By Michael Walters
The Ducks came out swinging in the first period. They created a few good scoring chances in the opening period, but Talbot was on his game stopping everything that came his way. Corey Perry was called for cross-checking, but the Ducks were able to kill off the penalty. At the end of the period, John Gibson was called for tripping. Just over a minute later Matt Hendricks was called for a face-off violation effectively ending the Edmonton power play. There was no score after the first period and the Ducks held a 7-6 shot advantage.
The Oilers turned it on this period scoring three times before the period ended. Leon Draisaitl made it 1-0 after stripping the puck from Kevin Bieska and then completing a give-and-go play with Connor McDavid. The Ducks battled back and had chances to tie the game, but again Talbot stood on his head. It looked like the Ducks would head to the locker room down 1-0 until the final few minutes. Antoine Vermette was stripped as he tried to exit the Anaheim zone, which led to a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins goal. Then with just about 16 seconds left, Zack Kassian out skated Nick Ritchie and Sami Vatanen for a loose puck. Kassian took it to the net and used a backhand to fool Gibson for the score. Oilers led 3-0 after two periods.
In the final frame, the Ducks tried to score and had some good chances, but they still couldn’t solve Talbot. Anaheim had another power play chance when Matt Hendricks was called for interference, but the Oilers killed off the penalty. Draisaitl scored again in this period giving the Oilers a 4-0 led and the Ducks could never recover.
Randy Carlyle won’t be pleased heading into the All-Star Break with the last two games Anaheim played. The Ducks didn’t play well in Winnipeg, but special teams bailed them out in that contest. In this game against Edmonton, the Ducks came out and played a decent first period, but the final minutes of the second period were their undoing. The Ducks gave up two goals in just under two minutes, which has been problematic for them at times this season. Turnovers played a big factor in this game as the Ducks committed 19 total. Three of the four Edmonton goals were a result of turnovers. Anaheim also ran into a hot goalie Cam Talbot, which made matters worse.
Shrinking Forward Depth
Prior to this game, the Ducks only had 11 active forwards. Jakob Silfverberg remained out of this contest due to the concussion-like symptoms and Anaheim tried to send Stefan Noesen down through waivers, but the New Jersey Devils picked him up. Given this situation, Kalle Kossila had to be called up and played just under seven minutes on the fourth line, recording one shot on a goal and one hit. Hopefully, Silfverberg will be able to return after the All-Star Break. He passed the neurological tests yesterday, which gets him one more step closer to coming back.
Nate Thompson was recently assigned to the San Diego Gulls for conditioning. He played in the Gulls 8-1 smack down of the Tuscon Roadrunners last night. Newly acquired Jhonas Enroth was in net and he stopped 27 of 28 shots he faced. Thompson didn’t record a point and had one shot on goal. The Ducks are going to need him back more than ever right now with the shortage of forwards in Anaheim.
The NHL All-Star Game will be this Sunday, January 29th. The Ducks are back in action on Tuesday, January 31th at home against the Colorado Avalanche.
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January 26, 2017