Ducks look to continue strong start at home vs. Blackhawks
Dominating at home thus far, the Anaheim Ducks will look to further exploit their home-ice advantage when they play host to the reeling Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.
The Ducks are 6-1-0 in their own building this season, tied for most home victories in the NHL. Of the NHL's five six-win teams at home, the Ducks have the second-best winning percentage behind the Boston Bruins who are 6-0-1.
Anaheim's latest home triumph under new head coach Dallas Eakins came Friday when they upended the surging Vancouver Canucks 2-1 in overtime. The Canucks entered that one with eight victories in their previous 10 games and 22 goals in their previous four contests.
Slow starts have plagued the Ducks in their defeats and the issue even showed up in Friday's victory with the Canucks taking 19 first-period shots to five for the Ducks. Anaheim goalie John Gibson was up for the challenge, finishing the night with 39 saves.
"We need to start on time, that's our focus right now," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against the Canucks. "Coming out of that one, that's our mentality going into Sunday. We gotta start starting games on time. We are doing too much in the first period that is uncharacteristic of our group right now."
The Blackhawks' issues run deeper. Chicago has lost six times in their past seven games, including a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. Jonathan Toews tied it with 1:39 remaining, but the Kings' Drew Doughty won it with 16.6 seconds remaining in the extra period.
Most frustrating for the Blackhawks is their inability to get into a flow. Extended stretches of solid play have been hard to come by.
"Whenever we seem to get something, we let it go and take penalties and it's just frustrating," Toews said, according to nhl.com. "Nothing seems to be consistent right now."
Goalie Corey Crawford did what he could Saturday stopping 40 Kings shots, despite missing a five-minute stretch of the game when he left after taking a puck off his mask.
"I think the ref just thought I was dazed or something," Crawford said. "It was his call. I was able to go back in."
Crawford, who did not start in goal in either of the Blackhawks' previous two games, is just 1-4-1 and it is possible that Robin Lehner gets the call in goal Sunday.
Of note for Chicago in the defeat was that it marked the debut of 19-year-old defenseman Adam Boqvist. The No. 8 overall selection in the 2018 draft had one shot on goal and three hits in 15:38 on the ice.
Boqvist was on the ice in the first period when Dominik Kubalik scored on the power play, a goal that ended Chicago's 0-for-21 drought with a man advantage.
The Blackhawks earned a 4-3 victory at Anaheim in March of last season. The teams split a pair of games in Chicago. The Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in both victories over the Ducks last season.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 3, 2019