The Blackhawks had a lot of the shots. They had a lot of the puck possession. They had a lot of the momentum.
They just never had the lead.
Jonathan Bernier stopped all 43 shots he faced and Corey Perry got the winner as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Blackhawks 1-0 on Thursday night. The Blackhawks' seven-game winning streak was snapped but they didn't lose any ground on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild, who lost to Tampa Bay, still lead the Blackhawks by a point.
Johnny Oduya played in his first game since the Blackhawks acquired him on Feb. 28.
It was the first time since Jan. 13 the Blackhawks were shut out (6-0 to Washington).
Considering the Blackhawks have won 12 of their last 14 games, there wasn't a sense of concern over this one. Thursday night's game, the Blackhawks' first since Sunday, looked similar to their Feb. 18 outing against Edmonton, which came off a six-day bye.
"We just said that," coach Joel Quenneville said of the similar games. "We did a lot of good things. I thought our shot, either selection or net-front presence, was a little off. When there's a hungriness around the net, we could've gotten one and who knows? It could've opened it up at that point. We had some good looks with no finish, but definitely did a lot of good things."
Neither the Blackhawks nor Quenneville thought the layoff was an issue.
"I don't know. We had chances. Whether that's just executing and getting the finish, I don't know. It could be," Duncan Keith said. "I thought we did a lot of things, that we were pretty sharp out there with our passing a puck movement. Obviously [it's] getting guys in front there or maybe getting a greasier goal, whether it's a rebound or a tip or something like that."
The Blackhawks continued their trend of strong starts, outshooting the Ducks 19-2. The difference was Bernier. The Blackhawks thought they'd scored late in the second period, with Tanner Kero near the goal line. But they didn't, and the Ducks got the go-ahead goal moments later when Perry scored his 12th of the season.
"They played pretty physical, pretty solid defensively. Bernier made a bunch of saves," said Corey Crawford, who stopped 25 of 26 in the loss. "I mean, we played well, we had good looks. We just weren't getting some bounces there."
The Blackhawks have been playing well since the start of February, and Thursday night's game was no different. They had just about everything going for them in this one. The just couldn't get one past Bernier.
"Their goalie was very good and certainly was a factor. Crow did a good job at our end, and had some decent looks as the game progressed," Quenneville said. "Scoring first in a game like that was important."