It was a game billed as a Clash of Titans. It was game history taught us, courtesy of Elias Sports Service that matched the two winning-est teams in the  96 year history of the NHL. In a world full of P.T. Barnum style hyperbole, it was a game that lived up to its billing.

This is about as good as NHL hockey gets during the season. Just imagine what it might be like experience a playoff series between these two teams. It doesn’t matter which team we support. There are no losers in a game like this, merely survivors.

As they’ve done 14 times this season, our Ducks hung around long enough to when their leadership, physicality and a break combined to inspire them past Chicago in the final 5.5 minutes of the game.

This was a game in which the difference was the Ducks scouting and 3 goals that came off center lane drives to the net. The first came as Peter Holland was Johnny-on-the-spot when he buried a rebound that landed on his stick about 5 feet out.

For a quick and nervous moment it appeared that Brandon Bollig had put the ‘hawks up 3-1 but the goal was disallowed when the replay showed the young cheap shot artist had kicked the puck past Jonas Hiller.

Ducks got the tying goal off a fat rebound from a Ryan Getzlaf shot that Corey Crawford  directed to Bobby Ryan trailing, who had found space opened up by Kyle Palmieri’s drive to the net, who also provided a screen.

Teemu Selanne netted the winner when Ryan Getzlaf drove through the center lane, dished to Flash who doesn’t miss wide open nets often.

Sheldon Souray took the air out of Chicago and put in under the feet of a capacity home crowd with an EN with about 19 seconds left in regulation time.

From the opening face-off to the final buzzer Ryan Getzlaf played his most energetic game of the season. That in and of itself is an incredible feat given Getzy played with the flu bug that put both Bryan Allen and Nick Bonino on the IR.

The game has had effects already as our Ducks are instantly viewed as a worthy challenge season long No. 1 rated Blackhawks. Ryan Getzlaf elevated himself from honorable mention to legitimate contender alongside Jonathon Toews and Steve Stamkos in the Hart Trophy balloting.

The Captain’s leadership example was magnified when Brandon “Cheap Shot” Bollig performed dental surgery with a vicious high stick to the mouth of  Andrew Cogliano on the face-off following Teemu’s go ahead goal.

It takes more than a few broken teeth to force lion heart Cogs out of the game. In a move that astounded fans of both teams Cogliano stayed in and took his next shift.

And there you have the hi-lights. Leadership, physicality, scouting and a little luck combined to inspire our Ducks to victory. Someone who was obviously paying attention once said, “Luck happens when hard work and opportunity collide.” As former Leaf goalie Johnny bower once said, “You have to be lucky to be good and good to be lucky.”

Our Ducks have earned their luck.

  1. yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

    Amazing game…two words come to mind…heart and passion…

    This game was overflowing with both…We knocked off the top team in the league, and we did it without Perry…Getz has become the model Captain, he has made a believer out of me…he was amazing last night. Cogs returning for his next shift after a brutal high stick was pure heart and passion…Hiller was solid… The icing on the cake was Teemue’s goal…

    I loved every minute of this game…BB and his coaching staff are amazing…Finally, heart and passion has returned.

    Looking forward to the Detroit series…After last nights game I purchased tickets to Sundays game…


    • bbdux93 says:

      A friend told me one of their co-workers tried to buy a ticket to last nights game – lowest price available – in nose bleed section = $100.00. Had they been willing to pay that price they would certainly have gotten their money’s worth – Great game.
      That said there were certainly times when our guys seemed to let down – but as has happened so often this season – they later picked it up and got the win. 🙂 ‘nough said

    • bc says:

      It would appear that Getz has matured into his talent, no U?
      This game had me thinking playoffs and wondering if any team would have much left after facing 3 of Anaheim, Chicago, St. Louis or L.A.

      A Ben Franklin for a 10 dollar ticket? I always wonder if scalpers work for the org. It’s something former Leaf owner Harold Ballard might have done. Cash is king 🙂

      • yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

        BC…He has definitely matured into the role of Captain (with BB help). It looks like the switch has been turned on. BB should be a candidate for the Adams, no question…I agree the winner in the West is going to be significantly depleted in the finals…Ballard must have had scalpers because I/we (family and friends) could never obtain tickets at a reasonable price (ticket stub price). I am certain a percentage of our season ticket holders are scalpers (eBay has many tickets available via ticket sites).

