By Tasha Florentz-Clift
Anaheim and Philadelphia are in the same boat. They are both a handful of points out of a playoff spot. The Flyers are in a tough Metropolitan division while the Ducks are in last place in a weak Pacific Division. Both teams need these crucial two points. Anaheim is coming off of a lackluster road trip where they only registered one win(December 19th vs New Jersey). The players need to turn on the jets so to speak and start off the second half the NHL schedule better than they started off the first half.
Emotions were running high as soon as the puck dropped tonight. You could tell that this game had a lot at stake. Both teams were fired up and it showed. Not even two minutes into the period and a fight broke out. Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner laid a huge hit on Flyers forward Scott Laughton. Right after that hit Philly defensemen Brandon Manning went right to Stoner, who dropped his gloves immediately without hesitation. Stoner pounded on Manning before Manning lost his balance and fell to the ice. Shawn Horcoff would also be called for high sticking on top of Manning and Stoners 5 minute majors. The Ducks would allow 4 shots on goal on that penalty kill, but none would get through John Gibson. Anaheim’s PK unit is still number one in the league with a 87.4% kill rate. It only took a couple more minutes before yet another scrum would break out and this one was a doozy! It is not often that you see almost 10 players fighting! After all is said and done Philadelphia has 4 players in the penalty box(Giroux would make it five, 30 seconds later after he slashed Cam Fowler), Anaheim had two. Kevin Bieksa and the Flyers Ryan White would get 10 minute misconducts while Corey Perry would get called for roughing on Steve Mason and vice versa(their altercation started the whole thing). It was sure a funny sight to see the 5 Flyers in the penalty box(Kumbaya around a campfire anyone?). The Ducks would have a huge opportunity on the 5-on-3 power play. Guess what? The Ducks actually capitalized on it! Ryan Kesler would set an amazing screen in front of Flyers goaltender Steve Mason. Sami Vatanen would pinch in near the left wing slot then pass it right to Ryan Getzlaf. Mason never saw Ryan Getzlaf’s slap shot coming! And boy was that shot a rocket! Ducks were up 1-0. The Flyers would kill of the remaining time on the power play. Philadephia would get on the board around halfway through the first period on a bad bounce off the boards. Nick Schultz slams a shot that just misses the net wide of John Gibson. The puck careens off the boards right to a waiting Jakub Voracek. Duck’s goaltender Gibson never stood a chance. He made a valiant effort, but could not make it across the crease in time. Both teams would head into the first intermission tied at 1. Cam Fowler left the game with an undisclosed lower body injury and did not return.
Vatanen would take a holding call against Wayne Simmonds 30 seconds into the period. Anaheim would not be able to stop Philadelphia from scoring on the power play though. Flyers are up 2-1. Ducks captain Getzlaf draws a penalty and the Ducks would yet again take advantage on the power play! This time it is Scorey Perry who scores the game tying goal! Anaheim went with only one defensemen for this power play unit, Sami Vatanen. Maroon, Perry, Getzlaf and Rakell were the 4 forwards. Pat Maroon wins a battle along the boards, Perry scoops up the puck and tries a wrap around. That shot fails but the puck proceeds to go right to Getzlaf’s stick and he whacks at the rebound. His attempt fails, but then the puck goes right to Perry stick who tapped it 5 hole under Flyers goalie Mason. For a split second, it seems as if Rickard Rakell tips the puck into the net. After video review Rakell just lifts the stick of Manning and the puck just trickles into the net! Ducks tie it up with their second power play goal of the evening! Both teams would go into the intermission tied at 2.
Not even 30 seconds into this period and the Ducks go up 3-2. Perry would get his second of the night after Vatanen makes a terrific play at the defensive blue line and chips the puck to Perry. Perry shakes off a hit by Flyer Evgeny Medvedev, goes to the bottom left wing faceoff circle and rips a sharp angle shot past Mason. Vatanen would take yet another holding call this time against Claude Giroux. Anaheim was super aggressive on this penalty kill and it paid off. Ducks defensemen Stoner would force a turnover and leap face first to get the puck to Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano would then chip the puck to a streaking Horcoff who had to settle the bouncing puck down before scoring the short handed goal for Anaheim! Ducks now lead 4-2. There were a couple of tense moments during the last half of this period, but the Ducks would prevail, Gibson would stand tall, and they would earn two points.
