Blackhawks-Ducks: 'Bulin Wall Stands Tall in Anaheim, Defeats "Not-So Mighty"

Craig NuzzoCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2009

The Chicago Blackhawks (26-12-8) started off the second-longest road trip in franchise history last night against the Anaheim Ducks (24-22-5).

They came out with a well-deserved 3-2 victory.

The 'Hawks will play eight-straight road games, beginning in California and ending in Missouri.

It's the longest road trip on the entire NHL schedule.

With both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews scoring in the All-Star game over the weekend, it seemed to help the 'Hawks a lot more than I thought. I was worried that with Kane's ankle, it would have a negative effect on his play. That was not the story.

Adam Burish began the game with a garbage goal on a Brian Campbell slapshot. It was a great thing to see Burish scoring a goal after coming off a recently injury.

Patrick Kane also had somewhat of a garbage goal in the first period as well. Anaheim goalie, Jonas Hiller, seemed to drop his stick after a teammate ran into him, and Kane took full advantage by putting the puck in a pretty much empty netter.

Jonathan Toews scored the final goal for Chicago in the second period. After a great save my Nikolai Khabibulin, Patrick Sharp moved the puck to Duncan Keith on a great pass. That allowed Keith to set-up Toews with a great goal.

It was great seeing former '07-08 All-Star Duncan Keith playing defense again. He is such an essential asset to the entire team and the pairing of Keith and Seabrook is one of the best in the league. They made sure that the Ducks' star players didn't get too many shots on goal.

Even if the Ducks did get those shots on goal, Nikolai "'Bulin Wall" Khabibulin was there to shut them out. Khabi had some very impressive saves, while only allowing two of 38 shots to pass him. He moved very well along the paint and seemed to be very alert in the game. I was quite pleased with his play last night.

Room for improvement comes with every game, and the 'Hawks are no exception to that. During the game last night I was not at all happy with the penalty kill. They need to work on dumping the puck right away no matter what the circumstances are.

Also, a "Too Many Men on the Ice" penalty is unacceptable. Not to mention they almost had a second one that the referees did not catch.

I hope Rookie Kris Versteeg can return soon from his finger injury. He brings great excitement to the game that I miss.

The next contest will be in Los Angeles against the Kings (19-20-7). However, do not be fooled by the losing record. The Kings have gone 5-0-3 in their last eight games. In professional sports, anyone can win. 

Cristobal Huet will most likely return tomorrow night at 9:30 PM CT, given Coach Quenneville's goalie rotation.