By: Matthew Garcia
Last night the Vancouver Canucks are in town for a tilt with the Anaheim Ducks, so far in the season series Anaheim holds a 2-0-1 record against the Canucks. In their last meeting on December 30th, 2016 the Canucks came back from a 2-0 deficit to ultimately win in overtime on a Henrik Sedin shelf shot past Gibson. Anaheim, who is coming off a 5-1 bye-week win on Friday against the Maple Leafs will look to continue that success. The Ducks saw goals coming from different sources in the win against the Leafs as Rickard Rakell potted two, while Jakob Silfverberg, Sami Vatanen, and newcomer Patrick Eaves each potted one of their own. Jonathan Bernier would get the start for Anaheim, while Richard Bachman gets the start for Vancouver.
Tonight we see an unfamiliar face in the Vancouver crease as Ryan Miller got the night off as he saw a ton of action in Los Angeles Saturday night facing 44 shots. Bachman is getting his first start in the NHL since 2015. The Canucks would get a grade A opportunity early as they would have a two-on-one break that would inevitably be broken up by a back-checking Cam Fowler. Vancouver would face adversity early as a hit along the boards from Chris Wagner would send Loui Eriksson to the locker room less than three minutes into the period favoring his knee. The Ducks would get a great scoring chance nearly eight minutes in as Andrew Cogliano would collect a puck behind the Vancouver net circle around to the front, sending a pass to Silfverberg who would ring it off the post and wide. Despite losing Eriksson early Vancouver would not let it phase them as they would be the ones to strike first as a point shot from Ben Hutton would find a way to sneak through the arm of Bernier and behind him for Bo Horvat to slam home. a few short minutes after the go-ahead goal for Vancouver they would get another two-on-one break that would be gloved down by Bernier. Anaheim thought they had drawn even as Ondrej Kase put the puck into the net, but would be waved off immediately, and upon further review from Toronto the no-goal call stands. Anaheim would receive the first penalty of the game as Logan Shaw would get a hooking minor at the 19:23 mark of the period. The first period horn would sound and the Canucks will take a 1-0 lead into the locker room.
*Loui Eriksson suffered a lower-body injury, and would be unable to return to the game*
Vancouver would begin the period with 01:24 remaining on their power-play, the Ducks would be successful in killing off their first penalty of the game. Anaheim would get an opportunity to tie the game as Ryan Getzlaf laid a huge hit on a Vancouver defenseman to dislodge the puck and send it to the front of the net where Eaves would try to slide a puck to Kase that would get poked away by the back check of the Canucks. Vancouver would make use of another two-on-one break as Markus Granlund would fire a shot under Bernier and in to give the Canucks a 2-0 lead just 06:35 into the middle frame. Vancouver would receive another great scoring opportunity just four minutes later as Jayson Megna would get behind the Anaheim defense, but would ultimately be dragged down by Josh Manson. Manson would get the gate for tripping. During the penalty kill each team received numerous odd-man rushes that neither team would be able to convert on. Anaheim improves to 2/2 on the penalty kill tonight. Anaheim got a chance to pull to within one near the end of the period as Rakell danced around the defense before throwing on net where Bachman was forced to make a kick save, and Anaheim would not be able to put away the rebound. Second period horn would sound and the Canucks take a comfortable 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Puck drops for the start of the third period as Anaheim looked to erase a 2-0 deficit, they would get a chance early to draw back to within one as Luca Sbisa would get the gate on a tripping minor against Kase. The Ducks would be unsuccessful in their first power play of the evening as Vancouver just stifled every entry opportunity that Anaheim had during the two minutes. Just a few minutes after the penalty expired Eaves would receive a pass from Getzlaf that he would slam home to draw the Ducks to within one with a little more than 10 minutes left in the game. With a little more than five minutes remaining in the game, Anaheim would get a perfect opportunity to draw even as Brandon Gaunce would get a tripping minor as he got the stick in between the legs of Corey Perry and upend him. The Ducks would be unsuccessful in their second opportunity of the night despite getting some good looks against the Canucks goaltender. A breakaway for Megna would give Vancouver a chance to ice the game, but he would ring it off the iron and send play the other direction. Anaheim would pull their goalie with a little over a minute to play in hopes of drawing even but would be unable to solve Bachman and the Canucks would hold on for the victory in Anaheim.
Final Score: Vancouver-2 Anaheim-1
On back-to-back nights the Canucks would let more than 40 shots filter through to their goalie and come on top victorious. The Ducks had many opportunities to convert. However, puck luck was not on their side tonight as every rebound opportunity would be cleared away, and the iron would stop a few good chances. Bachman would be a brick wall for the Canucks and coming up huge with timely saves to preserve the win. Tonight the game wasn’t the only thing on Anaheim’s mind as the out-of-town scoreboard would be a thing of interest. Tonight the Calgary Flames took down the New York Islanders 5-2 to give them 76 points and a tie for third place in the Pacific division (and first wild card spot) with Anaheim. The St. Louis Blues would take down the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 to move them ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card spot with 69 points. Anaheim has 17 games remaining on the season, and if they want to secure a playoff spot they will need to string together consecutive wins to start giving themselves some distance from those competing for a playoff spot.
Nashville (32-24-9) @ Anaheim (33-22-10) Tuesday night at 7PM PT.
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March 6th, 2017