Blackhawks vs. Ducks Preview
The Ducks, who will again be missing Ryan Getzlaf, look to win a third straight game Sunday night when they host a Blackhawks team without Jonathan Toews trying to avoid dropping its third in a row.
Getzlaf and Toews were both injured in their team's games on Tuesday, and could be out for some time.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blackhawks -118 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Ducks. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 53% of more than 60 bets for this game have been placed on the Blackhawks -118.
Getzlaf, second on Anaheim (20-17-4) with 37 points and tied for the team lead with 24 assists, took a puck to the face 4:31 into the second period against Phoenix and suffered multiple nasal fractures. The fractures were stable and non-displaced, which was a positive sign, but the six-year veteran will be sidelined indefinitely.
Toews, second on Chicago (20-16-3) with 15 goals and 33 points, injured his right shoulder after being checked hard into the boards in the first period against St. Louis. He is expected to be out two weeks.
Obviously this isn't a preferable situation for either team, but Anaheim is persevering.
The Ducks went on to beat the Coyotes 3-1, and then defeated Philadelphia 5-2 on New Year's Eve. Jason Blake and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky each had two goals Friday, while Bobby Ryan scored his 15th.
"It helps with some of your younger players, knowing that they can win without Getzy,'' coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's a big part of our hockey club, and he's done a lot in a very short period of time in the NHL. Unfortunately, he's injured, and we need a lot of people to step up.''
Matt Beleskey replaced Getzlaf at left wing on the Ducks' No. 1 line with Ryan and Corey Perry, and the second line of Blake, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu accounted for two goals and four assists.
"It's a big hole to fill, that's for sure. But there's some guys in this room who can step up and contribute at different times,'' Perry said. "That line with Blake, Selanne and Koivu played really well and created a lot of good things for us. And that's what we need.''
The Blackhawks need some players to step up in Toews' absence.
Chicago ended up losing to the Blues 3-1, and then lost at home to San Jose 5-3 on Thursday. The Blackhawks, winners of four in a row prior to Toews' injury, allowed the Sharks to score two unanswered third-period goals.
Toews is also one of Chicago's top penalty killers, and the team struggled short-handed Thursday, yielding two power-play goals. The Blackhawks had given up just two power-play goals in their previous five games.
"We have to get back on track," Chicago's Tomas Kopecky said. "We have to play like we did in those four games we were winning when we kept things simple and stayed out of the box. That's how we were successful, so we need to get back to that."
Getting Corey Crawford back also could help.
Crawford has sat out the last three games because of the flu, but is expected to start in Anaheim. Crawford has posted a 1.34 goals-against average in winning his last three starts, and has been in net for both games against the Ducks this season, stopping 50 of 53 shots in a pair of victories.
Anaheim's Jonas Hiller, who made 35 saves Friday, has also been in goal for both games in this series, recording a 3.69 GAA.