ANAHEIM – Off all the defeats the Ducks have endured during this difficult month-long stretch, perhaps none were as heartbreaking as the one they suffered Friday afternoon against the Blackhawks.
Anaheim, which surged to a two-goal lead entering the third period, looked like a different team in giving up four Blackhawks goals en route to a 6-5 defeat in front of a sellout crowd at Honda Center. Patrick Sharp’s hat trick (including the tying and go-ahead goals in that fateful third) helped deal the Ducks a sixth straight defeat while ending a three-game skid for the Hawks.
"We came out with the energy that we wanted and got the lead. We didn’t finish the game the way we wanted," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "We are very concerned. This is not something that we’re willing to accept around here. We have to change the mentality. The start of every period, we have to treat it like it is 0-0 and learn how to win those kind of games."
It was the renewal of the traditional post-Thanksgiving matinee between the Ducks and Blackhawks, a series in which the Ducks had held a 4-1-1 edge entering the game. They looked poised to improve that mark entering the third period this afternoon, but their two-goal advantage was swiftly obliterated by the Blackhawks and turned into a Chicago lead.
"Right now, we’re finding way to lose hockey games when we have prime position to win hockey games," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "It’s very frustrating and confusing for everybody involved."
The Hawks scored three unanswered in the first 3:33 of the period, starting at 1:04 when a Duncan Keith slap shot kicked off the boot of Jonathan Toews inside the near post.
Just 28 seconds later, Toews stole the puck from Getzlaf behind the Anaheim net and tried a wraparound in which the puck slipped off his stick to Sharp for the goal.
"We came out in the third and it was two within a minute. Then, the game just dramatically changes," said Bobby Ryan, who broke a scoring slump with two goals. "You could almost feel the tempo change on the bench. Guys got down. That’s the sign of a team that has been accepting it for a little while. Two goals within a minute span, both on our line, is heartbreaking. If you could put a finger on it, it would be easy to get out of it."
Two minutes after Sharp's second goal, he got his third of the game right off the faceoff, slinging a shot from the top of the left wing circle that sailed past a blinded Jonas Hiller, who was pulled for backup Dan Ellis immediately after.
Ellis gave up his only goal of the game halfway into the period, as he appeared to save a Keith slap shot, but the puck leaked underneath him, where a helmetless Toews pried it away and send it into the net.
The 6-4 Hawks lead remained that way until Corey Perry scored off a scramble in front of the net with just 7.2 seconds left, too little too late for a Ducks team that has won just once in the last 13 games.
Ryan, recovering from a hip contusion that forced him to miss time in Phoenix Wednesday night, potted two goals in Anaheim’s rush to the lead. His goal in the opening period was his first since November 3 (an eight-game drought), and he had his first two-goal game since October 16 vs. St. Louis. Ryan’s first strike came very early in a first period in which the two teams combined for five goals and the Ducks took a 3-2 lead.
Just 1:14 after the opening draw, Ryan fired from the left wing circle off a Perry feed and whacked away twice at the rebound before sending it through, flying over goalie Corey Crawford and slamming the glass in celebration. Perry had made the play happen by drilling Niklas Hjalmarsson into the wall to jar the puck loose in the corner before sending it to Ryan.
Less than a minute after Ryan’s goal, Anaheim took a 2-0 lead when a Teemu Selanne snap shot kicked to Andrew Cogliano, who punched it inside the right post.
The Blackhawks fought back with Sharp's first goal at 6:09, but Selanne made it a two-goal game again with a rocketed slap shot on the power play that hit the inside of the far post before bounding into the net.
Chicago got within a goal with 2:22 left in the period, as Dave Bolland chipped in an Andrew Brunette pass on the man advantage.
But Ryan again gave the Ducks a cushion when a Getzlaf shot kicked to Luca Sbisa, who fed across the crease to Ryan for the easy tap-in, the only goal of a second period in which the Ducks were outshot 17-5.
"Maybe halfway through the second period, we started to stop forechecking and started to just receive," Carlyle said. "It turned the momentum of the game around. In third period, it was like we froze. They scored in the first shift and then they scored in the second shift. We froze."
Chicago finished with a 42-29 shots advantage for the game. Anaheim's five goals were a season high, but not enough on this day.
"A little bit of panic sets in when we get scored on," Getzlaf said. "It’s a tough thing for us. We have to find a way to change that. I have never been in this kind of rut in my career so far. Most of the guys in here are with my in that boat. That’s a tough lesson to learn."
3rd Period 20:00 - END OF GAME - Hawks win the draw and fire wide of the open net with 2 seconds left. It's over.
19:52 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - During a scramble in front of the net, Perry punches it in for the goal with 7.2 left, but it's likely not enough.
19:20 - Sharp sends it just wide of the open net, looking for his fourth.
18:25 - Crawford makes an initial stop on a Beauchemin laser, then reaches behind himself to freeze it.
17:50 - Ellis to the bench with 2:10 left.
17:38 - Ellis races to the bench just as the puck goes out of the play in the Chicago end. We'll see how soon he does that again.
16:28 - Ellis gets run over after stopping a trip try from point blank and smothering the puck with the glove.
11:45 - Ryan comes within inches of getting his third of the game, tipping a rebound just wide of the net as he falls to the ice. Ducks desperately needed that.
9:22 - CHICAGO GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JONATHAN TOEWS - Ellis appears to make the stop on a Keith slap shot, but it leaks underneath him, where Toews (having lost his helmet seconds prior) pries it away from behind Ellis and sends it through. Remarkably, it's 6-4 Chicago.
8:09 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. holding . Chasing the puck to the corner, Koivu reaches around Hossa and drags him down. Clear penalty.
7:53 - Right after an Ellis save, Beauchemin takes a swing at Toews, who had cross checked him in the back. No penalty. I love hockey.
