By Aaron Francis
The Anaheim Ducks hosted the New York Islanders, closing out the season series between the two teams. In their last meeting, Anaheim was able to tie the game off a late Ryan Getzlaf goal but were defeated when Josh Bailey ended it in overtime. Coming into this game the Islanders have had struggles, tied for last place in the NHL. Jonathan Bernier started for the Ducks and Thomas Greiss started for the Islanders.
The two teams traded goals this period before the Islanders took the lead 2-1 on a Power Play goal. The Ducks came out this first period with much more energy than their last outing. Hampus Lindholm drew an early hooking penalty from Anthony Beauvillier and the Ducks went on the power play. Ryan Getzlaf dug a puck out along the boards and set up Cam Fowler for a power play goal that put the Ducks up 1-0. Ryan Kesler’s second line continued the offensive momentum, forcing Thomas Greiss to make several saves. Calvin de Haan was called for slashing on the play, but the Ducks couldn’t convert on this power play. The Islanders came close to tying the game as the Ducks turned over the puck in their defensive zone, allowing Nick Leddy to rip a shot off the post. Almost at the midway point of the period Adam Pelech shot the puck from the point scoring his first NHL goal, and tying the game 1-1. The Islanders continued their push forcing Sami Vatanen to take a tripping penalty. The Islanders cycled the puck on the Power Play and John Tavares sent a pass to Josh Bailey who one-timed the puck past Jonathan Bernier taking the lead. The shot total after the first period was 12-10 Ducks.
The score did not change in the second period as the Islanders maintained their 2-1 lead. The Ducks took a hooking penalty sending the Islanders on the power play. As Jakob Silfverberg sat for the hook, the Ducks were able to kill the penalty thanks to some key saves from Jonathan Bernier. One very impressive right pad save sent Andrew Cogliano on a 2 on 1 shorthanded chance that Thomas Greiss stopped. The Ducks had some huge hits including a great check by Josh Manson that sent Cal Clutterbuck into the boards. During an offensive surge from the Ducks, Ondrej Kase had a great chance in close with Thomas Greiss but backhanded it into the post. Ondrej Kase would later serve a bench minor as the Ducks were called for too many men. The Ducks managed to keep the Islanders off the board and killed the penalty. They had some great pressure late and Corey Perry just missed on a great chance set up by Ryan Getzlaf. Sami Vatanen reportedly left the bench and was out the rest of the game due to an illness. The shot total after the second period was 25-22 Ducks.
The third period would see the Ducks tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime with the Islanders. Ryan Getzlaf was called for an unfortunate slashing penalty that the Ducks were able to kill off. The Ducks moved past the penalty kill and maintained pressure on Thomas Greiss. Antoine Vermette caused a tip in front of the net that just went wide, and Ondrej Kase hit the post again off an Islanders turnover. They eventually made it on the board this period as Corey Perry fed Rickard Rakell a beautiful pass that found it’s way to the back of the net. With the game all tied up, the Islanders played a more defensive game allowing Anaheim to have many chances. Nick Ritchie was called for holding in the final 5 minutes leading to an important penalty kill. Jonathan Bernier came up huge on the Penalty Kill with an outstanding diving effort. The remainder of the time bled off the clock and the game would go to overtime. The shot total at the end of regulation was tied at 34 shots.
The Ducks dominated the extra hockey session ending the game with 41 shots on goal. Ryan Kesler and Jakob Silfverberg shined in overtime. but the real star was Thomas Greiss who made several amazing saves to keep the Islanders in the game. To start overtime the Ducks put Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg, and Cam Fowler on the ice. Ryan Kesler won the face-off and fed several chances to Jakob Silfverberg including one that beat Thomas Greiss and went just off the post. Nothing would be solved in overtime and there would be a shootout.The final shot total was 41-35 Ducks.
This was the first time this season the Ducks went to the shootout and it was quite the show. The shootout went for 14 rounds and saw shooters such as Kevin Bieksa and Johnny Boychuk in the later rounds. Rickard Rakell would score a slick first goal for the ducks but he was matched by a goal from John Tavares. Ondrej Kase would finally beat the post and score, as well as Cam Fowler, and Shea Theodore. In the 12th round, Jonathan Bernier needed to make a save on Thomas Hickey to win the game for the Ducks. Thomas Hickey put a backhander at Jonathan Bernier‘s pads and the puck trickled across the line. It looked as if the goal may be overturned as the Ducks thought Thomas Hickey had pushed Jonathan Bernier‘s pads over the goal line and interfered with his ability to make the save. However, the goal was reviewed and the call on the ice stood as a good goal. The eventual game winner would come from Nick Leddy who put the puck in the net to win the game for the Islanders.
The Ducks did not deserve the outcome they received in this game. They hit the post several times in both regulation and overtime. The unfortunate shootout goal that was allowed fell to the mercy of on ice review and although the Ducks had a strong argument to overturn the call, it did not go their way. The Ducks walked away with one point but it was clear this was a team that played worthy of 2 points.
Some positives the Ducks can take away from this loss is that they were able to tie the game and had a strong overtime session.They got another stellar performance from Cam Fowler who had a goal and an assist. Ondrej Kase also had a very strong night and it is clear if he can stay in the lineup he will soon find the back of the net. Jonathan Bernier played a solid game and remains a great backup option for the Ducks. The Ducks have to take these positives and shrug off this loss as they have several huge games approaching to close out November.
Cam Fowler passed Chris Pronger for third place on the Ducks all-time Power Play goals list for defensemen (21).
The Ducks put a season-high 41 shots towards the Islanders goal.
Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves on 35 shots for a .943 save percentage.
The Ducks will host the Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks in a Black Friday showdown at 1:00 pm.
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