Blackhawks stand tall and end Anaheim`s win streak - Dallas News |

Blackhawks stand tall and end Anaheim`s win streak

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

In a battle of two Western Conference heavyweights the Blackhawks claimed a 4-2 win over Anaheim.

The Ducks had won eight in a row and 18 of their last 19 coming into Friday night's contest. They also owned a five game win streak over Chicago.

During the game, the Blackhawks controlled the majority of play and if not for a brain cramp and a soft goal the Ducks could have been shutout.

Sometimes the importance of a game in January can be overstated. Every contest counts for the same amount of points, but that said this was a big win for the Hawks.

January hasn't been a great months so far.

Although playing well in their last game versus Colorado the Hawks still came up short. Versus Anaheim, Chicago was on offense for much of the night and out shot the visitor 35-21.

The Blackhawks controlled the pace and pretty much all aspects of the match until just over six minutes to go in the final period. Then Niklas Hjalmarsson, who had a nice game otherwise, attempted a careless pass near the Ducks blue line and it was costly.

Ryan Getzlaf picked off the pass and skated in on a three on one, he made no mistake and scored to break up the shutout. Then 53 seconds later Kyle Palmieri let a harmless, long wrist shot go and it went between the legs of Corey Crawford. A mistake, then a bad goal and with 5:20 to go Anaheim trailed 3-2.

As has been the case in the past it was looking like the Blackhawks would be snake bit against the Ducks.

Fortunately, for the home side Crawford made a few good saves earlier in the period before he allowed the clunker.

The Hawks were then able to tighten things up, and when Marian Hossa scored his second of the night into an empty net, the Ducks win streak was over. Hossa was in overdrive the entire game and led all players with eight shots on goal.

Anaheim was dominated for much of the contest, but Jonas Hiller was solid.

The Ducks goaltender kept his team in the match and as it turned out the Blackhawk who has seen his ice time dwindle of late, Bryan Bickell, ended up with the winning tally.

Almost as important as scoring a big goal was that Bickell seemed to be moving better and was more involved. That could be a good sign for him and the team. If Bickell could regain most of his postseason form the Blackhawks would be a better club,

The other goal scorer for Chicago was Kris Versteeg who had a solid game. Unfortunately, Versteeg was involved in a collision with Bickell behind the Anaheim goal as time expired in the middle frame. Versteeg suffered an upper body injury and was not available in the third period.

Chicago fans should be hoping Versteeg didn't sustain a concussion, he has been playing well and a solid third line is very useful.

In post game comments Joel Quenneville mentioned Versteeg would be further evaluated today and was listed as game to game.

The Blackhawks proved they can beat the Ducks and dictated play. The sore point moving forward is the power play. It hasn't looked good over the past two games, striking out in the last 10 attempts.

Fortunately for the Hawks, Hossa's first goal came while shorthanded so that lessened some of the sting of the dismal power play.

The Blackhawks will look to put together another strong performance during Sunday's matinee. The Boston Bruins will be the guest as this will be a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup Final.

Al's Shots

It remains to be seen whether Versteeg will be able to dress on Sunday. If not, Quenneville has two choices. Either Sheldon Brookbank will play wing or someone from the IceHogs will be brought up. My guess is that someone could be Jeremy Morin.

Speaking of the IceHogs, they will be in Rosemont tonight to face the Chicago Wolves. I am looking forward to catching the game in person and getting a good look at some of the Hawk prospects. I will have some thoughts in my next article.

You can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia and I will be back on Monday morning.

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