By Chris Kuc
1:05 AM CDT, March 21, 2013
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A little more than five minutes separated the Blackhawks from a perfect four-game trip and a commanding lead in the Western Conference.
Then came two miscues and the Ducks pounced to steal a 4-2 victory over the Hawks on Wednesday night at the Honda Center in a game that lived up to its billing pitting two NHL powerhouses against each other.
"We played good enough to win," said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who scored a short-handed goal in the first period of the fast-paced, high-energy contest. "We just made a few mistakes in the last five minutes and they made us pay for it."
Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne and Sheldon Souray scored in the third to erase a 2-1 deficit and snap the Hawks' three-game winning streak. Peter Holland also tallied for the Ducks and Jonas Hiller out-dueled Corey Crawford in goal before an Anaheim franchise-record crowd of 17,610. The victory pulled the Ducks to within three points of the Hawks in the West with a game in hand.
The Hawks dropped to 24-3-3 on the season as they couldn't overcome the absences of standout forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp. Hossa missed the game after suffering an injury during Monday night's 5-2 victory over the Avalanche. The veteran is considered day to day with what a source said is a shoulder injury.
Toews and Nick Leddy scored but Crawford couldn't hold off a relentless Ducks attack in the third and suffered the loss in goal. The Ducks, who were playing without standout Corey Perry as the forward served the final contest of a four-game suspension, ran their overall points streak to 12 and won for the 13th consecutive time at home to improve to 22-3-4 overall.
"It's disappointing," Toews said. "We're not happy about it but we still did some good things. This was probably one of the highest paced, tightest games we've played.
"There's a reason why they're right up there with us in the standings. We want to prove ourselves and get the two points every time we play against a team as good as they are."
The game marked the first time in NHL history teams with points percentages above .800 met after 25 games of a season. The Hawks came in at .879 while the Ducks were second at .821.
After Holland put the Ducks up 1-0 just 1 minute 24 seconds into the game, Toews quickly answered with his second short-handed goal of the season when he raced into the offensive zone and tucked the puck past Hiller.
In the second, Leddy scored on his 22nd birthday when his shot from the point eluded a screened Hiller while the Hawks were on the power play.
Late in the third with the Hawks clinging to the lead, a slow line change sprung the Ducks and Ryan finished things off to even things 2-2. A short time later, the Hawks failed to clear the puck out of their own zone and Selanne found the back of the net for the game-winner.
"It's a tough break because I thought we were playing good up until the point they scored their second goal," said Patrick Kane, who double-shifted in Hossa's absence and had a game-high 25:21 of ice time. "It's not fun. It was a tough game for us to lose because we had the lead late. It's not something we've done this year.
"I could have been better," Kane added. "I wasn't good enough and it was the reason we lost the game."
It was the second time this season the Hawks have fallen after entering the third period with a lead and both times the Ducks were the victors.
"It was pretty exciting," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "My heart rate was up a little bit for most of the game. It looked to me just like a playoff game and we were lucky to come out on top."
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