ANAHEIM, Calif. – In less than a week, the Blackhawks will once again be manning a full team, playing games that mean something. In one of their last that had no bearing on the standings, the Blackhawks played better, but didn’t get the result.
Corey Perry scored his 19th of the season and Chris Wagner also scored as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Blackhawks 4-0 on Thursday night.
Michal Rozsival suffered an upper-body after Nick Ritchie punched him six minutes into the third period (Rozsival had crosschecked Ritchie a few moments prior to that). Ritchie was assessed a match penalty. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll know more about Rozsival’s situation on Friday. Quenneville said Andrew Desjardins also suffered a lower-body injury and is day-to-day.
The Blackhawks were missing a few veterans, resting Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson (who’s still back in Chicago). But unlike Tuesday’s game in Colorado, the Blackhawks played a much better overall game on Thursday. They just couldn’t beat John Gibson, who stopped all 37 shots he saw.
“We didn’t get the results we got in Colorado. We were fortunate to get a point [there],” Quenneville said. “Today we played alright. We out-chanced them but they were opportunistic on their chances."
Ryan Hartman took a nasty slash to his right arm from Perry late in the first period but he returned to finish the game.
“Just caught a nerve there. I’m alright,” said Hartman, who wouldn’t say this game was better than the Blackhawks’ outing against the Avalanche, but “different.”
“Just different all around. We couldn’t find the net,” he said. “We were outshooting them for a bit. Gibson’s a good goalie, he had a good game. But I don’t know. We didn’t get very many pucks in at their blue line, we let them dictate the play a lot. So not a great game all around.”
The Ducks, who were playing with a fuller lineup and looking to clinch the Pacific Division (which they did with this victory), had the answers. Perry was wide open for his goal, a power-play effort, to put the Ducks up 1-0 about seven minutes into the first period. Wagner added his late in the second period.
Ryan Kesler added his 22nd goal of the season early in the third and Rickard Rakell scored his 33rd goal late in regulation.
The Blackhawks will soon be starting their postseason schedule. These last few are tough in terms of getting up for them, especially with some players sitting. But the Blackhawks, regardless of lineup on Saturday, would like to close out their regular season the right way.
“I thought for the most part a lot of guys had some good shifts in here and we had chances to score. Would have been nice to capitalize on a few, couple tough breaks, pucks are laying there, goalie made some good saves,” Patrick Kane said. “You kind of live and learn from every game, try to get better and learn from this and use it to look forward for our next one.”