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The upstart Blackhawks are still learning what it takes to win, and facing a team that raised the Stanley Cup last season gave them a prime example of how to go about it.
But it was a hard lesson learned. Despite being outshot 42-22, the defending champion Anaheim Ducks came away with a hard-fought 5-3 victory Friday night at the United Center, handing the Hawks their third straight defeat."Our effort was pretty good," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We had a lot of shots and a lot of good chances to score, but we didn't get the two points, and that's really what matters."
The Hawks wasted little time taking the lead when Jonathan Toews scored a power-play goal just 1 minute 7 seconds into the game. With Francois Beauchemin sent off for slashing, Toews picked up a rebound of a Dustin Byfuglien slap shot and put it past Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for his 11th of the season. Byfuglien and Patrick Kane picked up assists. It was Kane's team-leading 21st.
"I guess you can play well and do everything right, but sometimes you're not going to get the breaks," Toews said. "That's kind of the way it went for us."
Corey Perry tied it 1-1 at 13:54 when he scored off a scramble in front of Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Perry's 15th of the season was assisted by Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger.
The Hawks started the second period well when they regained the lead on Patrick Sharp's 13th goal of the season. He banked a shot off the skate of Anaheim's Chris Kunitz. Rookie David Bolland was credited with his fourth assist.
They're a good team," Sharp said. "They know how to win games. That's a team that knows how to win. I feel like we're taking strides, and we're going to be there someday too."
Anaheim then got goals from Kunitz and Mathieu Schneider to take the lead. Getzlaf extended the edge to 4-2 on a breakaway at the 4:31 mark of the third period for his third point. The Hawks cut the lead to 4-3 with 1:50 left when Robert Lang redirected a Martin Havlat shot past Giguere for his eighth goal of the season. Havlat picked up his second assist of the season and fifth point in six games.
Kunitz added an empty-net goal with 29 seconds left for the final margin.