Ducks gaining edge by blocking plenty of Hawks shots


Ducks gaining edge by blocking plenty of Hawks shots

There were a few numbers that jumped out in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

The power play’s 0-for outing was one of those numbers, but we’ve been through that extensively. The other one is the blocked shots: the Ducks had 27 of them. From the Ducks’ perspective, they were willing to sacrifice and keep Frederik Andersen from seeing a good deal of shot. On the Blackhawks’ side it showed that, despite scoring with traffic and ugly goals in Game 2, they went back to the outside in Game 3.

Either the Blackhawks got away from from what worked for them on Thursday or the Ducksprevented them from getting in Andersen’s comfort zone. Either way, the Blackhawks weren’t as up close as they could have been.

“I think last night played a little too much on the perimeter, trying to make too many plays,” Brandon Saad said. “I think when we delay the play, wait to find the perfect shot, they get a chance to get in the lane. The more we force it to the net, make quick plays, it's going to be to our advantage.”

[MORE: Vermette, Teuvo discuss benching in Game 3]

The Blackhawks have had even-strength, goal-scoring issues thus far in this series. They have just three in three games; they have just five goals total, the other two being on the power play.

“They're playing great [defensive] zone coverage, blocking shots. It just means we've got to battle a little bit harder,” Andrew Shaw said. “Get pucks in the net, find ways, get traffic there as well [and] we're going to have those opportunities.”

Cam Fowler led the Ducks with five blocked shots on Thursday night. Clayton Stoner and Francois Beauchemin each had four. The Ducks, as a team, have 215 blocked shots; 84 of those have come in three games vs. the Blackhawks. Again, it’s a combination of the Ducks’ throwing bodies in front of Blackhawks shots, too many of which are coming from too far out.

“We've always done it here,” said Stoner. “It's kind of a culture around here that everybody sacrifices, whether you're the top player or a fourth-line guy. Doesn't really matter, everybody is willing to sacrifice.”

[MORE: Quenneville non-committal on Blackhawks using TVR]

One of the challenges with the Ducks is their size. They’re going to be physical. They’re also going to do everything possible to keep the Blackhawks from getting inAndersen’s way. For two of three games, the Blackhawks haven’t gotten to the net enough. Their perimeter game was too prevalent and ineffective in Game 3. The Ducks have the blocks to prove it.

“Not only do we have to get in front of [Andersen] and bang in rebounds, they're blocking shots, playing a good defensive game in front of him. On top of a great goaltender, that's a tough team to score on,” Saad said. “You see where we have stints of it; I think in Game 2 with Shawzy in front of the net, Kruger in front of the net. We have to get more competitive in front of the net to bang in rebounds.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: