ANAHEIM -- The Chicago Blackhawks’ mothers saw a great finish but only one of their sons could dent the back of the net in their 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
And neither fans nor mothers -- on the West Coast for the teams' first-ever “Moms' Trip” -- should be fooled by the shot total or the dominant third period by the visitors. This game was lost in the first two periods, when the Hawks offense was asleep.
“If you play like that in the third you’ll get rewarded but that’s the way we have to start games and play throughout games,” coach Joel Quenenville said afterwards. “We have to find a way to generate more scoring chances in the first 40 [minutes] than we did tonight.”
The Hawks had 21 shots through two periods but only a handful were worthy chances. In the third period they outshot the Ducks 19-2 as Jonas Hiller was on his game in net, and so it was too little too late.
“We need to start rolling at the start of the game, not wait until the end of game,” Dave Bolland simply stated.
Bolland led the Hawks with six shots on net but it was his deflection of a Viktor Stalberg chance on an empty net try that had Stalberg hanging his head in his locker stall.
“It’s going into an empty net and somehow [Bolland] gets his stick on it and bounces over,” Stalberg explained. “Could try that a million more times, it probably goes straight into the net so hate to say bad luck but it’s probably one of those plays that’s just bad luck.”
Relying on luck in the first place is always a problem, so is going 0-3 since Jonathan Toews left the lineup. He might play on Monday.
“We have to find a way to get points out of these games no matter who is in the lineup,” Quenneville said in response to that 0-3 mark without his captain.
Quenneville knows all too well about three-point nights, and the Hawks haven’t had enough of them. So many close games are played in the NHL, the Hawks are just 8-8 in one goal, regulation games. The Ducks are 12-5.
“We talked about it this morning,” Patrick Kane said. “Every game is pretty much a four-point game so these are tough ones to give up. Every game from here on out is going to be a must win game I think.”
Maybe not must win but “must get at least a point” would suffice.
Jack Skille was denied on a chance in the third as he tried to slam one home standing to the right of the net while Jonas Hiller was down on the ice. Hiller got his glove on the attempt at the last second nearly going back into the net with it.
“That’s one of those ones I’ll probably be seeing in my dreams tonight,” Skille said. “Just wishing maybe I shot it earlier or tried to get it upstairs faster.”
Bolland on deflecting the puck away on the empty net chance for Viktor Stalberg: “It just deflected off my stick. It just went off my stick.”
Jake Dowell played 8:01 for the game but none of it in the third period. He said he was benched. Joel Quenneville did not expand on why.
The Hawks outshot the Ducks 40-18, that’s the second best shot differential of the season -- they outshot Edmonton 47-18 in a victory in November.
Patrick Kane has had a quiet return to the lineup since missing time with an ankle injury. He’s had a total of six shots on net in three games, including just two of the Hawks 40 against Anaheim.
“I guess I’m still getting back into it but I definitely have to produce,” he said.
The Hawks won only 36 percent of their faceoffs as they continue to struggle in that category without Jonathan Toews. Patrick Sharp won just three of 14 on Sunday. Including the game which Toews left last Tuesday in St. Louis, the Hawks have won just 67 of 163 faceoffs, good for a 41 percent winning percentage.