Only three teams are in the battle for last place in the NHL and all of them have 9 wins - Columbus, Anaheim and the New York Islanders. Which of these three will be the last to get to 10?
After having put together their best game of the year on Wednesday against Phoenix, the Ducks followed it up with a so-so effort against Chicago.
Jamal Mayers took advantage of Jonas Hiller in the first period. Hiller had lost sight of the puck, but Mayers did not. 1-0 at 6:37. Marian Hossa extended the lead at 1:07 of the second period.
Dave Bolland seemed destined for a goal. His first was deemed "no goal" by the referees as well as the review committee in Toronto, who believed Hiller had been interfered with before the puck crossed the line. Looking at the video, even if Hiller had not been interfered with, he could not have stopped it.
Nonetheless, Bolland got sweet justice on a power play later in the middle period. With Ryan Getzlaf in the box for holding, Bolland made quick work of the man advantage, needing just :19 seconds to score at 17:19.
By the time the game was 4-0 (Patrick Sharp placed the final dagger in the coffin at 10:18 of the third period), coach Bruce Boudreau starting relying more heavily on his fourth line. Talk about a clear indication the game was lost and let's not fatigue ourselves before heading to Winnipeg!
Ray Emery, whom the Ducks faced for the first time since letting him go as a free agent over the summer, deserved the shutout. Emery, who is supposed to be Corey Crawford's back up, has played exceptionally win, getting five wins in a row for the Hawks.
Teemu Selanne, perhaps thinking about what he wants to do in Winnipeg, put the Ducks on the board at 18:13. Too little, too late, but a good warm up for Saturday's game.
"I'll just take the win, that's good," said Emery, who made 24 saves and earned an assist on Bolland's goal. "It's fun playing for sure. I don't take anything for granted and you never know how things are going to go. If you expect something and you're not willing to work for it, you don't get it. I'm taking it one game at a time and every time I get in there I just want to do my best."
The Ducks have very little time to contemplate the loss. The hubbub surrounding Selanne's return to Winnipeg has been happening for weeks. Winnipeg was where he had his NHL start and an astounding rookie season that will likely never be surpassed. After being traded to Anaheim in February of 1996, Selanne has never been back. Until now.
What a great time to finally get that 10th win?