By: Matthew Garcia
Last night the Anaheim Ducks were in Vancouver to begin their four-game, western Canadian road trip. The Ducks are fresh off a very successful homestand in which they went 3-0-0 beating the Oilers, Jets, and Rangers. Last night the Ducks found themselves in a position to clinch a birth in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a win over the Canucks, however, they may still clinch if the Edmonton Oilers are able to dispatch of the Los Angeles Kings in regulation. Anaheim will have to try to clinch a spot in the playoffs without the services of their captain Ryan Getzlaf as he is out of the lineup with a lower-body injury. The starting goalies for the match-up are Jonathan Bernier for the Ducks and Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
The Ducks would come out of the gates, and get on the board early as Corey Perry would take a pass from Nick Ritchie and go top shelf on the Canucks goaltender for the go-ahead goal just 23 seconds into the game. The Ducks would not be done there as Patrick Eaves would give Anaheim a 2-0 lead just 1:14 after the opening goal as he would beat goaltender Miller stick side. Anaheim would get the game’s first power play as former Ducks defenseman Luca Sbisa would be on the receiving end of a roughing call, this would be only the fifth time the Ducks have been on the power play against this Canucks team all season long. Anaheim would be unable to get a power play goal against the Canucks and would fall to 0/1 on the night. It would take a while, but Anaheim would get rewarded for their hard work in front of the Vancouver net with another power play as Ben Hutton would take a seat on a holding call, the Ducks would be unsuccessful in scoring on their second power play opportunity of the night, despite putting up 3 shots on goal during their man advantage. Vancouver would get their first crack at a power play opportunity as they would put on some pressure, and cause Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen to take a holding call on the side of the net. The Canucks would not be able to get one past Bernier on their first man advantage of the night but would put up two shots on goal. Late in the period, the Ducks would increase their lead to three as Josh Manson would fire a shot from the point, through traffic, re-directed by Ritchie, and past Miller with just 16 seconds remaining in the period. The first period horn would sound and the Ducks would take a 3-0 lead into the locker room.
The Ducks would come storming out of the gates again putting up six shots on goal in the first five minutes of the period, and that sixth shot by Brandon Montour would give the Ducks a 4-0 lead as Miller was unable to see the point shot around Eaves and would beat him low stick side. This would mark the second goal of the career for Montour in just 22 games this season for the rookie defenseman. The Canucks would finally get their first shot on goal of the period close to the midway point of the middle frame. The Ducks would be on the receiving end of another penalty call as Ryan Kesler would get a tripping call late in the period. The Ducks would be able to kill off the penalty and keep a comfortable four goal cushion intact. The second period horn would sound and the Ducks would take a 4-0 lead into the second intermission.
This time it would be the Vancouver Canucks who came flying out of the gates as they would control most of the opening part of the third period spending most of the time in the Anaheim zone, and it would pay off early as rookie Brock Boeser would fire one past Bernier for his second goal in three games, and give the Canucks their first goal of the game. The Ducks would have an opportunity to swing the momentum in their favor as the Canucks would go short-handed for the third time tonight as Joseph LaBate would be sent to the box on a tripping minor. The Ducks, however, would be unsuccessful in converting on their third man advantage of the night, but still hold on to a three goal lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the game. The Ducks would be gifted their fourth power play of the night as Henrik Sedin would serve a minor penalty for hooking. The Ducks would play very conservatively on the power play making sure that they wouldn’t give up any unnecessary goals in the final minute of the game. The lapse at the beginning of the period would be the only one as the Ducks would play a very solid defensive game through the remainder of the third period, keeping shots to the outside, and blocking shots to help preserve that three goal lead. The final buzzer would sound and the Ducks would come out victorious and take home two points, keeping themselves ahead of the Oilers who are battling hard to take first place in the division.
Final Score: Anaheim-4 Vancouver-1
The Ducks got ahead early in this game and never looked back as Perry would open the scoring for Anaheim just 23 seconds into the match, followed up by an Eaves goal just a little over a minute after the opening tally. The Ducks really put on the pressure through the first 40 minutes of play taking a 4-0 lead into the second intermission courtesy of Ritchie, and Montour and only allowing 18 shots on goal. The Ducks officially clinched a birth in the playoffs at the second intermission as the Oilers defeated the Kings 2-1, but the Ducks would only help themselves more by finishing the job in the third period making sure they collected the much-needed two points to keep ahead of the Oilers in the pacific division race. Jonathan Bernier was fantastic in the game tonight as he allowed just one goal on 35 shots, primarily as a result of a lapse in the Anaheim D. After that first goal from Boeser in the third the Ducks really clamped down by blocking shots and doing everything necessary to secure the two points in tonight’s pivotal matchup against the Canucks.
Last night the Ducks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fifth consecutive season with their victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Edmonton Oilers were in action against the Los Angeles Kings and dispatched of them by a final of 2-1 securing their spot in the playoffs, ending a 10-year drought. The San Jose Sharks were in action against the New York Rangers and secured their spot in the playoffs by virtue of a Los Angeles Kings loss and a 5-4 OT win.
Tonight we would see another pacific division matchup as the Calgary Flames (43-29-4) would be playing host to the visiting Los Angeles Kings (35-33-7) the Kings are coming off a loss to the Edmonton Oilers last night would be looking to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over Calgary The Calgary Flames would be able to secure a birth in the playoffs with a victory over the Kings in any fashion. Other notable playoff matchups going on in the western conference tonight would be the St.Louis Blues (41-28-6) in action against the Arizona Coyotes (27-40-9) at Gila River Arena. The Blues would be able to leap-frog the Nashville Predators to take back third place in the central division as the Predators were dropped by the Bruins last night by a final score of 4-1 at TD Garden.
The travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets on Thursday, March 30th at 5 PM PT. We will have a watch party at Avila’s El Ranchito located at 182 S. Orange St., in the city of Orange! The fun starts at 5 PM!
Click below to watch the highlights of the Ducks win!
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March 29th, 2017