ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Chicago Blackhawks were nearly perfect when they led after two periods. Only one team had marred their record in that category.
That team did it again on Wednesday night.
Nick Leddy scored on his 22nd birthday but the Anaheim Ducks scored the tying and go-ahead goals within 64 seconds of each other late in the third period to upend the Blackhawks 4-2 at the Honda Center. The Ducks snapped the Blackhawks’ three-game winning streak while running their own home victory streak to a franchise-best 13 games. The Ducks, who are now within three points of the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks, haven’t lost in regulation since Feb 25.
It was the only blemish on what was otherwise a very successful road trip for the Blackhawks, who went 3-0-1 and kept the game in (gasp) perspective.
[WATCH: Coach Q reflects on road trip]
“It’s frustrating, considering we thought we were looking at a 3-1 lead at one point [on Brandon Bollig’s disallowed goal]. Even at 2-1 we have to not let that be a momentum breaker for us and keep working, keep doing the right things,” said Jonathan Toews, who tallied a short-handed goal in the first. “We played good enough to win. We just made a few mistakes in the last five minutes and they made us pay for it.”
The Blackhawks were 17-0-1 when leading after two periods entering Wednesday’s game. That one came from the Ducks, who tied the Blackhawks late in regulation then won in a shootout on Feb. 12 in Chicago. The Ducks threw a one in that middle slot on Wednesday, capitalizing on Blackhawks’ mistakes in the waning minutes. Bobby Ryan scored on a Ryan Getzlaf rebound to tie it with 5:27 remaining in regulation, and the ageless Teemu Selanne scored the game-winner 64 seconds later.
Bollig and the Blackhawks thought they had a 3-1 lead on what first appeared to be the fourth-liner’s first goal of the season. But replays showed it was clearly a distinct kicking motion from Bollig’s right foot, nullifying the goal. Still, the Blackhawks had chances. They just couldn’t capitalize.
Daniel Carcillo dressed for the first time in three games and started on the top line, but played just 2:26. Regarding the lack of playing time, coach Joel Quenneville said “the last game we liked the rotation, thought the way the rotation was there with [Patrick Kane] getting more [ice time] than anyone else was comparable to the last couple of games.”
Indeed, Kane once again had the most ice time of any of the Blackhawks, logging 25:21. Duncan Keith was next at 24:51. Kane said he was fine – Quenneville said Kane answered the same every time he asked if the right wing was OK. Kane took Wednesday’s outing, especially his own performance, hard.
“I could’ve been better tonight. Obviously I wasn’t good enough and was the reason we lost the game,” said Kane. “I was fine [energy-wise]. But I think it’ll be nice to get a break for me. Hopefully we can get some injuries resolved and come back with a better game next game.”
The Blackhawks will have four days before their next game, a Monday tilt against the Los Angeles Kings in Chicago. They’ll rest, regroup and reconvene, hopefully with at least Marian Hossa back in the lineup. Quenneville was “hopeful” he’d be ready for Monday. Either way, the Blackhawks will take what they did right and clean up what they did wrong.
“We’re not happy about it, but we still did some good things,” Toews said. “So far this season, that was probably one of the [fastest]-paced games we played and there’s a reason why they’re up there with us in the standings. Obviously we want to prove ourselves and get the two points every time we play against a team as good as they are.
“We made some mistakes,” Toews said. “It’s something we’ll learn from and we’ll move on and get over it.”