Hawks' homecoming spoiled by Ducks in shootout

Hawks' homecoming spoiled by Ducks in shootout
February 12, 2013, 11:00 pm
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The Blackhawks finished regulation with 1:50 remaining on a power play, a 4-on-3 advantage to start overtime. They’d get another overtime power play a few minutes later.

But they couldn’t capitalize on either one, and it cost them an extra point.

Nick Leddy tallied a power-play goal and Brandon Saad had a did-it-or-didn’t-it cross goal, but the Blackhawks lost the lead late in regulation en route to a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. Corey Perry tallied the shootout winner. Saad, who got the third-shooter nod from coach Joel Quenneville, was stopped by Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth.

On the positive side, the Blackhawks got another point and still remain the league’s only team without a regulation loss.

But they were 2:40 away from claiming a regulation victory and had several man-advantage chances in overtime to collect, too. Considering the missed opportunities, it kind of felt like a loss.

“It was a tight game, they’re a good team and they battle. We don’t want to let them go with a couple minutes left,” Viktor Stalberg said. “We draw some penalties, get chances on the power play and we need to finish the game there.”

Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman got whistled for both penalties late, first for interfering with Brandon Saad and then high sticking Patrick Sharp. But despite the firepower the Blackhawks had on the ice for their power plays, they couldn’t get one through.

“We had a couple decent looks; the first one wasn’t great, the second one was better,” coach Joel Quenneville said of the power plays. “We worked hard and we weren’t our best, but certainly they deserved what they got.”

Despite not being their best, the Blackhawks nevertheless had a 2-1 lead after two periods. Bryan Bickell had a big, yet clean hit on Ryan Getzlaf in the second, which drew the ire of Ducks right wing Brad Staubitz. But Staubitz was whistled for an instigator, giving the Blackhawks a power play; Leddy scored on it 17 seconds later.

And just 28 seconds after Leddy’s goal, Saad drove the net and scored. We think. His shot hit Fasth’s back and settled around the goal line. In-house replays didn’t show anything conclusive; but it was reviewed in Toronto and deemed a good goal.

“I don't think anyone on the ice, (the Blackhawks) included, thought that there was a chance it was a goal,” Ducks wing Bobby Ryan said. “We had guys discussing plays to make off the next faceoff. It felt like it was so blatantly obvious that it didn’t go in. But I guess some of the guys here said that there was an angle, and then it came down to whether or not the net was off not whether the puck crossed the line. So, I don’t know. I haven’t seen it. You’ve got to let it go right away. It didn't end up costing us, but it could have.”

It didn’t, ultimately, because Andrew Cogliano scored with 2:40 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime and, eventually, the shootout.

“I tried to make a read off the bounce but, it was a pretty quick play,” said Crawford, who stopped 29 of 31 in regulation and overtime. “It’s pretty fortunate to get a bounce right on his stick. I don’t know. It’s just a bounce; it’s going to happen sometimes.”

The Blackhawks have had plenty of bounces go their way this early going, mainly because they earned them. They had some strong moments on Tuesday, but the power play came up empty when it needed to cash in late. Still, a point is a point, and the Blackhawks have made it a point to gather plenty.

“In Calgary we were fortunate, and tonight we were in the same boat,” Quenneville said. “It’s a tough game. I’m not making excuses but the other side has a good hockey team. That first game back you need everything going. We almost got to the finish line.”