By Aaron Francis
The Anaheim Ducks continued their road trip to Montreal where they finished their season series with the Canadiens. This game was the back end of back to backs for the Ducks as they won the previous night in Toronto. In their last meeting the Ducks won 2-1 at home against the Canadiens. The starter for Anaheim was Jonathan Bernier and for Montreal Carey Price was in goal.
The Ducks would open the scoring this period but gave up the tying goal in the final minute. Early on in the period Montreal came in off a rush that resulted in an eventual collision between Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Bernier. Jonathan Bernier was shaken up a bit but remained in the game. Jakob Silfverberg shot the puck into the pads of Carey Price and and created a rebound that Andrew Cogliano just missed. Andrew Cogliano would later score the Ducks first goal as off the Face-off Ryan Kesler got the puck to Andrew Cogliano who ripped it past Carey Price, 1-0 Ducks. Max Pacioretty had a great backhand chance denied by Jonathan Bernier off a Canadiens rush. Soon after Sami Vatanen would be called for tripping and put the Canadiens on the Power Play. The Ducks were able to kill off the penalty and were rewarded with their own Power Play as Max Pacioretty was called for hooking. This Power Play was short lived however as Cam Fowler tripped up Paul Byron who would have been on a clean breakaway. The two teams played four on four just under 2 minutes before Montreal received a short Power Play that the Ducks killed off. Approaching the final minute of the period Jeff Petry shot a puck into Jonathan Bernier‘s pads and he kicked the rebound right into Paul Byron who scored to tie the game at 1. The shot total after the first was 10-7 Canadiens.
The Ducks were dominated this period only generating 3 shots on goal and as a result the Canadiens took the lead. The period starred off slow with no shots from either team through the first five minutes. The momentum shifted however as the Ducks began taking penalties. Montreal got a chance off a shot that resulted in a rebound that Jonathan Bernier swallowed up. Brendan Gallagher and Nick Ritchie engaged in some pushing and shoving after the whistle and Nick Ritchie would be called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Ducks killed off this penalty but not soon after would go back on the penalty kill after Korbinian Holzer was called for slashing. On this Power Play the Canadiens would enter the Ducks zone 2 on 1 and Paul Byron passed the puck cross-crease to Tomas Plekanec who fired it past a sprawling Jonathan Bernier, 2-1 Canadiens. The Ducks best offensive chances this period came on a Power Play as a result of a roughing penalty on Alexei Emelin. But Carey Price stood tall and kept the Ducks off the board the rest of the period. Just as the period came to an end Joseph Cramarossa laid a big hit on a Montreal player that resulted in a confrontation and everyone parred up. The shot total after the second was 22-10 Canadiens.
Unfortunately the Ducks didn’t find their game this period and the Canadiens ran away with the game adding to their lead. Anaheim had a chance to tie the game to start the period as Torrey Mitchell had been called for a penalty following the altercation at the end of the second period. The Ducks were defended well by the Canadiens penalty killers and were not able to get a shot on goal during their Power Play. Then the attack began as Jeff Petry fired a shot from the blue line that cleanly beat Jonathan Bernier, 3-1 Canadiens. Jonathan Bernier took a rare penalty and was called for tripping, his minor was served by Rickard Rakell. On the ensuing Power Play Max Pacioretty would fire a strong wrist shot in past Jonathan Bernier adding to the Montreal lead, 4-1 Canadiens. Frustration was clearly showing from the Ducks players as Corey Perry took a shot at a Montreal player after the whistle resulting in another Canadiens Power Play. The Ducks would manage to kill off this penalty but the damage was already done by Montreal who were shutting out any Anaheim offensive chances the rest of the game. To cap off a strong night for Montreal Chris Terry would score his first goal of the season in the final minute of the game, 5-1 Canadiens. The final shot total saw the Canadiens out shoot the Ducks 34-13.
The Ducks were playing the end of back to back games and it showed. The effort just wasn’t there for the Ducks as illustrated by the shots on goal. The Ducks could only muster up 13 shots at Carey Price who is one of the best goalies in the league. They were going to have to put a lot more pucks at the net if they planed to beat the Montreal net-minder more than once. The Ducks players looked flat footed and tired most of the night and especially in the final period where the Canadiens came out and closed the door on Anaheim.
Another troubling issue in this loss were the penalties taken by Anaheim. The Ducks took six penalties and Montreal converted on two of those chances. Several of those calls including those on Corey Perry and Korbinian Holzer are unnecessary retaliation penalties for Anaheim to take especially on the road.
Kevin Bieksa returned to the Ducks lineup this game after leaving the last game with an injury.
Andrew Cogliano played in his 738th consecutive game moving into 5th all time in consecutive games played.
Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves on 34 shots finishing with a .853 save percentage.
The Ducks will close out this road trip in Ottawa against the Senators this Thursday at 4:30 pm PST.
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