Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 03/28/13 at 01:15 PM ET
By Matthew Feuerman of TiqIQ,
Once the darlings of the NHL and American sporting lure as a whole, the Chicago Blackhawks, having gone the first 24 games of the 2012-2013 campaign without a regulation loss, have fallen back down to earth ever so slightly since the Avalanche broke their record on March 8. Since that date, the team is a more mortal 3-3, though they did beat the Dallas Stars by seven goals two weeks ago. That shellacking is indicative of what the Hawks are able to do to teams when they’re at their best--score at will and cede nothing in their own end. Their six regular defenseman are all on the plus side and their worst plus/minus offender, Sheldon Brookbank, is a paltry -4. That’s a number the team is willing to live with.
This end of the month matchup between the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks and Hawks is one of the shortened season’s best. According to TiqIQ, the average price for Blackhawks tickets on Friday night at the United Center in Chicago is $346, with a “get-in” rate of $161. Overall, prices for that game have fell 8 percent this week. Normally, according to TiqIQ, the Blackhawks’ home average is $273, making tickets to Friday night’s matchup 28 percent more expensive than they normally are at the United Center.
When they meet on Friday they’ll be fighting for Western Conference supremacy. Currently, the Hawks lead the Ducks by three points in the standings and the teams that come after the first and second place squads trail by more than 11 points as of Wednesday. That’s how dominant these two franchises have been this season.
Anaheim, like the Hawks, didn’t do much losing in February, only squandering one game. They’re 8-3-3 in March and look a wee bit more stoppable than they did in the previous month. Upfront, they’re anchored by Ryan Getzlaf, who’s sixth in the league with 37 points as of Wednesday. On the back end, the unheralded goaltending tandem of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has held its own between the pipes and kept the Ducks in almost every game the team has played in this season. It helps that Anaheim d-men Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Souray are tied for the league lead with a +21 rating.
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