ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Blackhawks weren’t in the best spot entering Friday’s game, coming off two consecutive losses and minus captain Jonathan Toews, sidelined by an upper-body injury.
Still, the Blackhawks have always done well against the Anaheim Ducks in this Black Friday matchup, regardless of who’s been part of their lineup. And with everyone needing to do a little more to get a victory in Toews’ absence, everyone did.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist and Ryan Hartman scored the game winner as the Blackhawks held off the Ducks 3-2 on Friday afternoon. The Blackhawks are now 3-3-0 on this Circus Trip, which concludes Saturday night against the Los Angeles Kings.
Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 36 shots for his 12th career victory against the Ducks. Artem Anisimov scored his ninth goal of the season and Brent Seabrook had two assists. This game has been in the Blackhawks’ favor for some time now; since the 2010 season, the Blackhawks are 5-0 against the Ducks on Black Friday.
“For whatever reason we’ve had a little success in this building the last few years,” Duncan Keith said. “If you go back further, we didn’t, so it’s a nice change.”
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Still, the Blackhawks may have been in a tougher situation in this one with Toews out. The second line – perhaps it was the top line today – of Artemi Panarin, Anisimov and Kane were expected to do that much more today and they performed well.
“I think for us, we just wanted to work hard, get pucks back, try to create,” Kane said. “We got a big goal there early off a faceoff in our end, scored on the power play and had some other chances. Today felt a little better. We had some more looks and got our chemistry back a little bit.”
The Blackhawks also got a big goal from Hartman, who scored after Marcus Kruger forced a turnover. At the time Hartman gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead but the Ducks would score 10 seconds after that goal (Nick Ritchie) and add a Jakob Silfverberg goal about nine minutes into the third. But the Blackhawks held off the Ducks, who also had a goal waved off in the third – replay confirmed Ondrej Kase batted the puck off his glove.
“[They had] quality at the end but I thought we did a pretty good job of not giving up the high-percentage shots down the middle,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “With as many face-offs as they won today, I thought we did a pretty good job of eliminating the quality.”
The Blackhawks could get Toews back against the Kings but that’s not certain. Either way, they’d like to finish with a victory and another successful Circus Trip. They needed to win today to get a chance at that, and in the captain’s absence, they got the all-around game they needed.
“That was a great game. Lot of pace to our game and making plays again today,” Crawford said. “Our D have been unreal; our D doesn’t get enough credit the way it battles in the corner, good sticks and get it up to our forwards. They do much out there to get, not just defense, but get it going on offense. Our top guys are pretty good at finishing off.”