It had been hyped as the biggest game the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks would play in their respective seasons. It was called a possible preview of the playoffs. Whatever you called it, the Ducks and Blackhawks gave it their all on Wednesday night, with the Ducks winning 4-2.
In all honesty, the Blackhawks might have deserved to lose this game. Their only strong period in the game was the second, with Nick Leddy’s power play goal showcasing their ability to choke off the Ducks in their own zone. It was the Blackhawks at their best, but then the wheels fell off the truck.
You can point to two major reasons for the Hawks’ third period collapse. The first and most obvious one was the absence of Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. Sharp is still on the mend and a few weeks away from returning to the team, while Hossa was deemed day-to-day after a hit by Ryan O’Byrne on Monday. The game would’ve probably been closer or won by the Hawks if they had been in the lineup.
The second reason stems from Hossa’s injury. With his spot on the top line open, coach Joel Quenneville put Patrick Kane to work for the second game in a row. Kane double shifted for the entire game, playing for 25 minutes. That was the most time on the ice for any Blackhawks player, even surpassing Duncan Keith by a less than a minute.
The Blackhawks, especially Kane, will take the next four days to rest after their four-game road trip. Perhaps, like their comeback from their first two regulation losses, they’ll use the time to regroup and bounce back with a vengeance. They’ll be waiting to avenge this loss when the Ducks roll into United Center next Friday.