By Michael Walters
The teams traded penalties early in the first period, but neither time converted. The Ducks struck first when Ondrej Kase found Nick Ritchie, who chipped the puck just over Howard’s shoulder for the opening score. Luke Witkowski delivered a big hit on Cam Fowler, which Ritchie took exception too. Shortly after the play Ritchie and Witkowsi dropped the gloves. Detroit did strike back as Mike Green tied the game up in the final minutes of the period. Detroit led 11-9 in shots, but the score was tied 1-1 after the first period.
Early in the middle frame, Derek Grant scored what appeared to be the go-ahead goal, but the play had to be reviewed. The Ducks crashed the net and the loose puck came to Grant, who fired it into a sprawled out Howard. The initial call on the ice was a goal and upon review, it was upheld. Detroit tied up the game again as Gustav Nyquist scored a few minutes later. Towards the end of the period, Corey Perry tied the game as he tapped in a backhand pass from Ryan Getzlaf. Things then got heated as two fights broke out in the final minute of the period. First Perry and Abdelkader dropped the gloves.
Both teams mellowed out in the final frame. Ryan Kesler did get a goal to extend the Ducks lead by two. Anaheim had a late penalty called and Detroit pulled Howard for the 6-on-4 advantage in the final minutes of the game. The Ducks held off Detroit and won 4-2.
The Ducks came through in another must-win game. It was Friday fight night at Honda Center as Ritchie, Perry, and Kesler all got into bouts during this game. They each also scored goals as well. This game was reminiscent of when Detroit used to play in the Western Conference as the intensity was high in this contest. The Ducks got a goal from each of their forward lines providing a balanced attack throughout this game. Save this game in your memory banks, this emotional fueled win could be what pushes the Ducks down the stretch and into the playoffs.
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March 17th, 2018