By Tasha Florentz-Clift
The Anaheim Ducks have had a rough start to the season. As of this morning, they were in last place in the entire Western Conference. Tonight is the last night of a 4 game home stand before they hit the road on Thursday. I do not know about you, but I had a feeling that the Duck’s were going to break out of their rut versus a tough Minnesota Wild team. And I am sure glad that they did!
Anton Khudobin would get the surprise start in net tonight. Ducks’ head coach Bruce Boudreau wanted him to have a bounce back game so he got the nod. You could tell Khudobin was in the zone early after he made a terrific point blank save on Wild captain Mikko Koivu. The Anaheim Ducks ended their scoring drought 10:08 seconds into this period. Cam Fowler sent a rocket of a shot from the point after a nice setup pass from Ryan Getzlaf behind the Wild net. The entire Honda Center breathed a sigh of relief then erupted in cheers like we had just won the Stanley Cup! It felt so good! I think we cheered for what seemed like 2 minutes. Our cheers even brought a smile to Corey Perry’s face as viewed from the new scoreboard! It would not take long for the Wild to strike back and even things up. Nino Niederreiter got the breakaway goal after a nice chip pass from Koivu. There was only one penalty called in this period and that was to the Wild’s Marco Scandella for hooking on Mike Santorelli. The Ducks got some great chances, but could not bury the puck. With 4 minutes left, Rickard Rakell would put the Ducks ahead for good, after he deflected a Hampus Lindholm shot past Dubnyk. Anaheim would go into the first intermission up by one goal!
The Wild came out strong this period and outshot the Ducks 13 to 3. Most of the period was spent in the Anaheim zone, but Khudobin and Anaheim’s defense stood on their heads to make sure no goals would be scored. The Duck’s took their first and only penalty of the game on a Shawn Horcoff interference call. They killed the penalty and went into the second intermission leading by one goal.
The Ducks would bounce back early in the third with a couple great shifts. They got on the board again with Mike Santorelli’s first goal as a Duck(in regular season). Patrick Maroon would find a wide open Horcoff right in front of the net. Horcoff’s shot deflected off Dubnyk’s pads to Santorelli who banged it home five hole. Ducks lead 3-1. Wild pull their goaltender with 2:30 left in the game. After a couple of tense moments and some fierce battles in the defensive zone, Lindholm would score his first goal of the year. He was just trying to get the puck out of the zone, but it trickled right into the Wild’s net! The Anaheim Ducks win their first game of the season by a score of 4-1!
News and Notes
-The Ducks start an 8 day, 5 game road trip this coming Thursday(October 22nd) in Nashville. Game time is 5pm PST
-The Ducks finally break through and win their first game of the season!
-Shawn Horcoff is 3 points shy of his 500th career point after his assist on the Santorelli goal.
-Mike Santorelli scored his first goal of the regular season a a Duck.
-Cam Fowler, Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm all scored their first goal of the season.
-Korbinian Holzer played in his first game as a Duck tonight.
–Frederik Andersen was not hurt or ill. He was not seen on the bench because of the new boards and layout of the bench. There is no room for him to fit near the rest of the team. He was watching the game from the locker room corridor.
–Ryan Kesler left for the locker room a few minutes before second period was over due to an apparent injury sustained after a monster hit from the Wild’s Mikael Granlund. He would return to the ice for the entire third period.
On the win
“It’s always great. We started really well by scoring the first goal. When you have the kind of start [to the season] like we had, the stick is always tight in your hand. We got the monkey off our back.”
On his bounce-back performance
“I just said to myself don’t focus on anything but the shots. One shot, the next shot, the third shot, and just keep going. You just need to keep going.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau
On Khudobin’s performance
“I really believed he was going to play very good today because he’s been a good goalie all along. Sometimes you have a bad game and throw the guy right back in. He proved what he was, and that’s a good goaltender.”
On building momentum
“The first win is always the hardest. Hopefully, we’ll learn from the mistakes we’ve made. We can understand now that we can score and play well at times. Hopefully it’s like a snowball, and it builds in Nashville and continues.”
On ending the scoring drought
“When things aren’t going great for your team, sometimes you just need a little confidence boost to get going in the right direction. Credit our guys for sticking with it. We were able to sneak some by him (Devan Dubnyk) today. When we’re playing perimeter hockey and we’re getting too cute, that’s when we get in a lot of trouble. A lot of the goals we scored were from right in front of the crease, which is the identity of our team, so we got back to doing that. Get some pucks back to the point and feed them through and that’s where our big forwards go to work.”
A Funny from the night:
Rickard Rakell said this during the post game interview with Steve Carroll and Dan Wood when they asked about how nice it was to have 3 other Swedes on the team.
“Everyone loves Swedes!”
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