By Mario Ramirez
The Ducks continue their road trip looking to bounce back from a disappointing 6-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in their Joe Louis arena swan song. The Ducks come in 16-11-5 good for 37 points and 2nd in the Pacific. The Leafs come into the contest 12-11-7 with 31 points and 7th in the Atlantic Division. The goaltending match is the one Ducks fans have been waiting for, John Gibson vs Frederik Andersen. It is also Randy Carlyle’s first trip back to Toronto since being relieved of his duties as their bench boss.
In the first, the Maple Leafs seemed to control the play early on. Forcing Gibson to make two big save less than three minutes into the game. Rickard Rakell committed the game’s first penalty at the 15:42-minute mark for a high stick. The Leafs failed to score on the man advantage, however, they captured the early momentum with a 5 to 1 shot advantage at the 12:42 mark. The Ducks got their first power play at 12:24 which was followed by their second power play at 9:39. Unfortunately, the Ducks were unable to capitalize on the power plays and were somewhat fortunate to have not conceded a shorthanded goal thanks to Gibson. The period ended with no score and the Leafs with a shot advantage of 10 to 8. Gibson’s play was the main reason the Ducks were even after one.
The second period started with a shot ringing off the post by Rickard Rakell only 20 seconds in. Afterward, the Ducks and Leafs seemed to have settled into the game. At 17:16 a scary moment for Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa occurred. Bieska was hit in the face with a deflected shot and he left the game and did not return. Only a few minutes later at 15:45 Auston Matthews put the leafs ahead 1-0 with a nifty one-handed redirect past Gibson on the short side. It was Auston’s 15th of the season for the first overall draft pick. Ondrej Kase was called for a penalty at the 10:22 mark of the period, however, Toronto was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. The Ducks got their 4th power play of the game with 2:15 left in the game. Toronto’s Zaitzev was called for roughing for getting his stick up high and hitting Joseph Cramarossa with the butt end. The Ducks would cash in at 1:59 with a power play goal off the stick of the captain Ryan Getzlaf. The puck deflected off two Toronto players and found it’s way to the back of the net, knotting the game at 1-1. The Ducks outshot the Leafs 9 to 5 in the 2nd period to bring the game total to 17-16 Anaheim.
The third period was the most exciting period of the game easily. The Ducks took the lead just 1:21 into the third period. Kase stole the puck at the Leafs blueline and fed Nick Richie for the early goal. The goal seemed to energize the Ducks until Josh Manson took a hooking penalty at 17:10. In what was Toronto’s 3rd power play they put a ton of pressure on the Anaheim net. John Gibson came up huge making a number of big saves to keep Toronto off the scoreboard. However with 8:18 left to go in the game Nazim Kadri threw a puck to the net which deflected off Holzer in behind Gibson to tie the score. Momentum shifted back to the Ducks side at 6:55 when Toronto’s Hyman took a roughing penalty. The Ducks immediately capitalized on the power play only taking 3 seconds for Fowler to blast a shot from the point past Andersen for a 3-2 lead. The Leafs down 3-2 with a little more than 3 minutes left pulled Andersen for the extra attacker. They created many good chances but they were all turned away by Gibson who played one of his best games of the season. He turned in a spectacular 33 save effort to help lead the Ducks to a 3-2 victory over former goaltender Fredrick Andersen and the Leafs.
The story of the game had to have been the play of John Gibson. He was great early keeping the ducks in the game and made huge saves late to preserve the win. Getzlaf got the goal scoring started for the Ducks along with Richie and Fowler. This was a game that the Ducks needed on this road trip. After giving up 15 goals in the last three games holding the Leafs to two was a good start to getting back to playing a tighter defensive game.
Ryan Getzlaf scored for the first time in his career against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He now has a goal against every team except the Anaheim Ducks.
Cam Fowler recorded his 200th career point tonight. He is now tied with Matt Cullen for 9th on the Ducks all-time scoring list. His game-winning goal was his third this season, which is tied for the league lead among defensemen.
Andrew Cogliano played in his 737th game tonight which ties him for 5th on the all-time ironman consecutive games played list in the NHL.
The Ducks are back at it tomorrow against the Montreal Canadiens. The game is at 4:30 PM PT.
Click the image below for game highlights.
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December 19, 2016