By Matthew Garcia
Last night the Anaheim Ducks played host to the New York Rangers to close out a three game home-stand. Anaheim coming off a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night that put them into a tie for first in the pacific division will be looking to get two points against the Rangers to put them in sole possession of first place. Meanwhile, the Rangers are coming off a 3-0 victory against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. This will mark the final meeting of the regular season between the two teams this year, the Rangers took the first meeting by a final score of 4-1. The starting goalies were Jonathan Bernier for Anaheim and Henrik Lundqvist for New York.
The action in this got underway quick as Corey Perry got in on Brendan Smith, delivered a hit, and a fight ensued. Each player would take a seat for five minutes, but it would be the Rangers who would end up with the first power play of the game as Perry was hit with an extra two minutes for holding the stick. The Rangers would not get the full two minutes worth of their power play as 1:27 into the man advantage Rick Nash would be on the receiving end of a tripping call that would even things up at four skaters apiece. The Ducks would be unsuccessful on their first man advantage. Shortly after Nash would get out of the box he would find himself on a two-on-one break and would fire a shot that would get past Bernier five-hole to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead. The Ducks would respond just three minutes later as Patrick Eaves would beat his man off of the boards, get to the front of the net and slam home a rebound off a Cam Fowler point shot to knot the game up at one. Derek Stepan would be the man to put the Rangers back on top off of a three-on-one break playing tic-tac-toe with teammates Chris Kreider, and Mats Zuccarello before slamming it home against a sprawled out Bernier. Anaheim would get a late power play as Smith would be on the receiving end of a tripping minor, the Ducks would look to get even before the intermission. Ryan Kesler would be the man to do so as a blast from Fowler would be re-directed over the shoulder of Lundqvist, it took a little bit as the goal was under review, but after a few minutes the call on the ice was confirmed and the goal would stand. The first period horn would sound and the teams would head to the locker room knotted up at two apiece.
The action in the second period would pick-up near the midway point of the middle frame as the Rangers would be gifted with their second power play opportunity of the night as Perry would take a seat on a slashing call. The Rangers would be looking to tally the go-ahead goal, but Getzlaf and co. would have something to say about that as a three-on-two break would see Josh Manson rip home his first short-handed goal of his career to give Anaheim a 3-2 lead 09:39 into the period. The Ducks would go on to kill the remaining time of the Rangers power play to improve to 2/2 on the penalty kill. A turnover in the neutral zone would prove costly for Anaheim as another odd-man break for the Rangers would help them tie the game as Brady Skjei would bomb a feed from Vesey past Bernier knotting the game up at three. Bernier would have to come up huge near the end of the period as a home run pass from Stepan would connect with Kreider off the boards sending him in on a partial break that would get turned aside by the Anaheim netminder. In the dying seconds of the period, Eaves would get a golden opportunity in front of the Rangers net but Lundqvist would cover up the short side turning him away to keep the game tied. The second period horn would sound and the teams would head to the locker room knotted at three goals apiece.
The third period of play would get underway at a 3-3 tie, but the Ducks would come flying out of the gates potting a goal just 02:19 into the final frame as Andrew Cogliano would find a rebound left by Lundqvist off of a Kesler shot directly off of the face-off to give Anaheim a 4-3 lead. The Ducks were not done there as a back-checking Getzlaf would strip the puck from Michael Grabner and go in on a three-on-one break, Getzlaf would drop the puck to Rickard Rakell, who would set up Eaves on the side of the Rangers net, slamming it home past Lundqvist for his second of the night, and giving Anaheim a 5-3 lead just 04:23 into the final frame. The Rangers would look to get some goals late in the period as they would pull Lundqvist with three minutes left in the game for an extra attacker. The Ducks would be resilient though after icing the puck three times within 45 seconds, Nick Ritchie would seal the deal for Anaheim as he would take a pass from Perry, skate it into the Rangers goal crease before potting it into the empty net to give Anaheim a 6-3 lead. A frustrated Rangers team would go short-handed with just 54 seconds left in the game off a Smith tripping infraction. The third period horn would sound and the Ducks would secure the two points and find themselves in sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.
Final Score: Rangers-3 Ducks-6
The Ducks would come into tonight’s contest against a Rangers team that has absolutely dominated the pacific division this year going 11-1. The Ducks definitely remember their last meeting against the Rangers as Lundqvist was the key factor in their loss as he tuned aside 43/44 Anaheim shots. The Ducks would take it to this Rangers team who were on the tail end of back-to-back games. They were propelled by their captain Ryan Getzlaf who notched four assists, including a short-handed assist en route to the 6-3 victory. Patrick Eaves netted two goals of his own, Ryan Kesler added one, Andrew Cogliano potted what would be the game-winning goal early in the third period, and Nick Ritchie would put the game away with his empty net goal.
Last night the only game in the pacific division that would alter movement in the playoff race would be the Ducks/Rangers game. The Ducks would take down the Rangers by a final score of 6-3 and take on sole possession of first place in the pacific division with 93 points. Tonight would see the Calgary Flames (42-29-4) would play host to the struggling Colorado Avalanche (20-51-3) with a chance to move to within just one point of the San Jose Sharks, and Edmonton Oilers who are all idle. Other notable playoff match-ups are the St.Louis Blues (40-28-6) playing host to the Arizona Coyotes (27-39-9) who has the chance to move into third place in the central division with a win or a OT loss and a Nashville loss in regulation OR into the first wild card spot with a Calgary loss in regulation. Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators (38-25-11) are in Brooklyn for a date with the New York Islanders (35-27-12) and have the chance to keep ahead of the Blues with a win, or could potentially drop to the second wild card spot with a loss, or a OT loss, and a St.Louis win.
Anaheim Ducks (41-23-11) at Vancouver Canucks (30-36-9) Tuesday at 7 PM PT
Click to below to watch highlights of the Ducks big win!
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March 27th, 2017