By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks came out of the All-Star break hosting a home game against the Colorado Avalanche. Nate Thompson returned to play in his first game of the season and Jakob Silfverberg played after missing a few games due to an upper-body injury. John Gibson was in net for Anaheim and Calvin Pickard went for Colorado.
Colorado came out firing the puck and creating opportunities, but Gibson stopped every shot that came his way. Ryan Kesler was called for delay of game early as he shot the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. The Ducks were able to kill off the penalty. Anaheim then went on their own power play when Matt Duchene was called for high sticking. With the power play almost over, Nick Ritchie threw a puck at the net and Jakob Silfverberg tipped it past Pickard to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Despite Colorado outshooting the Ducks 14-8, Anaheim lead 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Early in this period, Corey Perry would find Rickard Rakell open at the side of the net for an easy tap-in goal. It was Rakell’s team-leading 21st goal and Perry’s assist on the play was his 700th career NHL point. The two goal lead was short lived as Mikko Rantanen got one by Gibson a few minutes later. Towards the end of the period, Rakell was called for a questionable interference as he tried to skate past Pickard behind the net. The Ducks did kill off the penalty and lead 2-1 after two periods. Shots were 14-6 in Anaheim’s favor.
In the final frame, the Ducks turned it one scoring three times to put this game away. Silfverberg got his second goal of the game as he was able to get Pickard out of position and then slide the puck just around his leg pad for the goal. Korbinian Holzer then scored from the blue line on a shot that Pickard lost due to player traffic in front of the net. In the final minutes, Cam Fowler added a goal by sneaking the puck between Pickard’s arm and body. The Ducks went on to blow out the Avalanche 5-1.
The Ducks came out of the All-Star Break looking energized with the returns of Silfverberg and Thompson. Silfverberg scored two goals and had one assist as he nearly single-handedly took out Colorado. Thompson played just under 10 minutes and was a +1. Special teams were a factor again as Anaheim scored on their only power play and killed off all four of Colorado’s power plays. Colorado did have some good pressure early in this contest, but Gibson looked sharp only giving up one goal.
Rickard Rakell scored his team-leading 21st goal, breaking his career high of 20 set last season.
Korbinian Holzer scored his first goal of the season and his first as an Anaheim Duck.
Cam Fowler scored his career high 11th goal of the season. He tied Oleg Tverdovsky (45) for third on the Ducks all-time goals list for defensemen.
The Ducks go on the road to take on the Florida Panthers this Friday at 4:30 PM PT.
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February 1, 2017