Blackhawks 3, Ducks 2, OT
Monday, 06.18.2012 / 10:50 PMBy Jack McCarthy
Special to AnaheimDucks.com
CHICAGO -- An overtime loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday was a disappointing end to a promising road trip, but at least the Ducks didn't lose ground in their frenzied NHL Western Conference playoff chase.
The Blackhawks tripped the Ducks 3-2 on Martin Havlat's overtime goal, but Anaheim still came away with a point in the standings in the finale of a grueling six-game road trip that also saw three wins.
The Ducks now have 68 points -- tied for seventh in the West with Edmonton and Nashville -- as they return to Anaheim for a five-game homestand.
"We're approaching these games like it's playoffs, it's do-or-die for us right now," said Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. "If we were going to have a bad road trip that would have sealed our season. Now we're in the thick of it with a bunch of other teams."
Havlat's game-winning goal came at 1:40 of overtime as he picked up the puck and raced directly towards Giguere with Corey Perry
in close pursuit.
As both approached the goal, Perry tried to reach in front of Havlat with his stick but appeared to slip. The Chicago right winger wound up and fired the game-winner to Giguere's left.
"I wasn't really thinking," said Giguere. "I was trying to react to what he would do and he made a nice play."
After trailing 2-0 after one period, the Ducks forced a 2-2 deadlock in the second then couldn't get anything past Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet after that.
"You have to recognize that it's the sixth game in 13 days for our hockey club (but) we found a way after being down 2-0 we battled back and battled hard," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.
"But we hit a post in the third period (on a Andrew Ebbett shot) and turned the puck over and those things come back to haunt you. And the bottom line is they scored the winner in overtime."
For the second straight game Chicago struck first and fast.
Chicago center Jonathan Toews set up the opening goal just 63 seconds into the game when he tipped a loose puck back to Troy Brower, who successfully beat Giguere.
The Hawks made it 2-0 at 11:26 when a 4-on-2 race developed at the blue line. Havlat and center center Dave Bolland exchanged passes before sending a feed to left winger Andrew Ladd, who shot past Giguere for his 11th goal.
The Ducks weren't without first period opportunities. They peppered Huet with 12 shots -- including four by right-winger Mike Brown -- and had two unsuccessful power plays.
Just 48 seconds into he second period, Giguere stopped a point-blank Toews shot that then dribbled over the goal line. The goal light flashed, but the officials ruled no score after a video review.
The tables abruptly turned over the next two minutes as the Ducks scored twice.
Anaheim halved the deficit at the 2:14 mark when Huet was caught out of the net trying to intercept a loose puck. Perry scooped it up instead and sent it out to Drew Miller, who beat Huet as the goalie tried to scramble back into position.
The goal was Miller's first of the season.
At 4:27, Ebbett grabbed the puck behind the Chicago net, circled in front and fed to right winger Bobby Ryan
, who collected his 22nd goal of the year.
"After we were down 2-0, we came in (the locker room) and settled down," said Giguere. "We talked to each other about just putting the puck deep and trying to create something and we did."
Chicago outshot the Ducks 37-28. The Ducks failed on three power play attempts while the Blackhawks were scoreless on two.
Veteran Teemu Selanne
had no points on Tuesday so his bid to become the 45th NHL player with 1,200 or more career points remained three points shy.
The Ducks' five-game homestand opens at 7 p.m. Friday against Dallas. They'll play 10 of their final 17 regular season games at Honda Center.
The Blackhawks drew 21,619 fans to the United Center, their 31st straight capacity crowd dating back to late last season.Chicago leads the NHL with an average of 22,467 per game.