By Aaron Francis
The Ducks closed out back-to-back games and the calendar year in Vancouver as they faced off against the division rival Canucks. The Ducks are coming off a victory Thursday night in Calgary as they beat the Flames 3-1. The Ducks started John Gibson for the second straight night and Ryan Miller was in goal for the Canucks.
Despite taking several early penalties, the Ducks were able to take a lead in the opening period. Seven defensemen were dressed for this game which resulted in new line combos and head coach Randy Carlyle shifting around his centers. Early on the Ducks turned over the puck in their defensive zone which forced Hampus Lindholm to take a hooking penalty in order to avoid a scoring chance. The Ducks were able to kill this penalty but would, unfortunately, go back to the penalty kill after Antoine Vermette was called for tripping. On this penalty kill, however, Joseph Cramarossa and Ryan Getzlaf were able to break for an offensive chance and Cramarossa made a pass to Getzlaf who fired the puck in past Miller, 1-0 Ducks. The Ducks killed the remainder of the penalty but Vancouver would respond with a few chances of their own including a point-blank shot by Bo Horvat that Gibson was able to stop. Shots at the end of the period were 7-6 Canucks.
The Ducks continued their parade to the penalty box this period but managed to maintain a one goal lead. Within the first minute of the second period, the Ducks scored after a point shot by Hampus Lindholm just squirted past Miller and into the net off a touch by Rickard Rakell. Vancouver challenged the play as Rakell made contact with the pad of Miller but the call on the ice would stand as a good goal, 2-0 Ducks. The Canucks came in with a strong cycle in the Ducks zone that resulted in Shea Theodore flipping the puck over the glass and sitting two minutes for delay of game. Loui Eriksson would have a great chance on the power play that Gibson just barely managed to keep out of the net. After killing off the penalty Getzlaf would go to the box for tripping and the Ducks penalty kill would falter. A point shot by Ben Hutton was screened by Eriksson and made it to the back of the net, 2-1 Ducks. The Canucks continued to storm the net and made it past the Ducks defense before Hampus Lindholm took down a Canucks player into Gibson. Lindholm would be called for tripping and the Canucks would go to the Power Play yet again. The Ducks managed to kill this penalty and a high stick by Jack Skille would send the Ducks to their first Power Play of the night. Ryan Miller was out of position when Corey Perry sent a backhand shot high but still managed to get his glove on the puck robbing Perry. The Canucks killed the remainder of the penalty and had the better of the play to close the period. Shots after the second were 17-16 Canucks.
The Ducks came out gassed and allowed the Canucks to tie the game and force overtime. Very early in the period Vancouver had strong pressure in the offensive zone and Jack Skille would put in his own rebound, 2-2 tie. To add insult to injury Andrew Cogliano would be called for a questionable tripping penalty that was able to be killed off. The Canucks would continue their offensive attack and a wrap around attempt by Henrik Sedin was denied by Gibson. The Ducks responded as Rakell fed Perry twice leading to strong chances stopped by Miller. The Sedin twins had the Ducks trapped on the ice as they controlled the play getting many scoring opportunities. Hampus Lindholm would be called for roughing with just over two minutes left in the period setting up the most important penalty kill of the game. The Ducks penalty killers got it done and Cogliano had a huge block to help the Ducks hold on for overtime. Shots at the end of regulation were tied 24-24.
The Ducks would hold possession well to start overtime but still couldn’t solve the extra session, falling to the Canucks. The Ducks offense started strong keeping the Canucks from making line changes. Ryan Kesler had a great chance that was gloved away by Miller and allowed Vancouver to gets some shots on Gibson. Cam Fowler fed Getzlaf for a quick shot that just went over the net. Fowler and Getzlaf would have another 2-on-1 attempt that Miller was able to save that then sent the Canucks on their own 2-on-1 bid. Eriksson would send a pass to Henrik Sedin who roofed the puck past Gibson to win the game, 3-2 Canucks. The final shot total was 26-26.
The Ducks have had a tough time this season in the second half of back to back games and this game didn’t break the trend. A tired Ducks team relied heavily on their penalty kill as they took seven penalties. While the Canucks only scored once on the Power Play, the Ducks couldn’t get their game going. Having to kill off all those penalties tired out the team and didn’t leave them with much energy for overtime.
Gibson performed well in goal considering he played the night before, and overall the defense held up strong. The Ducks didn’t deserve to win this game but after they made it to overtime it felt as though they would be able to finally get the job done in the extra session. Unfortunately, it didn’t come together and the Ducks will need to look to their next match as an opportunity to win a game at home and get back on track.
Rickard Rakell scored his team-leading 16th goal of the year and tied for 5th overall in goals.
Korbinian Holzer played in his 100th NHL game.
The Ducks currently have a 4 game point streak.
The Ducks will start the New Year at home as they host the Philadelphia Flyers this Sunday at 5:00 pm PST.
Click below for highlights of the game.
Want to be an Editor or Writer? Join The Puck Network!
DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team
December 31, 2016