Ducks' thinned defense is no match for Blackhawks in 4-1 loss

Ducks' thinned defense is no match for Blackhawks in 4-1 loss
Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane tries to wrap a shot around Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen in the third period Friday. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm learned in the postgame dressing room his team had acquired veteran defenseman Eric Brewer from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Chicago Blackhawks had just seized upon the Ducks' thinned defense Friday, beating Anaheim, 4-1, at Honda Center. Lindholm was told the basics about Brewer, a 35-year-old veteran of 982 NHL games who is considered a solid, leader-type player.


"Well, that's always something you need," Lindholm assessed. "I think that was a good trade."

It was hopeful news for Lindholm and the Ducks after Chicago, led by forward Patrick Kane's two goals, attacked Anaheim's three-rookie defense and put 38 shots on goal.

The Ducks announced Friday that veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin broke a finger blocking a shot Tuesday and will sit out four to six weeks. They were already down two defensemen — Ben Lovejoy broke his finger last month and Clayton Stoner missed his third game because of the mumps.

The team summoned Norfolk defenseman Jesse Blacker from the minor leagues in Connecticut on Thursday and he was quickly inserted into the lineup for an afternoon game against the 2012-13 Stanley Cup champions.

Blacker watched Chicago forward Kris Versteeg flick a behind-the-net, behind-the-back pass to Kane for a second period goal that gave the visitors a 3-1 lead.

"High-caliber players, best league in the world," Blacker said. "It was a new experience, looking forward to moving on."

Chicago jumped at the blue-line void, taking 11 of the game's first 12 shots on goal and seizing a 2-0 lead in the first 13:30 on goals by Brad Richards and Andrew Shaw.

"We played slow, that was the biggest difference," Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen said.

Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said his team's forwards didn't help the situation by being late to return to defense.

"We have a lot of NHL-caliber players in here, [the Blackhawks] were the better team," Ducks center Ryan Kesler said. "I can sit here and make excuses. We just weren't good enough."

The Ducks traded a third-round pick in next year's draft for Brewer, a former St. Louis Blues captain and 2002 Olympic gold medalist from Canada who earns $3.75 million this season.

Like Blacker, Brewer will have a quick transition, and is expected to play Saturday night in San Jose, Boudreau said.

Stoner was placed on injured-reserve Friday but could be activated for the Sharks game.

Lindholm was left to play a game-high 29:25 Friday, and he pulled the Ducks within 2-1 late in the first period by following a Patrick Maroon shot that caromed off Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, who finished with 23 saves.


The Ducks' defensive vulnerability was compounded by angst at the officials who awarded Chicago the game's first three power plays, despite a missed second-period slashing call that came as a whistle was blown against Ducks forward Matt Beleskey for interference.

Anaheim forward Kyle Palmieri was ejected late in the period, with his team left to deal with a five-minute major penalty, after he hit Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya into the top of the sideboard.

A replay showed Palmieri hit Oduya shoulder to shoulder, but when Oduya's face slammed to the top of the board and was bloodied, the more severe boarding punishment was delivered.

"We haven't had a referee call a penalty for us until the last [seven] seconds of this game in the last two games," Boudreau said. "Tough to win without power plays."



When: 7:30.

On the air: TV: Channel 13; Radio: 830.

Etc.: Boudreau said he is hopeful his team can reverse course in the second game of a back-to-back. The Sharks did just that Oct. 26, beating the Ducks, 4-1, despite a home loss to lowly Buffalo the night before.

Twitter: @latimespugmire