Plenty has been made about the Anaheim Ducks’ bigger bodies and perceived superior depth allowing them to grind down the Chicago Blackhawks. Still, it’s not as if playoff hockey is a walk in the park for the Ducks, either.
“I think it goes both ways,” Bryan Bickell said. “They are wearing us down, but they’re getting tired from wearing us down.”
That must be true, especially since both teams played a similar amount of games heading into this series.
Sure, laying on the body can grind down an opponent, but the team delivering a lopsided amount of hits traditionally finds itself chasing the puck more than their “victims.” With that, less puck possession can often mean being forced to block more shots.
Whatever the cause may be, it’s clear that the Ducks are blocking a lot of Blackhawks shot attempts. Here’s the game-by-game count:
Game 1: Ducks blocked shots:22 Blackhawks blocked shots:9
Game 2: Ducks:35 ‘Hawks:29
Game 3: Ducks:27 ‘Hawks:9
Game 4: Ducks:34 ‘Hawks:20
Through four games, the Ducks have blocked 118 shots compared to just 67 for the Blackhawks. Anaheim has generated a 220-158 hit advantage so far … is that a wash, then?
This is not to say that postseason hockey is any less of a grind. Instead, the point seems clear: both teams are ending up with plenty of bruises.