By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks took on the New Jersey Devils in the second game of their four game east coast trip. After a disappointing loss to Buffalo, the Ducks looked to rebound against the Devils and former team mate Kyle Palmieri. The Ducks went with Frederik Andersen in net, who hadn’t played a game since November 21st.
The Ducks started the game well and took a 1-0 lead when Chris Stewart threw a puck towards the front of the net and got a bounce. The puck went off Eric Gelina’s skate and deflected behind Keith Kinkaid. Halfway through the period Kevin Bieksa would get a penalty for holding, but the Ducks would kill the penalty. In the final minute of the period, Corey Perry would intercept a Devils’ clearing attempt and pass the puck to Ryan Kesler in front. Kesler took one shot that was blocked, but the rebound came back to him and he buried it past a downed Kinkaid. Two good bounces resulted in two goals and the Ducks lead 2-0 after the first period.
The Devils came out and tried to make a push in the second period. Halfway through the period Hampus Lindholm was called for hooking. The Ducks’ penalty kill came through again killing the Devils’ power play. The Ducks didn’t have a let down this period. They were out shot 10-5 by the Devils, but kept them off the score sheet and headed to the third still up 2-0.
The Devils tried to apply pressure, but the Ducks didn’t sit back this period and pushed back. With less than five minutes to go, the Devils finally got one past Andersen on a goal by Mike Cammalleri. In the final minutes the Devils then pulled Kinkaid, but the Ducks held on for the 2-1 win.
When Devils defenseman Adam Larsson tried to clear a puck along the boards and Corey Perry made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone. After a good pass to Kesler in front, Kesler was able to get the puck past Kinkaid on a second attempt. A big play for the Ducks as it would turn out to be the game winner.
Stat Of The Game
18 turnovers. The Devils turned over the puck throughout the game, two of their turnovers led directly to both Ducks goals.
The lineup change worked for the Ducks in this game. Patrick Maroon helped keep the puck deep at times in the Devils zone. The Ducks made better passes and keep their turnovers limited. The penalty kill continued to do it’s job as it’s been ranked first or second for most of the NHL season. Andersen returned to play his first game in what seemed like forever and he played well only giving up one late goal in this contest. The Ducks haven’t been winning by blowing teams out, but instead have won by narrow margins relying on defense and quality goaltending. This may be the recipe for the Ducks moving forward until the offense can hopefully catch fire.
The Ducks are 9-0-1 when leading after two periods of play.
Frederik Andersen played in his 100th game and has a record of 60-24-9 with a 2.37 GAA and .917 SV%. Only two other goaltenders who have debuted in the last 30 years have won at least 60 games in their first 100 games in the NHL. Chris Osgood (69) and Antti Niemi (61)
The Ducks travel to New York to face the Islanders on Monday December 21st at 4PM PST.
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