Key Moment of the Game
I believe there were two tonight. Corey Perry’s game winning, go ahead goal and Shawn Horcoff’s short handed goal. Perry showed why he is the Ducks number one scorer with a great individual effort on his 13th of the season. While Horcoff’s goal gave the Ducks some breathing room in that last half of the game.
Key Stat of the Game
Face Off Wins. Anaheim won an astounding 37 out of 56 in the faceoff dot tonight. Santorelli won 100%(3/3), Kesler 84%(16/19), Horcoff 75%(3/4), Getzlaf 62%(8/13), Rakell 50%(2/4) and Thompson 38%(5/13).
Anaheim won tonight’s game with their terrific special teams play. Two power play goals and one shorthanded goal contributed for 75% of the goals scored yesterday. The Ducks tried out a 1 defenseman, 4 forward line on the power play after Cam Fowler left the game with a lower body injury. That and putting Cogliano back on the penalty killing unit with Horcuff really paid off.
Getzlaf became the second Ducks player to reach 700 points in franchise history with 1-1=2 points in tonight’s win. Getzlaf recorded his second goal of the season on the power play at 6:28 of the first period and earned the primary assist on Corey Perry’s team-leading 12th goal at 4:14 of the second. Perry also collected the go-ahead goal 58 seconds into the third for his third multi-goal game of the season. Getzlaf now has points in a season-high three straight games (1-3=4), while Perry has goals in two consecutive contests (3-0=3).
Tonight was Carl Hagelin’s 300th career game.
Anaheim went 2-for-3 on the power play, earning its third multi-PPG game of the season and first since Nov. 25 at Arizona.
The Ducks are on a three game Canadian road trip against Pacific division rivals the Calgary Flames Tuesday at 6pm, Thursday they face the Edmonton Oilers at 6pm and Vancouver Canucks on Friday at 7pm. These are must win games for the Ducks who are looking to gain some ground in the Pacific Division playoff race.
“We came out and played a lot better, handled the puck better. We capitalized on some chances. That’s a good feeling. When you’re coming out of the break, you want to be emotionally involved. It was perfect for our group to come out there and play a physical game, and get into it right away. It felt good(to get his PPG). That’s the first time I really shot a puck like that, and it felt nice. Obviously, first time it’s gone in in a long time.”
“That’s our job and our role on this team. We have to be at the top of our game every night. If it’s not going in, you have to help somewhere else. I thought our line did a great job tonight. A lot of guys played really well tonight. We played solid defense and blocked a lot of shots.It was nice(talking about Getzlaf’s goal). He finally put one by a goalie, and hopefully it continues. He’s been working hard at it. He was finally rewarded. It’s definitely the way we have to play. We have to play with a little bit of emotion. When we don’t, we’re flat. We have to play that upbeat style and in-your-face style of game.”
“We came out and skated hard tonight. We had quite a few chances early that didn’t go in. The bench did a good job staying positive and staying with it tonight. We got rewarded. Any time you can get a two-goal lead midway through the third period, it gives you a cushion. Our PK has been great for us all year long. It’s nice to get rewarded.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau
“I liked that Getzy scored a goal and we had a lot of emotion right from the beginning. That’s what we needed. We held off. Once we got the lead, we played pretty solid. They didn’t have many chances unless it was on the power play. When we defend, we’re pretty good, but it’s been tough getting leads in the third period. They got right into the game(after Fowler went down with an injury). Hampus [Lindholm] and Sami [Vatanen] were instrumental in coming up with the win, especially at one point when we were down to three defensemen with Cam gone and [Clayton] Stoner and [Kevin] Bieksa in the penalty box. That’s a tough call for them, but they hung on and did a good job.”
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