By Aaron Francis
The Anaheim Ducks continued their road trip into Winnipeg where they faced the Jets. The Ducks were coming off a win against the Canucks and had won their last five games entering this game. The Ducks continued with Jonathan Bernier in goal and Michael Hutchinson started for the Jets.
The Ducks were able to get on the board first this period and took a one goal lead into the locker room. The Jets had an early opportunity on the Power Play this period getting Bernier right into action having to make several key saves. The Ducks, however, would be the first to score as off the faceoff win by Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg was able to wrist the puck past Hutchinson, 1-0 Ducks. The Jets would erase this lead on the penalty kill as the Ducks turned the puck over to Joel Armia who scored shorthanded for the Jets, 1-1 tie. The Jets had several opportunities on the Power Play to take the lead but Jonathan Bernier stood tall in goal to maintain the tie. Late in the period, Anaheim would strike as Antoine Vermette fed the puck to Corey Perry in front of the net who buried the goal, 2-1 Ducks. Shots at the end of the first were 15-12 Winnipeg.
The Ducks would expand their lead this period and take that lead into the third period. The Ducks went to the Power Play this period after Bryan Little was called for holding. A late entry on the Power Play by Hampus Lindholm allowed him to pass the puck to Corey Perry who walked right in towards the goal and fired a shot that beat Michael Hutchinson, 3-1 Ducks. Jared Boll and Nelson Nogier would drop the gloves after a hit by Boll. The two exchanged a few blows before Nogier was forced to the ice by Boll, both received five minutes for fighting. The Ducks had most of the pressure this period but Bernier still had to make a few key saves in order to maintain the lead. Shots at the end of the second were 26-22 Anaheim.
The Jets rallied this period tying the game and forcing the Ducks into overtime. From the drop of the puck, the game was much more open with each team getting several offensive opportunities. However, a turning point came mid way through the period where Winnipeg began to apply more of the offense. This would lead to a pass from behind the net by a speeding Nikolaj Ehlers that reached the stick of Blake Wheeler who wasted no time firing the puck past Bernier, 3-2 Ducks. The Jets maintained offensive pressure all throughout the period challenging to tie the game. Coincidental minors would be called on Josh Manson and Mathieu Perreault and the teams would skate 4-on-4. However, with just a few minutes left in the game, the Jets pulled their goalie for the extra attacker. A scramble play in front of Bernier led to the tying goal by Dustin Byfuglien that just slipped past the goal line, 3-3 tie. The play was reviewed for goalie interference but was upheld. Shots at the end of regulation were 39-28 Winnipeg.
The Jets would complete their comeback scoring and beating the Ducks in overtime. Jacob Trouba was set up in the slot and riffled the puck off the crossbar. This would lead directly to an Anaheim scoring chance that Cam Fowler shot off the post. But the game winner came when Dustin Byfuglien set up Mark Scheifele who would beat Bernier and win the game, 4-3 Jets. The final shot total was 41-28 Winnipeg.
The Ducks played a strong first half and took their foot off the gas in the final period. The last 10 minutes of regulation were completely dominated by the Jets who applied all kinds of pressure in the Ducks zone. They were able to take 17 shots on goal in the third period contested only by 2 Anaheim shots.
No matter who is in goal, the Ducks can’t rely on them to keep the one or two goal lead late in a game with that kind of offensive pressure. Anaheim did, however, manage to get a point from this game and will need to refocus as they have several tough opponents to face in the closing games of the season.
Corey Perry scored 2 goals this game bringing his season total to 18.
Jonathan Bernier started his 31st game of the season.
The Ducks maintained their Pacific Division lead with 96 points.
The Ducks will continue on their road trip into Edmonton where the will face the Oilers on Saturday at 7 pm PST.
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March 31st, 2017