6:50 - Ellis pops out for a nice stop on Sharp, looking for his fourth goal.
6:11 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. interference. Rough period for the Ducks.
5:55 - Ellis with a nice kick save on a charging Kane.
4:10 - Ryan appears to take a shot to the face during a battle in the corner, but there is no call.
3:33 - Hiller out, Ellis in.
3:33 - CHICAGO GOAL - PATRICK SHARP - Right off the draw, Sharp skates into the left wing circle and fires a shot through a Stalberg screen that gets past a blinded Hiller to make it a 5-4 game. Third of the game for Sharp.
A slight delay as officials try to get ushers to close the drapes in one of the tunnels on the 200 level. Apparently some blinding light shining through there.
1:32 - CHICAGO GOAL - PATRICK SHARP - Now, the Hawks waste no time in tying it, as Toews takes the puck from Getzlaf behind the net and tries a wraparound that slips off his stick to Sharp, who promptly slaps it through for the goal. It's 4-4.
1:04 - CHICAGO GOAL - JONATHAN TOEWS - Hawks waste no time getting within a goal, as Keith's slap shot deflects off the boot of Toews and just inside the left post. It's 4-3 Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks protecting a two-goal lead.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks extend lead to 4-2 on Ryan's second of the game.
18:55 - Kruger's one-timer rings the right post.
15:40 - Fowler flops on his stomach to deny Toews' pass on a scary 2-on-1 shorthanded.
14:30 - Rebound squirts to Perry, who appears to have the goal before Crawford dives and deflects it with the stick.
13:41 - Ducks can seriously make things tough on Chicago on this power play.
13:41 - CHI Penalty - Daniel Carcillo, 2 min. interference. Carcillo runs Gordon into the wall twice to impede Gordon's pursuit of the puck. Easy one to call.
11:58 - Crowd applauds a penalty kill after a series of close calls.
11:05 - Sbisa gets his stick in the lane to save what looked like a sure Chicago goal.
9:58 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. hooking. Crowd not liking this one either.
8:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Getzlaf fires on net from near the left wing wall, the puck kicking out to Sbisa in deep, and he sends it across the crease to a waiting Ryan for the easy goal. Second of the game for Ryan and it's a big one, as it gives the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
7:25 - Ducks get off first shot of period.
6:24 - Potential Ducks rush gets wiped out by a whistle for offside. You can see Cogliano telling the official "No way."
5:40 - Ryan appears to flip the puck out of the rink, but avoids the delay of game call.
2:10 - Cogliano sprints to pick up a loose puck, leading to a shorthanded 2-on-1 in which his pass to Ryan is knocked down by a sliding Keith. Might have shot that.
2:05 - Both Getzlaf and Hagman lay into Kruger as he jams away at Hiller.
1:46 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. hooking. Selanne gets the stick blade into Toews' chest. He doesn't like the call. Selanne, that is (just clarifying).
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A five-goal first sees goals from Ryan, Cogliano and Selanne as the Ducks go in front 3-2.
19:50 - Ryan with a nice cross-ice pass to Perry, whose shot is just kicked away. Ryan playing well after missing time the other night with a hip contusion.
17:38 - CHICAGO GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAVE BOLLAND - Sbisa doesn't do a great job clearing the puck out of the corner, allowing Brunette to feed across the slot to Bolland for the one-timer. It's 3-2 Ducks.
15:59 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. tripping. Toews falls down near the wall just before Beauchemin goes for the hip check on him.
14:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Selanne takes in the puck at the top of the right wing circle and launches a slap shot that clangs the inside of the far post before darting inside the net. It's 3-1 Ducks on Selanne's eighth of the year. Wow, that was pretty.
13:37 - CHI Penalty - Marcus Kruger, 2 min. hooking. As Lydman tries to follow up a Fowler shot, Kruger hooks and Hjalmersson slices Lydman's stick in half.
12:30 - Hiller with a big point blank save on Kane.
12:10 - Nice blocked shot by Sbisa on a Sharp one-timer.
11:17 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. hooking. Lydman gets called in front of the Ducks net.
8:54 - ANA Penalty - Luca Sbisa, 2 min. boarding. Sbisa leans into Kruger near the wall. Tough call.
7:10 - RPG line with some deft passing on the rush, but Ryan's attempt to finish is denied.
6:09 - CHICAGO GOAL - PATRICK SHARP - Sharp skates around Hiller and it denied by the right post, but the puck kicks to Toews, who taps it back to Sharp, allowing him to chip it over Hiller's shoulder. It's 2-1 Ducks now.
6:00 - Fowler elegantly takes the puck away from a charging Kane.
5:30 - Ducks continue to fire on this power play. They're outshooting Chicago 6-0.
4:50 - Beauchemin with a couple of slap shots that have been deflected just wide.
3:45 - CHI Penalty - Jonathan Toews, 2 min. holding. Toews with the free hand around Getzlaf's waist.near the wall. We'll take it.
2:13 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDREW COGLIANO - The Ducks strike again when Selanne snaps a shot that hits off former Duck Montador in front, it skitters to Cogliano, who punches it inside the right post for his fifth of the year. It's 2-0.
1:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - After giving up so many goals early in periods, this time the Ducks do it, thanks to the work of Perry and Ryan. Perry drills Hjalmarsson into the wall to pry the puck loose in the corner, getting it to Ryan, who immediately fires on net. He whacks away at his own rebound, slipping it past Crawford just before going flying over him. It's Ryan's first goal since November 3 and he's pumped up, letting out a "WHOOOOO!!!" and jumping into the glass. It's 1-0 early.
0:00 - And we're underway in this post-Thanksgiving matinee at Honda Center.
1:07 - Brad Haynes with this afternoon's national anthem.