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CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks have become all too familiar with what can happen when defensive breakdowns put too much pressure on their respective goalies.
As they prepare to face one another on Tuesday at the United Center, the Blackhawks and Ducks each find themselves attempting to rebound from lackluster efforts in which the mere number of shots they allowed in their last game led to lopsided losses.
The Ducks enter Tuesday's game having allowed 89 shots in their last two games- both losses. After Anaheim goalie John Gibson saw 44 shots in a loss the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday, back-up Ryan Miller was forced to defend 45 shots in a 4-2 loss to Buffalo on Sunday in which the Ducks took a 2-0 lead only to surrender four goals in the final 24 minutes.
The heavy shot total comes at a time when the Ducks have struggled to get their offense rolling, which has led to the back-to-back losses. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Ducks have only out-shot their opponent once in eight games - a trend they will attempt to change Tuesday against the Blackhawks.
"We've got to get back to doing things properly, doing things the way we want to do them on a shift-by-shift basis, not just kind of when we feel like it," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf told reporters following Sunday's loss, according to the Times. "Some (play) on the offensive side, my play personally (Sunday) was embarrassing...We have young players in the lineup and some of our veteran players aren't leading the way properly."
After a loss in which there was plenty of blame to go around, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said that fundamentally, things have to be better.
"The discipline issue crept into our game (Sunday)," Carlyle told reporters, according to NHL.com. "We took three straight penalties and a row and allowed (Buffalo) the momentum. Any time you do that in a hockey game, the other team senses an opportunity and (Buffalo) seized the opportunity."
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are trying to recover from a 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay in which Chicago surrendered a modern-day NHL record 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. For the game, the Blackhawks' second straight setback - the Lightning out-shot the Blackhawks 55-36 and Cam Ward made 49 saves.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville referred to the second period as a "tough, tough period" and Quenneville said the lack of defensive effort put entirely too much pressure on Ward.
"I don't even know what to say to say to be honest," Ward told reporters on Sunday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We know that we need to be better, especially in our home building and play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight."
Ward has played in a back-up role as starter Corey Crawford only returned from dealing with a concussion that kept him out of action since last December. On Monday, the Blackhawks placed back-up Anton Forsberg on waivers. Forsberg, who was obtained from Columbus in 2017, has not played this season. Forsberg made 30 starts last season while Crawford was sidelined, but inconsistent play led Chicago to sign Ward to a one-year deal in the offseason.
Updated October 23, 2018