By Jameson Bradley
The Ducks played an extremely strong and impressive 1st period. Fast exits out of their zone, and great entrances into the Dallas zone gave them some great opportunities. Antoine Roussel got called for holding about 8 minutes in and the Ducks were quick to capitalize on the power play opportunity. With an initial shot from Ryan Getzlaf going off Ben Bishop, Hampus Lindholm was quick to cash in on a juicy rebound making it 1-0 Ducks. The play for the rest of the period was pretty choppy, it seemed like the puck couldn’t really sit well on anyone’s stick. The Ducks played a great period, besides a give away right in front of Ryan Miller. The period ended with the Ducks up 1-0.
The Ducks had a great start to the 2nd period. They had a great sequence to start with some great keep in’s but no goals to change the score. There was a slight scare when a puck popped over Miller’s stick and hit Josh Manson in front of the net. The puck then bounced back onto Miller and provided quite a scare but was handled well. The period progressed with some extremely fast play and some physical hits. There wasn’t too much action for Miller but when he was called up to play well he did great. The best look the Stars got all period was a wrap around opportunity by Alexander Radulov. The Ducks got two power play opportunities, but nothing came from them with the first one looking pretty awful. The period ended 1-0 with the Ducks still on top.
The Ducks came out to start the 3rd period and basically went straight to the penalty box. In a five minute span they were called on four different penalties, with two of them being a delay of game. For over two and a half the Stars had a 5 on 3 power play opportunity and couldn’t convert. They had some incredible looks but Miller basically stood on his head and had some great help getting the puck out of the zone. Besides a few close calls and a couple pucks going off the post, the Ducks capitalized as much they could and even got a short-handed goal for it. Ryan Getzlaf, who just came out of the penalty box, chipped the puck over the defense and caught them at a bad angle beating them to the puck and getting it away from Ben Bishop. From there it was just a matter of shooting at an empty net. Going up 2-0 the Ducks continued to provide some excellent looks and didn’t cover up defensively. For the last couple minutes it was all Dallas in the Ducks zone and Miller just couldn’t be beat. The Ducks went on to win the game 2-0 and Miller got his 3rd shutout of the season. The game ended with the shots in favor of Dallas 41-17
Is this the same team we have been watching all season? Maybe its the fact that the Ducks feel more comfortable with Miller in net, or something they ate for breakfast but this was the best game I have seen them play all season. They provided offense for most of the game, only to shield up defensively the last couple minutes. They took opportunities when they could, except for a couple bad power plays. They could have given up when the penalties didn’t go their way at the beginning of the 3rd, but they kept pushing and got a goal out of it. Ryan Miller played one of the best games of his career and the Ducks would not be walking out of the arena with a W without him. If the Ducks play like this going down the stretch they will be a force to be reckoned with.
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February 22nd, 2017