Friday’s battle of best in the West goes to the Blackhawks

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It was a clash of Western Conference powers that looked a little lopsided at one point.

The Chicago Blackhawks, second in the conference standings, jumped ahead to a three-goal lead by the middle of the third period against the conference-leading Anaheim Ducks, then had to hold on for a 4-2 victory.

Bryan Bickell’s goal with less than nine minutes remaining in the third period gave the Blackhawks a three-goal lead. This one was over, right? Wrong. The Ducks, thanks to goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Kyle Palmieri less than a minute apart, got right back into the game, making for an intense finish in what might be a preview of things to come this spring during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the Blackhawks, it was Marian Hossa who led the way. The 35-year-old veteran winger scored twice, including a beautiful short-handed goal on a quickly released, wicked wrist shot in the first period.

But holding on for two points certainly wasn’t easy.

“We always have trouble playing against this team, and that’s why this win is big,” Hossa said, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

It wasn’t all good news for Chicago. Forward Kris Versteeg did not come out on the ice or the bench to begin the third period and is now listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. As per Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago, he will be re-evaluated tomorrow.