ANAHEIM – A change in uniform didn’t provide a change in fortune for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks, who came out in brand new third jerseys for their traditional post-Thanksgiving matinee with the Chicago Blackhawks, surrendered three third period goals in falling 4-1 to the defending Stanley Cup champs in front of 16,146 at Honda Center. It was the sixth straight defeat for the Ducks, who dropped to 10-11-3 on the season.
"It didn’t look like they had to work too hard to get their chances," said Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, who gave up all four Blackhawks goals. "We gave away too much. It’s just not possible against such a good team."
Chicago got the lead for the first time in the game on a turnover in the Anaheim end, as Andy Sutton put a pass right on the stick of Patrick Sharp in the middle of the ice, and Sharp snapped a wrist shot over Hiller’s glove. Less than three minutes later, the Blackhawks made it a two-goal cushion, as Niklas Hjalmarsson fired a slap shot that sailed past Hiller, who may have been screened by Sutton in front.
Midway through the period, Troy Brouwer made it 4-1 Blackhawks after delivering a hard hit on Todd Marchant to pry the puck away, then seconds later fired a shot from the slot that eluded Hiller. Curtis McElhinney took Hiller’s spot in net after that goal, which would be the last of the night for either side.
The Ducks had the lead through one period, jumping in front with 3:11 left in the first on the power play. Saku Koivu launched a slap shot from the point that Dan Sexton deflected with his stick enough to get it past Corey Crawford in net. It was Sexton’s first goal since January 27 of last season, and came during a week in which he went back and forth to AHL Syracuse (along with fellow forwards Nick Bonino and Brandon McMillan) twice.
Anaheim had a chance to double that lead seven minutes into the second period on another power play, but Chicago turned the tables with a shorthanded tally. Ryan Getzlaf made an errant pass in the offensive zone, setting off a Blackhawks rush. Sharp fed Duncan Keith for the one-timer that Hiller initially stopped with the leg pad, but he lost sight of it as it trickled behind him over the stripe.
"I thought I made the save and I couldn’t find the puck so I just didn’t want to move," Hiller said. "It is really hard to get scored on a power play and take a short-hander. I still don’t know how it went in. We were unable to react after that."
Getzlaf called the goal, "huge," adding that it was "not only a goal, but our power play unit was terrible tonight. We were. Our line, not Saku’s line, our line was terrible tonight. Our power play is designed to give us momentum, whether we score or not it’s got to give us momentum and we killed it tonight. That was the difference in the hockey game."
Ducks winger Teemu Selanne missed his second straight game with a groin pull, while center Kyle Chipchura made his first appearance since suffering a concussion October 30 in San Jose.
The Ducks, who played today after four straight days without games, are back at it tomorrow night, as they try to break out of their slump in Phoenix.
18:08 - Sbisa fires a slap shot into Crawford's gut as McMillan goes toppling over him.
15:30 - McElhinney with a couple of nice stops in succession.
13:58 - ANA Penalty - Aaron Voros, 2 min. roughing. Voros gives Dowell the business away from the play in front of the benches.
9:40 - McElhinney in net for Anaheim.
9:40 CHICAGO GOAL - TROY BROUWER - Seconds after drilling Marchant into the wall to take the puck away, Brouwer takes a pass from Dowell in the slot and fires it past Hiller to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead.
6:33 - CHI Penalty - Duncan Keith, 2 min. interference. Keith gets the penalty during a mad scramble in front of the Chicago cage.
5:57 - CHICAGO GOAL - NIKLAS HJALMARSSON - Hjalmarsson fakes a shot from the point to shake Sexton, then fires a slap shot that gets past Hiller, who may have been screened by Sutton in front. It's 3-1 Blackhawks.
4:00 - Ducks nearly get one back, as the puck bounces around in front of the net, comes to Sbisa, and he just fires wide with an open half.
2:55 - CHICAGO GOAL - PATRICK SHARP - Sutton makes a bad turnover in the corner of the Anaheim end, putting it right on Sharp's stick in the middle of the ice, and Sharp makes the Ducks pay, snapping a wrist shot over Hiller's glove. It's 2-1 Hawks.
0:29 - Perry rips a shot from the left wing circle that hits Seabrook and he goes down in a heap and stays there. He appears relatively okay, as he heads to the bench in some obvious pain. Not a good arena for Seabrook, who took a hard hit here by Wisniewski last season.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Blackhawks get a shorthanded goal from Keith to make it 1-1. Ducks will have some power play time when we return.
19:02 - ANA Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. roughing and CHI Penalty - Nick Boynton, 4 min. (double minor) roughing. Sutton nearly leaves his feet as he misses on what could have been a devastating hit on Cullimore, and Boynton takes exception as the two tangle near the penalty boxes. Boynton gets the extra two.
12:28 - CHI Penalty - Jack Skille, 2 min. tripping Skill takes down Bonino near the Anaheim blue line.
7:40 - CHICAGO GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DUNCAN KEITH - Off a Getzlaf turnover, Chicago gets on a shorthanded rush, where Sharp feeds Keith for a one-timer that Hiller initially stops with the leg pad, but he can't find it as it trickles slowly over the stripe behind him just before two players go crashing into the net. It's 1-1.
7:07 - CHI Penalty - Marian Hossa, 2 min. tripping. Ducks with a chance to go up two goals.
6:45 - Perry feeds Ryan from the corner and Ryan nearly sneaks it through on the one-timer in front.
0:40 - Ducks get a bad break, then a good one, as the puck bounces off the glass behind the net right into the crease, but Toews is too surprised by it to get his stick on it in time before it's iced to the other end of the rink.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get a tip-in from Sexton on the power play to take a 1-0 lead through one.
16:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAN SEXTON - Fowler and Koivu play catch with the puck at the point before Fowler fakes a slap shot and feeds Koivu for the one-timer that deflects off Sexton's stick and darts past Crawford. It's Sexton's first goal since January 27 and it's 1-0 Ducks.
16:08 - CHI Penalty - Fernando Pisani, 2 min. tripping. Pisani trips up Visnovsky behind the Anaheim net.
14:40 - Hiller with a nice chest stop on a Kopecky shot from straightaway.
13:30 - Sexton takes a headman pass in front of the defense on a breakaway and has plenty of time to plan his move on Crawford. It turns out to be too much time, as he settles for a low wrist that that Crawford easily stops.
7:30 - Ducks being outshot, 9-3 so far. But we've learned at least in the last two games how inconsequential that stat can be when it comes to winning hockey games.
8:00 - Getzlaf sweeps a one-timer from the left wing circle that Crawford just does kick save.
2:05 - Ducks get away with one as Hossa tries to one-time with his feet in the crease, and somehow it's off Hiller and over the net.
1:28 - ANA Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. roughing. Sutton gets a Hawk in the face.
Selanne out tonight as he continues to recover from that sore groin.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
1:07 p.m. - Sarah Bennett, who also happens to be a Ducks intern, does a fabulous job on the anthem in her operatic style. She also is sporting a new Ducks third jersey.
1:04 p.m. - The Ducks come out in their new third jerseys, and we'll have photos available soon. For now, here's a preview. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.