ANAHEIM, Calif. – Good teams have been bringing out the best in the Anaheim Ducks. The Chicago Blackhawks certainly did Friday.
Teemu Selanne had two power-play goals, defenceman Nick Boynton also scored with the man advantage and Jean-Sebastien Giguere had his first shutout of the season, leading the Ducks to a 3-0 victory that snapped Chicago’s eight-game winning streak.
“Actually, our last four or five games have been a big measuring stick for us,” Ryan Getzlaf said. “We’ve played a lot of good teams and proved that we could skate with them.”
Giguere made 28 saves in his 32nd career shutout, continually frustrating a high-powered offence that outscored its opponents 34-13 during the streak, which fell one game short of tying the franchise record set last December.
“We played a pretty solid game, and that’s what we were looking for,” Selanne said. “Everybody did their jobs, and that’s what it takes. We got a good performance from everybody. And of course, when your goalie’s your best player, it gives you a chance to win every night.”
The Blackhawks, who tied a club record with three short-handed goals Wednesday night in a 7-2 win at San Jose, came in with the NHL’s best goals-against average (2.13) and the league’s second-best penalty-killing percentage (85.5). But the Ducks scored on three consecutive power plays after Chicago killed off the first one.
“They’ve been playing really well. We didn’t really talk about it before the game, but I could feel guys were really focused today,” Giguere said. “This is the type of effort we need to beat those good teams, but we always need a consistent effort like that. Hopefully we’re a better team now because of all those losses we’ve had.”
Selanne converted Corey Perry’s pass through the crease 42 seconds before the first intermission while Duncan Keith was serving a slashing penalty. The assist extended Perry’s point streak to 17 games, tying the club record Selanne set during the 1998-99 season.
“We had a big win in San Jose, but we didn’t get back to what made us successful in that game – and that is hard work and playing as a team,” Chicago centre John Madden said. “We were a little soft out there, myself included. We gave up three power play goals, and we have to find a way to stop that.”
The Ducks went back on the power play at 5:53 of the second period, when Brent Sopel was sent off for hooking moments after Giguere made a big save against Andrew Ladd. Selanne made it 2-0 with just 3 seconds left on the penalty, knocking in a rebound for his 14th goal this season after Huet stopped Getzlaf’s short backhander from a sharp angle.
“Those are the things that are momentum swings in the game,” Carlyle said of Giguere’s save on Ladd. “It can be a power play, or a penalty kill, or a big body check – or a big stop from your goalie. And we got NHL-quality goaltending from Giguere today.
“You see a guy that two weeks ago didn’t have the confidence that he could stop the puck. And now he’s playing like we expect him to play and how he’s been playing for a number of years here. It’s a part of confidence and part of the player making the sacrifices.”
Boynton made it 3-0 at 10:26 of the second with his first goal of the season, beating Cristobal Huet through a screen with a one-timer from 50 feet while Dustin Byfuglien was off for goalie interference.
“They deserve a lot of credit,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Teams are ready for us and they know where we’re at. They made a couple of decent plays and got some fortunate bounces. But at the same time, their power play was working.”
The Blackhawks, who started the day two points behind San Jose for the league’s best record, were shut out for only the second time this season. The victory was Anaheim’s third in a row, marking Giguere’s first three-game winning streak since last December.
“It solidifies your confidence level,” Carlyle said. “I mean, it’s not like we’re out of the woods by any means, but we feel a lot better about ourselves. I don’t know if we had to play a perfect game to beat Chicago, but we had to play a game designed to give us an equal chance – with a commitment to skating and executing.”
NOTES: Anaheim is 9 for 20 on the power play over its last five games, after going 2 for 18 in the previous four contests. … The Ducks are 8-2-4 on the day after Thanksgiving, and 4-1-0 against the Blackhawks under those circumstances – including a 1-0 win last year when Jonas Hiller made 26 saves and Getzlaf scored against Huet. … Chicago concludes its six-game road trip Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings, the team Huet made his NHL debut with in February 2003.