The Ducks have been absolutely dominant at home this season, losing only twice, and never in regulation. The looked to extend that home dominance against the Canucks tonight, but ran into a goalie playing out of his mind, combine that with a terrible 1st period, and the Ducks almost lost the game. But a late goal in the 3rd tied the game, and then a goal with seconds left in overtime sent the Ducks on to their 17th home win of the season, and 31st win of the season overall.
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Before I get to how the Ducks did, I have to talk about Eddie Lack. The Ducks should have won this game in regulation, if not in the 2nd period. The launched shot after shot at him, and he stopped almost all. The Ducks fired 49 shots his way, and he stopped 45 of them. And many of his saves were on great chances from some of the Ducks top offensive players. He was unbelievable tonight and the best player of the game.
And to begin, what went wrong for the Ducks tonight, and as has been the case in many of their recent games, that 1st period was truly awful. It was beyond awful, easily one of the worst periods that the Ducks have played all season. They weren't skating, they weren't shooting (only 5 shots on goal in the entire period, and 2 through the 1st 15 minutes of play), and just looked terrible on the ice. The Ducks were out shot 12-5 in the opening period, and out chanced 8-1. Vancouver looked like a team that had won the Presidents Trophy and been to the Stanley Cup Finals in recent years, while the Ducks looked worse than Edmonton did a couple days ago.
Next, the Ducks penalty kill, especially in the 1st period, was terrible. To make it worse, Vancouver's powerplay is in the bottom 10 in the league and has been struggling lately. And despite the Canucks struggles with the extra man, they struck twice against the Ducks on the powerplay, including their 1st 2 chances. And, to make matters worse, the 2nd penalty against the Ducks was a too many men on the ice penalty. That's an unacceptable penalty for this team to take. They need to clean up their game and have a better penalty kill going forward.
And that's the bad, after the 1st period, the Ducks really turned things around. Pretty much the rest of the game (all 45 minutes of it) was great Ducks hockey. So I'll start with the 2nd period. The 3rd line started things off (and it had a new lineup again, this time it was Koivu and Cogliano with Silfverberg, a combination that has been tried earlier this season) and they paid instant dividends. Just seconds into the period, the Ducks sent the puck deep into the zone, Cogliano and Koivu both forechecked and the puck came to Silfverberg in the slot. He instantly shot the puck, Koivu tipped it, and the Ducks had cut the Canucks lead in half just 24 seconds into the 2nd period. And the Ducks didn't stop there, they just kept coming and coming and Vancouver had no answer for them. Finally, Kyle Palmieri made a great play. He blocked a point shot, took the puck and skated down the ice, and Matt Beleskey was right behind. Palmieri made a perfect backhand saucer pass into the slot and Beleskey banged it home, and the game was tied at 2. And the Ducks just didn't stop there. In the 2nd period, the Ducks out shot Vancouver 20-2 overall, and at one point had a 18-0 shot advantage.
The Ducks may have been even better in the 3rd. Although the Canucks did score early to take a 3-2 lead, they put even more pressure on the Canucks after that point. Shift after shift the Ducks kept coming and the Canucks had no answer. After their goal, Vancouver had almost no pressure on Hiller the rest of the period. While they had a few more shots, and one great one in the final minutes, the Ducks just kept the puck almost the entire period and put so much pressure on the Canucks. They had no answer. The Ducks played like an elite team and took over the game. And the Ducks were finally rewarded when Nick Bonino tied the game at 3 with just 1:27 left in the 3rd. The Canucks were trying to clear the puck, but Daniel Winnik intercepted the puck and centered it to Bonino and he just blew it by Lack. It was a great play by the 2 of them and a nice reward for 2 players who had a great game.
The game went to overtime, enter Corey Perry. He had chance after chance all game long. Sometimes he was trying to force the issue too much, but he hadn't scored in the last 7 games and was anxious to find the back of the net again. And after Bonino had drawn a penalty (after a great play where he stole the puck from one of the Sedins and skated in alone, only to be slashed to draw the call), Perry didn't leave the ice. And it looked like the game was about to go to a shootout because the Canucks had cleared the puck out of their zone with just seconds left. But the Ducks didn't give up and Getzlaf through the puck up to Perry and he entered the zone and just shot the puck and beat Lack. It was a bit of a trickler shot, but it beat Lack and the Ducks won the game with seconds left on the clock. It was an exciting end to an incredibly exciting game (from a Ducks standpoint) and the Ducks went home happy.
The Ducks played a terrible 1st period, but turned the jets on after that and if not for Lack's performance in net would have put this game away well before overtime. And with that last second dramatic win the Ducks climbed to 17-0-2 at home this season. The Ducks next game is at home against Boston before they head back out on the road. Hopefully they can continue their strong home play against one of the Eastern Conferences stronger teams.
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