ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Losing to the reigning Stanley Cup champions has no shame attached to that. Losing four of five on a homestand at a place where you were once unbeatable ... well, that's might leave a team red-faced.
The Ducks haven't been themselves for a good while and now they're usual potent offensive attack has been empty for two of the past three games. Chicago rode Corey Crawford's first shutout of the season to a 2-0 win Wednesday night.
A standing-room-only crowd of 17,446 watched the NHL's top two teams locked in a tightly contested battle that looked like a potential postseason matchup if both teams get on long playoff runs.
But there's plenty of time before that. Crawford made 29 saves and needed only Marian Hossa's second period-goal as the Blackhawks (35-10-14) moved within one point of the slumping Ducks (40-14-5) for the league's points lead.
The Ducks have lost six of their last 10 but Coach Bruce Boudreau was preaching calm, albeit in an animated fashion.
"Nobody likes to lose," Boudreau said. "We'll recover and get back at it tomorrow. I thought we played a pretty good hockey game. It's a 1-0 game for 57 minutes or so. Very easily could have been 1-0 the other way.
"I'm not going to sit here and bitch (that) we're dying here. We're still in first overall in the league. There's a lot of teams that would love to be in our position right now and we will overcome this.
"If everybody wants to jump off the bandwagon, go ahead. We're going to be fine. We're going to be there when it counts."
Jonathan Toews also managed to beat Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller with 2:31 left for a key insurance goal. Hossa broke the ice when he put a neat deke on Hiller and finished after swooping in between the hashmarks to get a pass from Patrick Sharp.
Hiller stopped 23 shots but could do nothing about an offensive attack that has been shut out in two of the last three games.
"You're going to go through highs and lows in scoring goals," winger Corey Perry said. "Right now we're in a rough patch obviously. One or two goals in the last three games, especially at home. It doesn't win hockey games.
"We had a good effort tonight. The bounces just didn't go our way."
The Ducks had a two-on-one develop down low but Kyle Palmieri's pass hit an open Ryan Getzlaf in the skate with 12 minutes left. It was evident of the number of connections missed, whether due to bad passes or the Blackhawks' tight defense.
Daniel Winnik also appeared to have a golden shorthanded chance down low with 8 1/2 minutes remaining but couldn't get a clean shot off in an attempt to tie the game.
It wasn't as if the Ducks were without any chances in the first two periods either. The Blackhawks were more than willing to assist there with a worn path to the penalty box.
Pest-like center Andrew Shaw committed two not-so-smart infractions while Brent Seabrook put Chicago down two men for 40 seconds in the first and Michal Rozsival took a four-minute high-sticking double minor late in the second.
But one of the Blackhawks' few areas of concern -- their 25th-ranked penalty kill -- came through with flying colors. Crawford killed off the two-man disadvantage with several saves and the Ducks did precious little with their other power plays.
"We have a very good power play," defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "A lot of skill out there. Tonight, it didn't work. But we need to find ways other than the power play, if the power play isn't scoring, to win games."
The power play is where the Ducks miss center Nick Bonino, who is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury as he missed his third consecutive game. Bonino, who has 16 goals and 40 points, excels at retrieving pucks to keep plays alive.
Bonino skated for the first time since getting hurt last week when hit by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo. Boudreau said the Ducks' third-leading scorer could play Saturday in Nashville, but only if he's able to go "full bore" in practice by Friday.
"He's a vital part of our team," Boudreau said. "But we've played without Getzlaf. We've played without all sorts of guys. It shouldn't be vital. We were winning an awful lot of games when we had an awful lot of guys hurt at the beginning of the year.
"We want him back and we think he's a big part of it."
ETEM JUMPS IN
The Ducks threw Emerson Etem right into the deep end after summoning him from their American Hockey League team.
It isn't as if Etem hasn't played in big games as his seven in last season's playoff series against Detroit qualify there. But playing in his first game with the Ducks since Dec. 9 was thrilling for the Long Beach native nonetheless.
"Any energy I can provide for my teammates and for the guys is good," Etem said. "That's what I'm here to do."
Energy is what Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau after taking in consecutive regulation losses for the first time since dropping games at Florida and Tampa Bay in mid-November. He's hoping that the speed-laden Etem will provide a jolt to a suddenly struggling club.
Etem played on the left side with the equally speedy Andrew Cogliano on the right and Saku Koivu in the middle.
"Quite frankly, the one thing last game (against Columbus), it looked like there was a lack of energy and emotion, whether it be in the building or on the bench," Boudreau said. "Emerson's a guy that can bring both of those things to the front.
"He's been playing well down there. We thought it was a good time, with the ability of Winnik to be able to play center, that we could do that."
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