By: Matthew Garcia
The Anaheim Ducks continue their homestand last night with a tilt against a very familiar coach. Bruce Boudreau and the Minnesota Wild are in town as the two most winningest coaches in Anaheim history go head to head. The Ducks are riding into the match on a three-game win streak looking to extend it to four for the first time this season. This game marks the fourth of a five-game homestand for Anaheim, the Ducks are coming off their very first overtime win of the season against Arizona on Friday night. John Gibson got the start for the Ducks and Devan Dubnyk gets the nod for the Wild.
Gibson would have to be sharp right at the opening puck drop as Minnesota began with the high-octane play that Ducks were accustomed to doing when Boudreau was the head coach of the team. Anaheim would withstand the first few minutes of the period where the Wild really kept them hemmed in before they were able to start with a counter-attack of their own. Anaheim would get into penalty trouble early as Josh Manson would get a two-minute minor for holding against Jason Zucker. The Ducks penalty kill would be up for the test doing well to hold the Wild off the board and only allowing one shot on goal during the power play. Anaheim, however, would be the first team on the board as Ryan Kesler would bury his 16th of the season off a rebound as a result of a Jakob Silfverberg shot from the boards. The first period horn would sound, and the Ducks take a 1-0 lead into the intermission. Minnesota leads on the shot chart 8-7.
Minnesota would start the second period the same way they did as the first, right out of the gate Minnesota began their offensive prowl firing everything that they had right on at Gibson who would continue to turn them aside. The Ducks would find themselves in penalty trouble once more as Logan Shaw would get the gate for roughing just 3:23 into the period, but the mistakes wouldn’t end there as Cam Fowler would find himself taking a trip to the box as he would get sent for hooking giving Minnesota 1:25 of 5-3 time. Minnesota would not waste the opportunity as Matt Dumba would find the back of the net just 41 seconds in the two-man advantage. Ducks would kill of the remaining 1:12 of 5-4 power play time, but would surrender the go-ahead goal as Jared Spurgeon would snap a shot past Gibson. The Wild scored two goals just 1:42 apart. Minnesota would dictate the first half of the second period as they would register 12 shots to the Ducks’ 2. The Ducks would get their first power play opportunity of the night 11:09 into the second period as Dubnyk would get a minor for tripping on Andrew Cogliano. The Ducks would not be able to convert on the opportunity, but Minnesota would threaten with a few shorthanded bids and hold Anaheim to no shots on goal. Minnesota would find themselves on the receiving end of back-to-back penalties as Zach Parise would be on the receiving end of an interference call. For the second straight time, the Wild would hold off the Anaheim power play not allowing a shot to get through to Dubnyk yet again. Minnesota would take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission while outshooting Anaheim 16-6.
As the puck drops on the third period Anaheim will look to carry most of the play in the final frame. But, 1:26 into the final period Minnesota thought that they had blown the game open as a puck was deposited into the Anaheim net and was originally deemed a goal, but upon review, the call was overturned as Nino Niederreiter had kicked the puck into the net past Gibson. After the no goal call, a hard-fought, cycling shift saw Anaheim draw a penalty against Minnesota as Mikko Koivu would get the gate for hooking. In their first two opportunities, the Ducks were unable to register a single shot on goal, in their third chance Anaheim registered just a one shot on goal and were unable to convert as Minnesota would kill the penalty. Anaheim got a prime scoring chance immediately after the penalty as Kesler found Shaw right on the doorstep but Dubnyk would come up big keeping the Ducks from tying the game. In the same sequence, Anaheim would be on the receiving end of another penalty as Cogliano would sit for tripping, Minnesota would be unable to convert on their fourth power play chance of the night dropping to 1/4. The Ducks pull Gibson with a little more than a minute remaining in regulation but would be unable to convert with the extra attacker. The final horn sounded and the Ducks would fall to Minnesota. Third period shots, Minnesota 12 for a game total of 36. Anaheim 11 for a game total of 24.
Final Score: Anaheim-1 Minnesota-2
IIn his return to Anaheim Bruce Boudreau would get the win, despite the heavy onslaught from the Ducks in the final minute of play. Propelled by their power play Minnesota was able to get themselves back in this game tying it up early in the second period and taking the lead in a span of 1:26. The lack of offense and defense in the second and the penalties are what hurt the Ducks the most in this game. Despite the no goal call in the third Minnesota was able to hang on in what was a very entertaining third period of play. Anaheim would drop their first game in regulation in the past seven games played, and would also lose their first game of the new year. With the 2-1 loss, the Ducks find themselves tied for first in the Pacific division again with the Sharks, each with 50 points, and Edmonton breathing down their necks with 49 points.
Anaheim (21-13-8) will host Dallas (16-16-8) on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM PT to wrap up their five-game home stand.
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January 8, 2017