By Aaron Francis
The Ducks came home after a long road trip to host the Florida Panthers. The Ducks ended their trip in Minnesota shutting out the Wild 1-0. Coming off that shut out the Ducks put John Gibson in goal, and Florida started James Reimer.
The Ducks and Panthers came out pretty even this period as they each had some chances but neither team scored. Aaron Ekblad took an interference penalty that put the Ducks on the power play early in the game. The Ducks couldn’t get set up due to the Panther strong penalty kill unit and the play returned to even strength. Gibson had to make several saves on a sequence of offense for Florida and he held the Ducks in well. Nate Thompson would be called for tripping and Florida has a power play opportunity that the Ducks were able to kill. Shots at the end of the period were 10-9 Panthers.
The Ducks came out strong this period but lost their momentum after several Panthers goals. Ondrej Kase took a tripping penalty that put Anaheim on the penalty kill. On this penalty the Ducks were able to clear the puck out of the zone and Logan Shaw flipped the puck to an open Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano entered the zone on a rush and fired the puck past Reimer, 1-0 Ducks. The Ducks killed the remainder of the penalty but the Panthers responded. Colton Sceviour fired a puck from the point and beat Gibson to tie the game, 1-1. Just a few minutes later Anaheim would attempt to exit their zone and turned the puck over to Jaromir Jagr who was alone with Gibson and beat the Ducks goalie, 2-1 Panthers. After a Ducks chance that was saved everyone tangled up in front of Reimer, the refs broke up the conflict. Later Sami Vatanen would be called for interference and the Panthers converted on this power play. Aaron Ekblad received the puck at the blue line and fired it home to extend Florida’s lead, 3-1 Panthers. Shot total at the end of the period was 23-22 Panthers.
The Ducks were unable to mount the come back they needed this period and would fall to the Panthers. The Ducks had a chance to get back in the game after Jon Marchessault took a holding penalty. But the Ducks power play looked flat as they even allowed the Panthers to get several short handed chances that Gibson had to stop. Tempers flared as Ryan Getzlaf got physical with the Panthers as he and Keith Yandle would be called for slashing. During 4-on-4 play Ryan Kesler received a cross ice pass that he fired at the net but was saved by Reimer. Afterwords Kesler broke his stick in frustration. With under five minutes to play the Ducks got a power play as Jon Marchessault flipped the puck over the glass causing a delay of game. The Ducks went all in on this power play and brought Gibson to the bench for the extra attacker. Anaheim cycled the puck for a while but would lose possession and Derek MacKenzie hit the empty net, 4-1 Panthers. The final shot total was 36-31 Ducks.
The Ducks fell flat this game, allowing Florida to take advantage of the many offensive chances they had. The second period was particularly disappointing for the Ducks as they gave up the lead they built and never really responded offensively. Despite generating more shots than the Panthers it was clear they were not getting enough quality shots at Reimer.
Several of the Ducks passes this game were not strong and led to turn overs and Florida scoring opportunities. Team communication was not at its best and allowed the Panthers to play their game and dictate the pace. This game needs to be an opportunity for the Ducks to find the problems in their game and communication before they play their next opponent.
Andrew Cogliano scored his third short-handed goal of the season and is tied for first in the NHL in that category.
The Ducks are now 5-6-1 in their last 12 games.
Sami Vatanen returned to the Ducks lineup after being out with an injury the past few games.
The Ducks will host the next installment of the Freeway Face-off against the LA Kings this Sunday at 6:00 pm PST.
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
February 18th, 2017