By Michael Walters
The Ducks opened up the scoring when Chris Wagner and Rickard Rakell broke out on a 2-on-1. Wagner pulled the defender to him and slid the puck across to a wide open Rakell, who burned McElhinney for the early 1-0 lead. Toronto would answer back when Zach Hyman tipped Nikita Zaitsev‘s point shot past Bernier. Randy Carlyle challenged the play for being offsides. The replay appeared to show the play was offsides from one angle, but it looked very close from a second angle. The refs determined the video evidence was inconclusive and the goal stood. The Ducks lost their timeout as a result. The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.
Corey Perry went to the penalty box twice to start the period. The Ducks killed off the first penalty, but Toronto’s Nazem Kadri scored on the second one to take a 2-1 lead. Perry earned a penalty hat trick by going to the box three times in just over 25 minutes of play. The Ducks answered back when Jakob Silfverberg took a shot at the side of the net that was blocked, but he got his own rebound and put the puck high and just under the crossbar to tie the game. Just 16 seconds later Hampus Lindholm would throw the puck from the Toronto blue line on net and the shot would get blocked and then the puck sat at the side of the net. Rakell raced to it and put the rebound into the back of the net. And just like that the Ducks had regained the lead 3-2 in 16 seconds and took that lead to the locker room.
To start the period, Ryan Getzlaf got the puck in the corner of the offensive zone and threw the puck towards the front of the net. The puck went between Patrick Eaves skates, who was tied up by a defender, but Sami Vatanen took the pass from behind him and fired it in to make 4-2. Toronto tried to make a push throughout the period to get within one goal. With just over two minutes left they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. Patrick Eaves ended up getting an empty net goal, which was his first in an Anaheim uniform. The Ducks won 5-2.
The Ducks got off to a quick start scoring, which is necessary for this team going down the stretch especially without adding any significant offensive weapons at the trade deadline. Anaheim also showed some fortitude getting two quick goals after getting behind despite scoring first. Flashes of the old pesky Perry emerged in this game, but unfortunately, he ended up in the penalty box three times. Recently recalled Wagner helped the Ducks get on the board early earning an assist, he also had a couple of hits and blocked shots. The Ducks also got offense from other players like Vatanen and newly acquired Eaves. Anaheim is going to need more performances like this night in and night out with the season winding down.
The Ducks continue the homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday at 5 PM PT.
Click below to watch highlights of the Ducks victory!
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March 4th, 2017