Another to throw into the shoulda-would-coulda pile; a narrow loss that could have gone either way but didn’t. The Ducks never led, and if you believe in momentum you can take solace that the Ducks at least had that on their side the entire third period of a one-goal game. But it never translated to that critical equalizer.
Inevitably, this will be remembered as Teemu Selanne’s comeback game. Though he looked quick at times, The Flash had a quiet night overall: One shot on goal, no points, one bad break. With 79 seconds left, the Blackhawks got away with a blatant delay-of-game penalty when Duncan Keith deliberately elbowed the goal off its moorings as Selanne shot from close range. (Rule 63.2 says “A minor penalty shall be imposed on any player, including the goalkeeper, who delays the game by deliberately displacing a goal post from its normal position).
Instead, no penalty was called, a possible 6-on-4 advantage was nullified, and the Ducks lost to the fourth-place team in the conference standings, the type of team they need to beat if they’re to avoid a trade-deadline dismantling.
Yes, it is that dire.
Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz came out of the all-star break (though it wasn’t a break at all for Getzlaf) with another strong game, and Scott Niedermayer finished with two assists.
Jonas Hiller got the start on back-to-back nights, finished with 24 saves on 27 shots, and may have been a tad lackadaisical on Chicago’s first goal. He allowed a rebound, and Adam Burish kept hacking at it until it went through his 5-hole at 3:07.
The Ducks nearly scored during a long delayed penalty shift before it was whistled dead at 11:53, but they tied the game 1-1 a minute later. Chris Pronger shot it from the point, and Bobby Ryan deflected it past Nikolai Khabibulin. The goal was originally awarded to Pronger, and if it seems like it’s been a while since Pronger scored a goal, you’re right. January 9 was the last time, a span of eight games.
Perhaps inspired by Pronger, slumping all-star Patrick Kane responded with his first goal in the last 13 games at 16:12 with Steve Montador in the sin bin for roughing. Kane and Havlat did a great give-and-go behind the net. Hiller simply couldn’t move his neck that quickly, and Kane skated in and tucked the puck inside the left skate. Hiller coincidentally lost his stick on the sequence, but that wouldn’t have helped as much as a defender in the vicinity.
A more back-breaking goal came after the Ducks failed to capitalize on a great power-play shift that never left the offensive zone. Sharp started the rush, Toews joined in on the left wing, and Keith jumped out of the box to skate down center ice. Scott Niedermayer hustled back to check Toews, Teemu caught up with Sharp, but no one caught up with Keith. He went top-shelf past Hiller to make it 3-1, another that Jonas would like to have back.
Breaking out of his own drought, Travis Moen scored his first goal since Oct. 25 to make it 3-2 with 10 seconds left in the second period. The short-handed tally was also just his third point since Dec. 1.