By: Matthew Garcia
In a New Years Eve matinée match-up the Anaheim Ducks (17-14-8) will play host to the Arizona Coyotes. (9-26-5) Anaheim will be closing out a three-game home-stand in which they dropped their first decision to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 but rebounded against the Calgary Flames with a 2-1 victory and will look to continue that success and close out 2017 with a win and look to climb back into a playoff spot. This is the second of four meetings between these two teams this season, the first meeting was opening night of the 2017-2018 season and saw the Anaheim Ducks erase a 4-1 deficit and win in the waning moments of the third period thanks to Rickard Rakell who scored the go-ahead goal with less than four minutes to play in the game. Tonight’s starting goalies are John Gibson (12-12-4) for the Ducks and Antti Raanta (5-10-2) for the Coyotes.
The Ducks would begin the game with their signature shut-down line by reuniting Ryan Kesler, Jakob Silfverberg, and Andrew Cogliano. Just like in the past few games the Ducks would get on the board very early as Rakell would give the Ducks a 1-0 lead just 4:02 into the opening period as he would get a tip on the puck that Raanta would kick aside, but would go off the skate of Oliver Ekman-Larsson, under the pad of Raanta and in. A mistake midway through the period would see the Ducks go short-handed as they would be whistled for too many men on the ice and it would cost them as Brendan Perlini would fire a shot past a screened Gibson and in to tie the game up at one. 37 seconds later the Ducks would answer as Rakell would take a pass from Getzlaf before ripping it up over the blocker of Raanta and in to re-take a one-goal lead. The first period horn would sound and the Ducks would take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Shots on goal would favor Anaheim 11-7
The puck would drop on period number two and the Ducks would look to continue to pressure the Arizona defense that has had some trouble so far throughout the first period, but they would be up for the challenge only surrendering six Anaheim shots, two of which came from Ducks forward Rakell who would be looking for the hat-trick and each time Raanta would come up big on the Duck winger. The Coyotes would go on to outshoot the Ducks by a total of 10-6 in that middle frame but would not have any dangerous scoring opportunities. The second period horn would sound and the Ducks would take the same 2-1 lead that they had at the beginning of the period into the second intermission, and to this point, the only penalty that has been called was the bench minor on the Ducks for too many men on the ice midway through the opening period.
Early in the third period the Ducks would get their first power play opportunity as Jordan Martinook would be sent to the penalty box on a hooking call, however, the Ducks would be unsuccessful on the power play and the Coyotes would be gifted with an opportunity to tie the game as the Ducks would be down two men as Getzlaf and Wagner each sit in the box. The Coyotes would draw even as Clayton Keller would get a re-direct on a point shot that would find its way past Gibson. With just over eight minutes to go in the game Cam Fowler would take a pass from Silfverberg and rip it past Raanta going bar down giving the Ducks a late 3-2 lead, Kesler would get the secondary assist giving him his first point of the season in just his third game back in the Anaheim lineup. The Ducks would get the insurance tally late in the third period as Silfverberg would chop a puck between the legs of a Coyotes defenseman before ripping it over the pad of Raanta to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead with less than three minutes to play. Arizona would pull their goalie with just over 1:30 to play, but it would not be successful as Antoine Vermette would receive a pass from Kesler, potting it into the empty net giving the Ducks a 5-2 lead. The third period horn would sound and the Ducks would end 2017 with a win.
Final Score: Arizona-2 Anaheim-5
The Ducks would continue their success in the early minutes of the opening period as Rakell would pot his 13th goal of the season just 4:02 into the game, an early penalty would cost the Ducks as Perlini would notch his 10th goal of the season on the power play drawing even. It took 37 seconds for Rakell and the Ducks to take back the lead as he would notch his 14th goal of the season and his sixth goal in just five games. Some more penalties early in the third period would cost the Ducks again as a two-man advantage would not be wasted by the Coyotes as Keller would tip-in a puck past Gibson for his 14th goal of the season to tie the game just 6:52 into the final frame. The Ducks would respond well as Fowler would put the Ducks ahead 3-2 with his sixth goal of the season, and it would not end there as Silfverberg would find the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season putting the Ducks up 4-2 late in the period and Vermette would ice the game potting his seventh of the season into an empty net securing a 5-2 victory.
Anaheim Ducks (18-14-8) AT Vancouver Canucks (16-18-5) January 2, 2018, @ 7PM PT
HAPPY NEW YEAR DUCKS FANS!
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December 31st, 2017