Thursday, May 21, 2015

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks vs. Ducks 2-1
Game 3 Loss Recap

Man In The Box
by Patrick Stankus

Just 42 hours or so after their marathon Game 2 ended, the Blackhawks and Ducks found themselves back on the ice for Game 3 of their series. With the series shifting to Chicago, a lot of emphasis was placed on the importance of the matchups and the advantage shifting towards the Hawks. And as luck would so have it, we were treated to a lineup surprise from Quenneville which we'll get to a little later on.

As the game got underway, it was pretty apparent that the Ducks were doing their best to hand this game to the Hawks on a silver platter. The sloppy, careless play by the Ducks gave the Hawks two power play opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game. However, what is one of the worst kept secrets, the 1st power play was lifeless, while the second one was negated by a Marian Hossa holding penalty just after a minute of power play time. After pissing away the power play chances, the Ducks used theirs to their advantage and cashed in on a Patrick Maroon redirect past Crawford to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Just a couple minutes later, the Ducks would again find themselves in the penalty box as Jakob Silfverberg took a 4 minute high sticking penalty. Unable to capitalize on any of these opportunities, the Hawks handed some momentum to the Ducks. With just under a minute remaining in the period, Patrick Kane made an appearance and beat Andersen with a sick backhander to tie the game at one. After 20 minutes of play, that's where we'd stand on the scoreboard.

The second period appeared to get underway with the Blackhawks hitting the snooze button on the intermission horn. Anaheim dominated the play early on in the period, but were unable to get a puck past Crawford to increase their lead. As the period went on, the Hawks seemed to find their legs, and at least looked to be drawing even with the Ducks. One thing was clear, both teams looked like they were laboring from fatigue. Unlike the first period, the play in the second period wasn't as sloppy, and that showed up on the scoresheet as no penalties were called. Just when it looked like the game would head into the 2nd intermission tied, Simon Despres one-timed a shot from the left circle that beat Crawford to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead after two periods.

As was the case with the first period, the third period saw sloppy play dictate the play of the game early on. Just past the 5 minute mark, the Blackhawks were handed another power play chance, but as was the case with the first four, couldn't generate anything. For the most part of the third period, the Hawks had dominated the play and had the Ducks on their heels, but Andersen stood on his head down the stretch, not to mention, stopped Patrick Kane on a mini breakaway with 8 seconds left to preserve a 2-1 win for the Ducks, and give them a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Good
- Frederik Andersen was fantastic for the Ducks in net. In all he stopped 27 of 28 shots, flashing the leather several times.
- Patrick Kane had the lone Hawks goal, but despite that he had a fairly good game. He was generating chances, which for Patrick Kane is key, and had a bit of jump to his step. Hopefully Kane can build on this game for Game 4 on Saturday.
- Jonathan Toews was the only Hawks center interested in winning draws tonight. In the end he was 78% at the dot.

The Bad
- In their one opportunity to kill off a penalty, the penalty kill wasn't able to come through when needed. At least they weren't as bad as that other group of special teamers.
- Shaw (36%), Richards (25%), and Desjardins (31%) all struggled at the dot. You can figure out why I put Shaw first on this list.
- The Ducks blocked 27 shots tonight. Its nice to know the Hawks were finding the open shooting lanes.
- Patrick Kane was hit hard into the boards, and was slow to get up. It caused everyone to hold their breath for a moment or two.

The Ugly
- WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT LINEUP???!!! In what world does this appeal to you? Lets scratch Vermette and Teravainen in favor of Versteeg and Nordstrom. I think I have a concussion from banging my head off the wall.
- Andrew Shaw has been effective as a winger on the 4th line, so what the hell, lets move him to center, where everyone knows, he struggles. Bravo.
- Lets pull Corey Crawford with two minutes remaining, and use KRIS VERSTEEG as the extra attacker. I literally could not stop laughing when I saw this.
- No one on the "4th line" had more than 9:20 of ice time, and that was Desjardins.
- Oh what a night for the power play. Talk about a momentum killer. At the end of the night the power play was a stellar 0 for 5. To modify a line from Major League; And for the Blackhawks 5 power plays and one shot. That's all they got? One goddamn shot?!
- Pray to God it doesn't happen, but you know its coming.........The return of Gorilla Salad.


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