By: Matthew Garcia
Last night the Anaheim Ducks (8-7-3) would be closing their five-game homestand, and would also be on the front end of back-to-back games starting with the visiting Florida Panthers (7-10-2) the Panthers and Ducks have met once already this season in Sunrise, FL in which the Panthers routed the Ducks by a final score of 8-3 so no doubt the Ducks have revenge on their minds entering tonight’s contest. The starting goaltenders for the game would be John Gibson for Anaheim and Roberto Luongo for Florida.
The puck would drop to begin the action on a very special night in Southern California as Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya would be honored prior to the game to celebrate their induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Ducks would hope to give fans something to cheer about early on as they would be given a power play just 24 seconds in as Keith Yandle would be given the gate on a tripping minor. However, the Ducks would be unable to convert on their first opportunity of the night and would drop to 0/1 on the power play. Four minutes in recently recalled player Mike Liambas would drop the gloves with Michael Haley, and each player would get some good shots in before Liambas throws Haley to the ice. The fight would really spark the Panthers bench as they would dictate play for a majority of the opening period and out-shoot Anaheim 15-5 through the next 14 minutes. Late in the period Ducks defenseman, Josh Manson would block a shot from Jonathan Huberdeau and be off to the races and would make some slick moves before sliding a puck past a sprawled out Luongo to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead with just over a minute in the period. Florida would out-shoot Anaheim 16-6 in the opening period but it would be Anaheim heading into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Early in the second period, it would be the Panthers turn to get a crack on the power play as Liambas would be given a roughing penalty just 2:41 into the middle frame. Huberdeau thought that he had gotten the tying goal on the power play, but the goal would be reviewed by Toronto and was determined that the puck was knocked in with a high-stick and the call would be overturned and would remain 1-0 Ducks. Just over one minute into their power play the Panthers would be penalized as Aleksander Barkov would be called for tripping against Nick Ritchie. The Ducks would have just over one minute of power play time, but that is all they would need as Rickard Rakell would accept a nice pass from Chris Wagner before roofing it over Luongo to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead 5:22 into the second period. Later in the period, the Panthers would get on the board as Vincent Trocheck would find the puck off a blocked shot from Andrew Cogliano before ripping it past the glove hand of Gibson into the top corner of the net to cut the lead in half on the power play. The second period horn would sound and the Ducks would take a 2-1 lead into the locker room, the Panthers would once again out-shoot Anaheim 12-11.
The Ducks enter the final period of play just 20 minutes away from securing two points and would be given an opportunity to increase their one-goal lead just 27 seconds into the final frame as Trocheck would inadvertently fire the puck over the glass, and out of play resulting in a delay-of-game penalty. The Ducks wouldn’t waste any time as Corey Perry would fire a puck on net that would go off of Luongo to the side of the net where defenseman Brandon Montour would locate the loose puck and fire a slap shot past Luongo to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead, and their second power play goal of the night. Anaheim would begin taking careless penalties and would rely on their goaltender to bail them out of tough situations, and they would get just that as Gibson would stand tall robbing several Panthers players on grade A scoring opportunities in front of the Anaheim net. It wouldn’t be until the 17:01 mark of the final period where the Panthers would break through as Yandle would fire a point shot that would go past a screened Gibson. Carlyle would go on to challenge the play for goaltender interference, but upon further review, it was deemed that there was no contact with the goaltender and therefore the goal would stand with just under three minutes to play in the game. Gibson would hold the fort for the Ducks as the final horn would sound and the Ducks would win by a final score of 3-2.
In a game that would be heavily dominated by the Panthers, the Ducks would once again rely on the goaltending of John Gibson to help secure the two points and keep them within striking distance in the Pacific division. Gibson would be up for the task as he would turn away 50 of 52 shots that he faced against a Panthers team that has found a lot of success against the Anaheim Ducks as they swept the season series last year and routed the Ducks in Florida just over a month ago. Rickard Rakell would find the back of the net once again potting his seventh goal of the season, but Brandon Montour would stay on his tail potting his sixth goal of the season. If the Ducks are to stay afloat in the standings during this stretch with so many key players out they will need the continued success from players like Rakell, Montour. Plus the depth scoring will need to continue to flow from players like Derek Grant, and Andrew Cogliano. However, they will need to figure out how to shore up their back-end a bit to allow less shots on net per game as this is the third time this season that Gibson would have to turn away 50 or more shots.
John Gibson is 4-0-0 this season when facing 40 or more shots.
Anaheim Ducks (9-7-3) @ San Jose Sharks (10-8-0) Monday night 7:30PM PT
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!
November 19th, 2017