  2. czhokej says:

    What a game, I was screaming and yelling like a teenager…
    The Hawks are a good team, with skilled players, good puck support, speed, and well organized, without too many weaknesses. They cycle really well and create good scoring chances out of the cycle with quick transitions to the point. No wonder they are at the top of the league. They looked like a better team for probably 35 minutes, we outplayed them for maybe 25 minutes. They got two PPs, and the Zebras missed that terrible highsticking on Cogliano. Chicago was without Hossa, which balanced the absence of Perry. But we outshot them, outhit them, and outchanced them. On the top of it, BB continues to develop our young players, even during the most difficult times on the ice. Having two good goalies is a treasure. Teemu needed one to get his confidence back. Getzlaf is a different person this year and finally plays up to his potential. And we have depth. And we go to the net.
    For two years Randy Carlyle did not discover the importance of the net front presence. I am so glad that we have BB.
    Negatives: we have problems to defend against the cycle. Our FO% was below 50.

    • bc says:

      Getz didn’t take any FO’s to conserve energy. Was it Chicago’s speed that gave us trouble defending the cycle or have you noticed this as an ongoing issue?

      • bbdux93 says:

        My friend & I both noted – before we heard that Getz was sick – he was skating more like he did last year. Mind you I didn’t say playing like last year. For much of the game It was obvious he had to push himself and it showed most in his skating.

      • czhokej says:

        I see it more as the ongoing issue, bc. It was quite obvious in the games against the Kings and Dallas, for example (both losses). I think we could match the speed, but we get confused and disorganized, Frequently two of our players go to the same spot, chasing the puck, instead of playing the man. We have to work on open pivots, and do more pinning (?).

  3. bc says:

    Thanks cz, you always communicate well and show me what you’re seeing. Under Coach Boudreau we are intentionally giving up the points in favor of protecting the mid and low slots. We’re attempting to force the play outside into the alleys where we can muscle them off the puck.
    One thing opposing teams do to counteract this is (1) force the play to our weak side or slower less agile (Souray, Sbisa) D-men in our pairings, (2) Send two men deep on the fore check where one sets a pick, often to Fowler, (3) attack the seams between our wingers and D which is why Coach’s preach to get sticks and bodies in those passing lanes, and (4) Whenever possible move the puck in a cycle or around the perimeter or North/South in an attempt to draw one or more of our players out of position.

    We get running around and chasing from behind the play most often because teams are moving the puck, which is faster than a skater. it is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) whenever you’re trying to draw a defender out of position. Move the puck, attack the seams as it opens up. Where and when we get caught most often is the East/West puck movement.

    We gladly give up the points and perimeter in order to force the opposition to compete along the boards and in the corners where our compete level wears them down physically over the course of a game. Lame stream media that doesn’t understand what they’re seeing is falling for the cliches like “Ducks keep finding ways to win.”

    What they’re seeing but not reporting is how we setup and counter without the puck or in a word, the geometry. In our zone, we play one forward high, two forwards mid-slot and 2 D back or 1-2-2. This morphs into a 2-1-2 and 2-3 from the mid-slot back to the end boards.

    Every game has an ebb and flow during which our Ducks will get caught flat-footed. We’re reading the play but failing to react and/or reading and over-reacting which is when a guy is drawn out of position.

    Of late, despite the glorious start and 13 home game winning streak, Teemu Selanne has been quoted as saying, “We’re still not play a full 60 minutes.” I guaranty part of what Flash is talking about, and what Gabby has them working on are these parts of the game cz keeps pointing out for us. As Teemu says, “You can always get better.”

    • yougetoutwhatyouputin says:

      BB has found a way for players to accept their weaknesses and build on their strengths thereby allowing other players to fill as necessary…this is not an easy task to accomplish as very few of us are willing to say we are strong at one things and weak at another…I don’t see any selfish individuals…they are all on-board playing smart hockey…this is a team!

      • bc says:

        Definitely U. BB has skillfully organized the various skill sets management has provided. In fact some Chicago bloggers are now wondering if their ‘hawks while very skilled lack the physicality necessary to compete in the playoffs. Especially based on ‘hawks 0-1-1 record against our Ducks.
        We’re getting contributions from everybody and much of that has to do with how Gabby has organized this team system wise to how he deploys his assets.

  4. bbdux93 says:

    Thanks to U for the site with tickets at a reasonable price – I’ll pass on the info

  5. czhokej says:

    The Hawks embellished quite a bit ( for example on that interference call when Chicago player performed almost a somersault). In terms of PP time, the Hawks are just average in the league. However, there is a significant difference between Chicago PP time (177 minutes total this season) and the Ducks (only 128 minutes total). In fact, the Ducks are the last team in PP opportunities.
    In terms of penalties, we are doing quite well.

    Cogliano is now a complete player, and it’s a pleasure to watch him. I admire his courage and toughness.

    • bc says:

      Cogs is amazing. He’s like, “Excuse me while I spit out a few teeth.” Then he takes his next shift. He’s never missed a game in his 5 year career. Cogs has played in 440 consecutive games.
      It’s long overdue but mainstream press may be finally taking up the cause of league bias and/or incompetence against our Ducks.

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