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'Hawks lose 3rd straight as Ducks prevail in shootout

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Nearly a week ago, the Chicago Blackhawks were one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having won six straight games.

But in the six days since, little is going right for the defending Stanley Cup champions, including dropping a season-high third consecutive game Friday, as the Anaheim Ducks captured a 3-2 shootout win at the United Center.

Center Kyle Palmieri's goal in the shootout was the deciding factor, complementing center and teammate Nick Bonino's shootout goal just moments earlier.

"I thought, for lack of a better word, the intensity picked up as the game went on," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It was sort of like a chess match early on."

Chicago (20-6-5) could muster only one shootout goal by captain and center Jonathan Toews. Right wings Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp both missed on their chances for the Blackhawks.

"A lot of the wins we've had lately, especially on that road trip (went 6-1 in a late November stint away from home), were close games," Toews said. "We've found ways to win whether it was protecting a close game where we had the lead or coming back from a goal or two.

"The last few games, those bounces haven't gone our way so we'll keep improving but not overreact to the result just because it's not what we want. We'll keep working and we'll get it soon enough."

Anaheim (19-7-5) snapped a two-game losing streak (both games in overtime) and losses in three of their previous four. After starting the season with wins in 15 of their first 19 games, the Ducks have slumped. Even with the win, they've only won four of their last 12 games.

The loss was the first for rookie Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta, who won his first two previous starts.

Anaheim continued its dominance over Chicago, winning the fifth straight meeting between the two teams dating back to Feb. 26, 2012.

Both teams wasted little time getting on the board.

Anaheim struck first when right winger Corey Perry scored his 17th goal of the season -- and fourth in as many games -- at 3:20 of the first period.

But 45 seconds later, the Blackhawks promptly tied it on right winger Ben Smith's fourth goal of the season, pushing the puck past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.

Ducks center and captain Ryan Getzlaf put Anaheim ahead 2-1 when his 40-foot power-play slap shot slowly trickled through Raanta's legs and into the net at 10:05 of the second period.

That goal especially drew the ire of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

"Our penalty kill?" Quenneville said. "I thought that would be the end of it, that's when we hit rock bottom, when they scored with one second to go, one power play when it's been a disaster and I think we can only go from there, straight up."

Not only was it Getzlaf's 15th goal of the season, it also extended his current points streak to 10 consecutive games (5-7-12). Getzlaf has also scored points in each of his last 16 appearances (not consecutive games).

The Blackhawks tied the score at 2 at 17:48 of the second period on their own power-play goal by right winger Kris Versteeg, his fourth goal of the season.

"It was back and forth, a lot of great chances by both teams," Perry said of the overall game. "It was a tight defensive game. I think there was under 25 shots for both teams. Those are games that you kind of have to buckle down on defense and be ready to play."

Raanta stopped 24 of Anaheim's 26 shots and Hiller stopped 23 of Chicago's 25 shots.

Anaheim appeared to have won the game at 3:19 of overtime, but a goal by defenseman Mark Fistric was disallowed by officials.

About a minute later, Chicago left winger Brandon Saad was taken down hard on a play in front of the Ducks' net, which likely should have resulted in a penalty shot, but no penalty was called.

NOTES: There was some good news despite the loss. The Blackhawks continue to lead the NHL in points (45 through 31 games). ... Attendance was 21,586. ... Chicago C Andrew Sharp missed the game with a lower-body injury. ... The Blackhawks announced Friday that they acquired F Brandon Mashinter from the New York Rangers for F Kyle Beach. Mashinter was assigned to the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate in Rockford, Ill. ... The Blackhawks host the Florida Panthers on Sunday before heading back to Dallas on Tuesday to play the Stars for the third time in less than two weeks (and for the fourth time this season already). Chicago leads that series 2-1-0. ... LW Emerson Etem and C David Steckel reported to the Ducks on Friday after being called up from Norfolk (Va.) of the AHL on Thursday. ... The Ducks play at St. Louis against the Blues on Saturday before returning home for a three-game homestand.
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