this morning to pick up a PlayStation 3. His first game purchase was NHL ’10. Naturally, I had to give the game a whirl.
My first reaction: Wow.
It’s probably the best hockey game I’ve ever seen. The players look so real and the gameplay is so realistic, it’s hard for me to rationally describe to you.
Bobby and I were all set to start up the ‘Be A GM’ mode together when he had a vision of us getting into a heated argument over whether to take Ryan Getzlaf or Sidney Crosby with the fourth overall selection in the fantasy draft. He said we’d end up coming to blows. I’d storm out. We’d try to reconcile. Then we’d argue over our second round pick. Thirty years later, we’re still not talking.
So he decided it’s probably not worth it. He’s probably right.
*On the Farm*
–The IceHogs came out on top of the Grand Rapids Griffins with a 4-3 win. The Hogs actually owned a 4-1 lead early in the third period, but the Griffins scored two goals to cut the lead to 1. Unlike Wednesday night, Rockford held on for the win.
Peter MacArthur opened the scoring three minutes into the game with assists from Jassen Cullimore and Nathan Davis.
In the second period, Kyle Greentree gave the Hogs a lead they’d never lose. Assists were from Bracken Kearns and Jack Skille. Akim Aliu scored an unassisted goal at the end of the period to give the Hogs a two-goal lead.
Nathan Davis closed out Rockford’s scoring early in the third with an assist going to MacArthur.
Alec Richards earned his first career AHL win by stopping 27 of 30 shots.
—Shawn Lalonde had an assist in Belleville’s 5-3 loss to the Erie Otters on Thanksgiving.