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Blackhawks rebound, hand Ducks second loss in row

by Curtis Zupke /

ANAHEIM -- When Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp are clicking like they were Friday, not even the Western Conference-leading Anaheim Ducks can stop them.

Kane had two goals and an assist and Sharp tied a career high with four assists to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory against Anaheim at Honda Center.

The Blackhawks (31-16-2) got their second win of their seven-game road trip in front of a sellout crowd of 17,497 that included a lot of Chicago fans.

It was also the Blackhawks' second win at Honda Center this season; they won by the same 4-1 score Nov. 28.

"I don't know what it is about this building this year, but it seems like we've had some pretty -- I don't want to say 'perfect games' -- but you could probably say the perfect road game," Kane said. "Big win, for sure, against a great team, the best team in the NHL this year. We knew they were coming off a back-to-back game and three in four nights, so it was important for us to come out and have a good effort."

Sharp assisted on Kane's 24th and 25th goals, the latter with nifty work along the boards to set up a redirect by Kane in the slot at 13:25 of the third to seal the win in a game between two of the West's elite teams.

"Kane and [Brad Richards] both want the puck out there in offensive situations," Sharp said. "They both can hang on to it for an extra second longer and make plays. So I kind of take it upon myself to move my feet a little better, get to the dirty areas trying to get them the puck as much as possible. I probably am a shooter more than playmaker, but tonight, if you move the puck around and it goes in like that, we'll gladly take it."

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 21 saves.

Each team was coming off a disappointing loss; San Jose defeated Anaheim 6-3 on Thursday, and Chicago blew three one-goal leads in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

It's the second time this season the Ducks (32-12-6) have lost two straight in regulation; they also lost to the Blackhawks and Sharks in back-to-back games Nov. 28 and 29.

"I think that they outplayed us this year, and if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we're going to have to go through teams like that," Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy said of the Blackhawks. "Right now, they think they can beat us whenever they play us, and that's definitely a concern."

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau had a different take regarding the Ducks' 1-4-0 record against the Sharks and Blackhawks.

"Let's not talk like we're … Buffalo," he said.

Boudreau recognized what the Ducks were up against; Sharp called it one of the Blackhawks' best games in a while.

"You can tell how far you have to go to be the best," Boudreau said. "You can be in first place, but they turned it up, and we weren't able to handle it today. As a measuring stick, I hope this stays in our minds for a long time."

Kane's first goal, at 15:23 of the second, came on a wrist shot as he streaked down the left wing. The possession started when Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf's pass in the neutral zone hit Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa's skate.

Kane has five goals and six assists in his past five games at Honda Center. He and Sharp each has nine points in Chicago's past five games.

"I think that's the way he's been playing all year, but he seems to be getting better every night," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane. "That line had a big night for us. It was fun watching them play."

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith made it 2-0 with a close-range slap shot at 9:16 of the second. He scored as Jonathan Toews fell into Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen. Keith ended a 19-game goal drought and earned his 400th career point with the goal.

Anaheim was incensed the goal was allowed despite Toews contacting Andersen, but it was in disarray long before the goal; the Ducks were outshot 14-7 and gave the Blackhawks three power plays in the second period.

Chicago had more pep at the start, and its energy produced a 1-0 lead on Toews' first road goal since Nov. 26. Toews collected a pass by Kane through Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm's legs and beat Andersen far side on a wrist shot at 5:30 of the first.

Said Boudreau: "They make you look that bad when they're playing like that."

Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim on the power play at 10:06 of the third to make it 3-1. It was his fifth goal.

But Chicago quelled any notions of an Anaheim rally when Kane scored his second of the night 3:19 later, much to the delight of the red-clad crowd that filled much of the lower bowl at Honda Center.

"We normally have that in buildings close to Chicago," Sharp said. "It's a little different coming out West and having a lot of Hawks jerseys out there, hearing the roar when you score. It kind of filters through the team, that energy in the building, and makes you proud to be a Blackhawk."

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