By Aaron Francis
The Ducks set off on a short road trip starting in Colorado to face off against the Avalanche. Colorado has had a tough season, falling to last in the Central Division with just 27 points. The Ducks are coming off a shutout win at Honda Center against the Dallas Stars. The Ducks started John Gibson and Semyon Varlamov was in net for the Avalanche.
The Ducks came out to a quick start opening the scoring and finishing the period with a 2-1 lead. The Ducks started off strong as Jakob Silfverberg blocked a shot from Francois Beauchemin and went on an offensive rush scoring to make it 1-0 Ducks. This lead would not hold as the Avalanche broke through the Ducks defense and tied the game off a Nathan MacKinnon goal, 1-1 tie. The Ducks would respond with their own goal not soon after as Rickard Rakell put the puck past Varlamov to regain the Ducks lead, 2-1 Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf got an assist on the Rakell goal gaining a point in his first game back from injury. The Ducks would receive a power play attempt after an interference penalty was taken by Mikhail Grigorenko, but were unable to score. The shots at the end of the first period were 14-8 Ducks.
After a strong first period, the Ducks were able to come out and build on their lead this period. Early on in the period Joesph Cramarossa and Cody McLeod would both drop the gloves and face off. They each threw some blows before McLeod dragged them to the ice, both received five minutes for fighting. Shea Theodore would join the offensive rush for Anaheim taking the puck behind the net for a wrap-around attempt. The puck sat in the crease and Ryan Kesler came in to finish off the goal, 3-1 Ducks. The Avalanche got a chance on the Power Play after Kesler was called for a trip on Jarome Iginla. The Ducks penalty kill came up big stopping the Colorado power play attempt. The Avalanche outshot the Ducks this period 11-10 and the shots after the second period were 24-19 Ducks.
Colorado would challenge the Ducks heavily this period taking 15 shots at John Gibson that were all stopped as they hung on for the win. The Ducks penalty kill needed to come out huge this period as the Avalanche had two Power Play chances. The first came as a result of a high-sticking penalty taken by Silfverberg. The Ducks were able to kill off this penalty but would later be tested with strong Colorado offense. Gibson stood tall stopping great chances from both MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Sami Vatanen would be called for tripping, sending the Avalanche on their third power play attempt. But John Gibson and the Ducks had the answer and were able to kill the penalty. With just three minutes remaining, Colorado pulled their goalie for the extra man hoping to force overtime. After many chances, the Ducks were able to hit the empty net with Corey Perry scoring his first goal in several games. The final shot total was 34-32 Avalanche.
The Ducks were able to continue their win streak playing a textbook road game. They came out strong, scoring the game’s first goal and never allowing Colorado to get themselves firmly in the game. They needed strong goaltending in order to weather the storm and that’s just what they got from Gibson this game as he played extremely well. This win should be a good confidence boost to the Ducks who got their captain back and Perry was able to get back on the score sheet with a goal.
Rickard Rakell and Ryan Kesler both scored their 17th goal of the season and lead the Ducks in goals.
John Gibson made 33 saves and had a .971 save percentage in the win. Gibson played in his 100th regular season game.
Ryan Getzlaf earned an assist in his first game back from injury.
The Ducks will finish their short road trip as they play the Arizona Coyotes this Saturday at 5:00 pm PST.
Click below to view the highlights of the Ducks victory.
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