Last Friday, the Blackhawks were about a minute away from falling 1-0 to the New York Islanders before they found the late equalizer. There would be no such ending on Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, who held on to that 1-0 edge.
The Blackhawks have had a nice run lately but, that’s the way it goes sometimes. They’re still in good shape in the conference/division, after the Minnesota Wild also lost. Anyway, the Blackhawks are right back at it on Friday night so let’s get to the notables from this one.
What Worked: Puck possession. Remember earlier this season when this, the Blackhawks’ bread and butter, was AWOL? Well it hasn’t been a problem for a while and it certainly wasn’t an issue on Thursday night. The Blackhawks were in the Ducks’ zone all night, keeping Jonathan Bernier busy and getting good looks, even if they misfired on some of them. Which brings us to…
What Didn’t Work: Net-front traffic. Tough to find many glitches in this one, other than the Blackhawks didn’t get a goal. A good amount of their first-period shots did come without traffic. Credit the physical Ducks for some of that. The Blackhawks got better at it in the second, but they still couldn’t break through. Coach Joel Quenneville also thought the Blackhawks may have been “looking for the perfect shot. Sometimes with a one-timer, you want to beat him with the quickness, just get it on net.”
Star of the game: Jonathan Bernier. When the Ducks were busy trying to pick fights with the Blackhawks in the first period, Bernier was busy stopping one Blackhawks shot after another. He was strong from the start, putting in an outing that looked like Cam Talbot’s when Edmonton was here a few weeks ago.
He Said It: “No, I think we both felt OK, but OK’s not going to be good enough. So, you know, we’ll work on our game and keep getting better. That’s pretty much what we can do.” Johnny Oduya on he and Niklas Hjalmarsson’s games on Thursday night.
By the Numbers:
19 – Shots by the Blackhawks in the first period. Sizeable number, but the franchise record is 27 shots (second period) by the Blackhawks on Dec. 20, 1959 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
17:36 – Time on ice for Johnny Oduya in his first game back with the Blackhawks. It was only Oduya’s second game since Jan. 17, when he re-aggravated an ankle injury.
2:54 – Shift for Jonathan Toews early in the second period, which was part penalty kill and part lengthy post-kill shift for the Blackhawks in the Ducks’ end.
13:53 – Time, in the second period, that the Ducks hit double-digit shots on goal for the game.
5 – Shutout losses for the Blackhawks this season, their first since a 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Jan. 13.