By: Matthew Garcia
Last night marked the final edition of the freeway face-off as the Los Angeles Kings were in Anaheim to take on the Ducks. Anaheim has a chance to clinch their fifth straight division title with just a single point against the Kings. If the Ducks lose, the Canucks would need to defeat the Oilers in any fashion for Anaheim to clinch the division. The starting goalies would be Jonathan Bernier for the Ducks and Jonathan Quick for the Kings.
The Ducks wasted no time in getting this game going as Ryan Getzlaf would take an errant pass that landed in the feet of Anze Kopitar in the neutral zone, storm into the attacking zone where he would send a pass to Patrick Eaves who would bury it high glove on Quick to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into the game. The Ducks would get their first power play opportunity as Trevor Lewis would take a seat for an Illegal check to the head on Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour, the Ducks would not be able to convert on the man advantage due to the fact that it was not a full two minutes as Eaves would be on the receiving end of a tripping call. Teams would play four-on-four for 40 seconds before LA would embark on their first power play of the night, or so they thought. 21 seconds later Jeff Carter would head to the penalty box for a cross-check on Montour. Ducks would have a four-on-three power play for 19 seconds but would be unable to convert, but before the Ducks could play five-on-four Shea Theodore would be whistled for holding. After the parade to the box ended the Kings began their first power play opportunity and would not waste it as a point shot from Doughty would get past Bernier for the game-tying goal. Late in the period, the Ducks thought that they had taken the lead off a shot from Andrew Cogliano, but was ruled no goal on the ice. After a lengthy review, the call on the ice would stand as it was deemed inconclusive. The first period horn would sound and the Ducks would head to the intermission in a 1-1 tie.
Los Angeles would get their second power play chance early as Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen would send a puck over the glass resulting in a delay of game penalty. Anaheim would not stumble on this penalty kill as they stood tall and killed off the penalty keeping the game even at one apiece. Ducks would see something troubling as Eaves would fall hard in front of the LA net and would immediately report to the Anaheim locker room. The Ducks, however, would head to the power play for the third time courtesy of a too many men on the ice penalty levied against LA, the Ducks would get off to a slow start with this power play but with some favorable bounces Antoine Vermette would find a loose puck in front of the net and slam it past Quick for a 2-1 lead near the halfway point of the game. The Kings would get a chance to answer as Ondrej Kase would be called for interference, the Kings power play would be nullified 1:26 in as Doughty would take a seat for tripping as Logan Shaw would corral a loose puck in front of the Anaheim bench before being upended. Anaheim would be unsuccessful on their fourth man advantage of the night but would maintain their one-goal lead. Los Angeles would draw even at the 15:56 mark as Kyle Clifford, who was all alone in front of the net would re-direct a shot past Bernier to knot the game up at two. Anaheim would get a late power play as Carter would take a seat for two minutes on an interference call, the Ducks would not be able to get their power play going and would drop to 1/5 on the man advantage tonight. With less than 10 seconds left in the period, Chris Wagner would introduce himself to Jake Muzzin in the neutral zone and run him over in between the two benches to end the second period. Teams head to the intermission tied at two.
Rickard Rakell would get a grade A scoring chance as he would gather a puck in the neutral zone before dancing around three different King players only to be robbed by Quick on what would’ve been a highlight reel goal. The Kings would get a chance to obtain their first lead of the game as Corey Perry would head to the penalty box on a goaltender interference call, thanks to some solid goaltending from Bernier the Ducks were able to kill off the penalty to keep even. Kings forward Nick Shore would get two prime scoring opportunities in front of the Anaheim net but would be held off the score sheet due to huge saves by Bernier. The Kings persistence would pay off as Dustin Brown would redirect a point shot from Derek Forbort past Bernier to give LA their first lead of the night. With under 8:30 to go in the game Nate Thompson would re-direct a shot-pass from Montour in past Quick for his very first goal of the season and more importantly the game-tying goal. The Ducks would be content in taking this game to overtime and would do just that. The third period horn sounds and we will head to overtime tied at three.
*Ducks claim fifth consecutive pacific division title*
The Ducks would begin the 3-on-3 overtime period with Kesler, Silfverberg, and Lindholm while the Kings would begin with Carter, Doughty, and Kopitar. The Ducks are 2-10 in the overtime session this year, the Ducks who claimed their fifth consecutive division title are looking to finish the regular season on a high note. They would do just that as Rakell would find a streaking Theodore through the neutral zone and deliver a saucer pass onto the tape, and Theodore would rip it bar down past Quick for the game-winning goal in overtime.
Final Score: Kings-3 Ducks-4
Heading into the contest, the Ducks needed just a single point to clinch their fifth consecutive division title. Patrick Eaves would lead off the scoring early for his 32nd goal of the season, while Antoine Vermette would score his 9th, Nate Thompson who was responsible for getting this game to overtime scored his first goal of the season, and the overtime hero Shea Theodore notched his second goal of the season. Ryan Getzlaf would notch three assists, and Rickard Rakell would notch two of his own. Jonathan Bernier backstopped Anaheim to victory by turning aside 15 of the 18 shots that he faced.
Round 1, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Anaheim Ducks will play host to the Calgary Flames this Thursday. Here is the entire first round schedule.
Game 1: Thursday, April 13th, 7:30 PM PT, at Honda Center
Game 2: Saturday, April 15th, 7:30 PM PT, at Honda Center
Game 3: Monday, April 17th, 7 PM PT, at Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 4: Wednesday, April 19th, 7 PM PT, at Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 5: Friday, April 21st, TBD, at Honda Center
Game 6: Sunday, April 23rd, TBD, at Scotiabank Saddledome
Game 7: Tuesday, April 25th, TBD, at Honda Center
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April 10th, 2017