It's been a long time since the Blackhawks played an important game, one so vital in the standings.
Their showdown with Anaheim on Wednesday night at the Honda Center featured the two best teams in the Western Conference, clubs with a combined 6 losses in regulation in 59 games.
The Ducks scored 3 goals in the final 5:27 to wipe out a 2-1 deficit and beat the Hawks 4-2 to pull within 3 points in the West standings.
Ryan Getzlaf set up Bobby Ryan at 14:33, then Teemu Selanne 65 seconds later to stun Corey Crawford and the Hawks.
"That was a tough game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. "We were five minutes away from the perfect road trip. I like the way we were playing up until that point. I commend the guys for how hard they played and competed, but that's a good team over there.
"I liked how we played every game on this trip (3-1), so we'll try to be positive through this process."
Sheldon Souray scored into an empty net to seal the Ducks' 13th straight victory at home.
"They've had a great season," Hawks winger Patrick Kane told Blackhawks TV. "They would probably have had a lot more attention if we hadn't had the season we're having."
The Hawks (24-3-3) led 2-1 after two periods with both teams without one of their best players.
The Hawks were missing Marian Hossa, who sat out with an upper-body injury suffered Monday against Colorado. The Ducks were minus newly signed winger Corey Perry, who served the final game of his four-game suspension for an illegal hit on Minnesota's Jason Zucker.
Quenneville hopes to have Hossa back in the lineup for Monday's game against Los Angeles at the United Center.
The Ducks with their 22-3-4 record would be the talk of the NHL if not for the Hawks and what they've done since the start of the season.
"They've had an amazing start to the season," Quenneville said. "They've been picking up points almost every night and doing a lot of things right."
Jonathan Toews told Blackhawks TV the Hawks were hoping to prove they were the best team in the conference.
"Both these teams are at the top of the standings and there's a nice little padding in between these two teams and the rest of the pack," Toews said.
The Ducks broke on top with a goal by Peter Holland at 1:25, but Toews answered with a pretty short-handed goal at 3:52.
Nick Leddy scored on a power play at 11:54 of the second period to put the Hawks ahead, but they couldn't hold the lead.
Brandon Bollig had a goal that would have made it 3-1 wiped out in the third period when it was ruled he made a distinct kicking motion with his skate.
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the Los Angeles Times how impressed he was with the Hawks, especially Kane.
"Obviously something's happened where he's totally changed -- not the way he plays, he's always been a great player -- but the consistency of his game," Boudreau told the Times. "Every night he's coming to play. He's getting more like Jonathan Toews every day, who comes to play every night."
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