The Ducks had to do all the little things — and all the big things — to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, owners of the Western Conference’s best record, on the road Sunday.
After hanging on for 26 scoreless minutes, both areas of the game caught up with the Ducks.
“We had a couple opportunities on the power play,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “In games like this, that can make a world of difference. We had our fair share of chances. We had lots of 2-on-1s, we got scoring opportunities, but we hit posts or their goaltender made some big stops.”
“We didn’t do enough to force ‘em. A couple 2-on-1s, we just skated right in. We didn’t change the angle of the puck.”
Petteri Nokelainen scored twice in less than two minutes of the third period to salvage a more respectable final score. But Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi was otherwise invincible against the Ducks, stopping 22 of 24.
Blackhawks forwards Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer scored on Jean-Sebastien Giguere (23 saves) to put Chicago up 2-0 going into the final period. Then Marian Hossa did the biggest damage early in the third, scoring at even strength at 1:14, and again on a power play at 3:41, to effectively put the game away.
“I thought we did come out and play sort of the type of game we have to play in here … we were skating, we were making simple plays,” Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. “We had a couple chances; if those go in it’s a different game. They capitalized on theirs and it started to pile on at the end. It’s gone this way for us a fair number of times before this year.”
Sheldon Brookbank and Evgeny Artyukhin collected the assists on both goals for the Ducks (16-19-7), who will try to shake a three-game losing streak against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday in Anaheim.