By Jameson Bradley
The Anaheim Ducks won their last game before the All-Star break against the Winnipeg Jets with a 4-3 shootout win at home. After a well-deserved break, their first game back was the start of a five-game road trip starting in Boston. The last time these teams played, it was in Anaheim and the Ducks got the win beating the Bruins 4-2. They looked to make it two wins against Boston on the season, and to further continue their climb up the Pacific Division standings on Tuesday night. Boston would play without the talents of Brad Marchand, who is having a career year but will miss the next 5 games due to a suspension. Did we mention the Bruins have points in 18 straight games?
The game started quickly with a penalty against Ryan Kesler 27 seconds in. The Bruins failed to convert and play continued on fairly choppy in the following minutes. The Ducks finally got something, with a bit of luck on their side, when Cam Fowler skated into the offensive zone and lobbed a backhander toward Boston goalie Anton Khudobin. The puck seemed to bounce off Khudobin who went to cover it, but it seemed to get tangled up with Jakob Silfverberg and Zdeno Chara. The puck bounced off Chara and into the net. With a greasy goal, the Ducks go up 1-0. Silfverberg got credit for the goal with the helpers going to Fowler and Getzlaf. About 13 minutes into the game the Ducks went on the power play with a penalty against Torey Krug. Some nice keep in work helped Adam Henrique to capitalize on the man-advantage and the Ducks went up 2-0 with the assists going to Fowler and Rakell.
The Ducks seemed to have things fall their way when they basically started the 2nd with a powerplay, but some sloppy play would allow for some 4-on-4 play until the Bruins would go on a powerplay. For most of the man advantage, the Ducks played on the defensive and couldn’t get out of the zone. But fortunately, the Bruins couldn’t capitalize. For most of the period, the Ducks got some great looks even though the Bruins seemed to take their game up a notch by sending players to the net. Though with every good look the Ducks got they seemed to pass one too many times and end up not getting a shot on net. The Bruins got another powerplay to finish out the period but couldn’t capitalize. The period ended with the same score as the first 2-0.
The Ducks started the 3rd period with a bit of a scare. Gibson seemed to take a shot wrong and needed a couple minutes to collect himself. The Bruins finished the powerplay without a goal but kept pushing to get that trailing goal. With about 7:25 left in the period the problem with John Gibson persisted and he left and went straight to the locker room. The same thing happened in the last game against the Jets, and with 7:25 left in the third Ryan Miller came in to secure the win. A few minutes after the switch Nick Ritchie delivered a crushing shoulder to shoulder hit on David Backes. The hit seemed to be clean and there was no call on the ice. The Bruins continued to push and ended up getting a power play with just under 3 minutes to go because of a little altercation between Getzlaf and Chara. Things got tense for a couple minutes, especially when Boston scored with about 40 seconds left to make it 2-1 Anaheim, but Adam Henrique scored an empty-netter with 10 seconds left to make the final score 3-1.
The Ducks played a strong game. Although Boston got some strong chances, and almost evened it up in the end by breaking the shutout, the Ducks held them off. Its a great sign especially after the break and at the start of a huge road trip. What the Ducks need to do is start applying some offensive pressure when they get the lead. They need to stop sitting back and basically waiting for the other team to tie it up. Without Miller coming in strong in those final 7 minutes, the game could have easily tilted the other way. Hopefully, they can clean up that type of play, because besides that the Anaheim Ducks seem to be playing for keeps.
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January 31st, 2018