VIDEO: Ducks Hit All The Right Notes

Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP

By Zack Hamada

Coming off arguably their best game of the season the Anaheim Ducks were looking to keep the momentum going against a hungry St Louis Blues team. After suffering a loss due to a last-minute goal versus the Blues last Friday, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Corey Perry and crew had the opportunity to get some redemption on home ice. Redemption would not come easy as both teams are in tight playoff races. A win for St. Louis would put them back in 3rd place in their division and bump Nashville down into the wild card spot. A win for Anaheim and a loss by the red-hot Flames would put the Ducks in sole possession of 2nd place in the Pacific. Like most games between these teams, some “big boy” hockey was in store, and this late in the season Anaheim was going to have to maintain the same style of play they had Sunday to secure two points.

1st Period

The Ducks power play unit would get their first opportunity early in the game when Jaden Schwartz took a penalty for hooking in the first minute of play. With recent struggles on the power play, Anaheim put 2 shots on goal early in the man advantage. However, Jake Allen the netminder with a 5-0 record versus the Ducks, swallowed them both helping St. Louis kill off the remainder of the penalty. 5 minutes into the game Anaheim would find a way to get the puck behind Allen. On a dump in by Getzlaf, Patrick Eaves got into the corner to apply pressure on the Blues defender. Eaves’ pressure forced a turnover, and the puck got to Getzlaf just outside the slot. He quickly got the puck to Rickard Rakell all alone in front of the net. Rakell does what he has been doing best, and beats Allen to give him his first (and probably not his last) 30 goal season.

After securing the early lead, Anaheim applied the pressure to the Blues. The Blues stepped up their game trying to tie the game, but defensive pressure in the neutral zone was shutting down their opportunities and making it difficult for them to set up offensively. Nick Ritchie would head to the penalty box midway through the first, on a boarding call he didn’t get his money worth on. Anaheim would show why they have had one of the League’s best penalty-killing units on the opportunity when they only allowed one shot on goal in the 2 minutes. The 1st period would wind down as it started, very physical with some sound defensive play. Anaheim would carry a 1-0 lead into the intermission, but being outshot 10-6.

After securing the early lead, Anaheim applied the pressure to the Blues. The Blues stepped up their game trying to tie the game, but defensive pressure in the neutral zone was shutting down their opportunities and making it difficult for them to set up offensively. Nick Ritchie would head to the penalty box midway through the first, on a boarding call he didn’t get his money worth on. Anaheim would show why they have had one of the League’s best penalty-killing units on the opportunity when they only allowed one shot on goal in the 2 minutes. The 1st period would wind down as it started, very physical with some sound defensive play. Anaheim would carry a 1-0 lead into the intermission, but being outshot 10-6.

2nd Period

Anaheim came out of the gates in the second period looking to build on their lead. Jakob Silfverberg had a wide-open opportunity early on but was died by Jake Allen. Chris Wagner would help energize the team and the fans when on a 4th line shift he annihilated Joel Edmundson into the boards for the biggest hit of the game. Edmundson, not happy with the hit, retaliated with a cross check and head to the box for it. On the Ducks second power play opportunity they would put Allen to work, but again nothing would come from it. Five minutes into the period Patrick Eaves took a tripping penalty when he caught Alexander Steen with his skate. On the penalty kill, Andrew Cogliano took the puck away in the defensive zone and skated it up ice. St. Louis quickly covered all his lanes to the goal when he reached the offensive zone, but Cogliano had help and dropped it to a streaking Getzlaf. The captain showed us all why everyone wants him to shoot more when he ripped a shot top shelf past Allen for the shorthanded goal.

Up 2-0 late in the 2nd Jonathan Bernier had seen more shots, but thanks to the Ducks defense had the easier game. However, he proved how reliable of a netminder he is when Jaden Schwartz came in on a breakaway. Schwartz tried going low glove side with a quick snap-shot, but Bernier was not having any of it. He effortlessly gloved off the shot and stopped one of St. Louis’ best scoring attempts of the game. Bernier and the ducks would head to the locker rooms up 2-0 with an 8-7 shot advantage in the second period.

3rd Period

Corey Perry and the Ducks came out of the second intermission with all the momentum, seeking to build on their 2-0 lead. Perry, in an effort to create a scoring streak of his own, took the puck to the net and created a great scoring opportunity. Allen stopped the one-time MVPs scoring attempt, but Perry drew a penalty on Robert Bertuzzo for cross checking. Anaheim’s 4th power play did not get the opportunities to set up nearly as much as their previous ones. St Louis, in an effort to keep the lead at 2, got in all the lanes on the kill and wasn’t letting Anaheim get any scoring opportunities. After building momentum off the penalty kill, St Louis began to apply pressure offensively. The created a couple great scoring opportunities and eventually drew a penalty on Hampus Lindholm for kneeing. On the power play, they again had a couple great chances, but Johnathan Bernier came up with some big saves to keep the lead at 2.

St Louis 3rd period push would finally pay dividends late in the 3rd when Ivan Barbashev found the back of the net. Magnus Paajarvi passed the puck to the slot, and Barbashev was able to get it behind Bernier breaking up the netminders perfect game bid. Their push didn’t stop there. St. Louis had the puck in the Duck’s zone for much of the remainder of the game. Jumbling up lines, Carlyle the Ducks did not seem happy about it. Getzlaf, Perry, and Rakell were once again reunited to help the team get some offensive zone time. AT this point in the game things began to intensify physically, and the refs had seemingly swallowed their whistles as both teams were getting away with some extra physical play. Rocky Rakell also made his triumphant return late in the game, when he helped Jay Bouwmeester to the bench with a heavy neutral ice hit.

With 2 minutes left and down by 1, the Blues pulled Jake Allen to give them the extra attacker. After icing the puck 2 times to clear the zone, Anaheim was hemmed in with tired skaters on the ice. Luckily for Anaheim though the clock malfunctioned and they were given an unofficial timeout to rest their legs. After missing a couple empty net goals, the Ducks were able to stop the puck when Bernier saved a couple shots from ex-Duck David Peron. With one second left in the game a frustrated Robert Bortuzzo took a cheap shot on Jakob Silfverberg and took a penalty for high-sticking. The penalty and the save by Bernier effectively ended the game. The Ducks skated off with a 2-1 win, and 2 points up on the Calgary Flames in the Pacific division.

Analysis

Another sound game by the Ducks in this one. They capitalized on their opponent’s mistakes and weren’t making too many of their own. Even though they didn’t all show up on the stat sheet, the big players are starting to play like they are paid to. Corey Perry is back checking, and creating amazing scoring attempts with either his shots or his passes. In comparison to last month, he looks like a completely different player. If Perry continues to improve, Getzlaf stays hot, and Kesler continues to shut down the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko, the Ducks should be in great shape come playoff time.

3 Stars

Ryan Getzlaf- 1G-1A
Jonathan Bernier- 26 saves
Rickard Rakell- 1g

What’s Next?

The Ducks finish their homestand Friday at 7 PM PT when the Buffalo Sabers come to town

Want to start your sports media career? Then 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. What are you waiting for? Start your sports media career TODAY!

March 16th, 2017

Advertisements