By Tasha Florentz-Clift
The Anaheim Ducks been on fire of late. Posting a franchise record 11 game win streak. That streak came to an end following a shootout loss to NHL best Washington Capitals. If that game taught us one thing is that our Ducks can definitely hold their own against the top team in the league. Dynamic shut down line of Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano completely shut down the Capitals top line of Niklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie.
Anaheim would need their second lines shut down prowess and stellar defense again when they faced Nate MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and of course ex-Duck Francois Beauchemin(and fan favorite) of the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks are riding a six game road win streak and are looking to continue their 14 game point streak. The Avalanche were tied for a Wild Card spot with the Minnesota Wild(the Wild have played one game less). Colorado head coach Patrick Roy stated “Whatever it takes to win” this morning after the Av’s morning practice. Which means get ready for an entertaining game. This is the second of three meetings of the season, the first being October 16th where the Ducks lost 3-0 and the last will be on April 9th. Those were dark times for the Ducks, who had to claw their way out of last place in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim has a one point lead on the Los Angeles Kings and were looking to extend that lead to three. John Gibson gets the call in net tonight. Gibson was stellar in net versus the Capitals and will look to continue his excellent play versus the Avalanche. Gibson did in fact continue is excellent play, but the Ducks still fall 0-3 againt the Avalanche.
The Ducks had a great scoring chance right off of the faceoff. David Perron had a great angle for a shot, but choose to pass it instead. After the first five minutes the Ducks are skating fast, controlling the neutral zone and have been very effective about getting out of their defensive zone. The Ducks have only given up 32 goals in the first period all season so far. Corey Perry and Cody McLeod mix it up a little bit and both go to the box for minors. During the 4-on-4, the Ducks would have some great chances, but it would be the Avalanche who take advantage. Nathan MacKinnon scores on a breakaway to put Colorado on the board first. Sami Vatanen would take an inadvertent elbow and he would leave the ice for a bit just as the Ducks would be awarded a power play. Carl Soderberg gets a cross checking minor against Kevin Bieksa. The period would end and the Avalanche would take their 1 goal lead into the locker room.
The Ducks would start the period on the power play. And as luck would have it, Colorado got a delay of game penalty. The Ducks would have 10 seconds of a 5-on-3. Anaheim’s power play seems to have cooled off a bit as they could not convert. Sami Vatanen did not return to the ice to start the second period and would not return to the game due to an upper body injury. Anaheim gets yet another power play when Colorado’s Zach Redmond would get called for high sticking against Ryan Garbutt. Again they could not convert. They just seem a little off tonight, but there is a lot of time left on the clock! Both teams get some great chances and both Anaheim’s John Gibson and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov have been standing on their heads! The Ducks have outshot the Avalanche so far this period, but most have been from the perimeter. They have really got to start getting shots in from the blue paint! Andreas Martinsen from Colorado gets a goal off of a breakaway and they take a 2-0 lead. Anaheim has been scrambling this period and had allowed four odd man rushes. Colorado’s speed has seemed to take them by surprise. Avalanche take a 3-0 lead when Shawn Matthias scores off of a behind the net feed from Soderberg. Ducks are down three goals going into the third period.
Anaheim sure started off the period strong. But Semyon Varlamov has been stellar this game. The Ducks cannot seem to catch a break this game. The would try to battle back, but nothing got through. The Ducks penalty killing unit was on fire and did not allow a single power play goals. There was a scary moment towards the end of the period when Av’s forward Gabriel Landeskog cross checked Ducks defensemen Simon Despres in the neck. It was the same exact kind of hit, from the same exact team that made him miss 42 games because of a concussion. Despres got up gingerly, went to the bench, but stayed in the game. In the end the Ducks could not come back from a three goal deficit and their 14 point point streak came to an end.
Player of the Game
John Gibson. Without his amazing play, the Ducks would have lost by a wider margin.
The Ducks started off strong, but seemed to cool off towards the middle of the first period. They just did not play the type of game we have been accustomed to them playing. They looked sluggish at times. The Ducks did try to get pucks to the net with 37 recorded shots on goal, but Varlamov stopped everything. The usual stalwart defense was lackluster tonight, giving up a handful of odd man rushes. Two of which turned into goals. Anaheim just needs to lets this game roll off their back, get back to playing a simple game, and learn from their mistakes. The penalty kill was 4-4 tonight, which was one positive for the team.
The Ducks haven’t scored a goal in two games against Colorado this season.
Ducks road win streak of six and their 14 game point streak came to an end.
The Los Angeles Kings take the Pacific Division lead back after they beat the Capitals.
Sami Vatanen left the first period and did not return as a result of hard check he received. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury.
Anaheim Ducks play the St. Louis Blues this coming Friday with a start time of 5pm PT.
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