The game was getting ugly fast, and quickly could have gotten out of control. But after losing Dustin Penner to a dirty hit, the Ducks rallied together and won their 7th game in a row!
The Ducks had another fast start, another explosive night offensively, and another strong performance from their netminder. While far from a perfect game (or a clean one for that matter), the Ducks put together a strong performance in the final 2 periods and scored 5 unanswered goals. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't pretty, but it was a win, and that's what matters. Also, I want to say congrats to Jack Campbell. I was in LA when he was drafted, so it was really cool to watch his 1st career game. Even though he got burned for 6 goals, they weren't his fault. He let in no bad goals and I thought overall played well in his 1st game.
As always, I'll start with the negatives, and the 1st thing I have to touch upon is the 2nd half o the 1st period. The Ducks started strong, but once the Stars scored on a 2 on 1 break, they kept scoring. 2 tipped shots later (1 off of Beauchemin on just an unlucky goal), and the Stars had a 2 goal lead after the 1st period. While the Ducks weren't bad, the Stars were the superior team. They skated harder and worked harder and got rewarded for it. Also, the Ducks top line was not putting good pressure on the Stars in the 1st period. For the Ducks to be successful, Perry and Getzlaf have to be better than they were to start this game.
And going along with the end of the 1st period, the Ducks had almost no puck luck in the 1st period. They had 2 goals that bounced in passed Hiller that he had no chance on and Cam Fowler hit the knob of Campbell's stick.
Dallas Stars forward Ryan Garbutt laid a high hit on Dustin Penner in the 2nd period. He left his feet and the primary point of contact was the head. The refs missed it (I don't blame them, I wish they had seen it, but I get that they can't see every hit), but that was a bad hit. Penner was down on the ice and needed help getting off of the ice. I won't be shocked if he is concussed. Garbutt needs to be suspended for that hit. It was dangerous and unnecessary. I will be disgusted if he isn't suspended.
The Ducks pk let a goal in. While only allowing 1 goal may seem a bit harsh to put in the negative, but considering how good the Ducks penalty has been on this homestand, it's disappointing.
Sami Vatanen is a young NHL defenseman. He is going to make mistakes, maybe a lot of them, and I'm ok with that. Mistakes can be good learning experiences. But one of them led to the 1st goal for the Stars tonight. He pinched and no one covered for him. I'm fine with him making mistakes, I'm fine with those mistakes leading to goals. But when that happens, I am going to have to put that down as a negative for. He's young and still learning, and this doesn't change the fact that I'm really excited for what he's going to be, or how well he played for the most of the rest of the game.
Other than a bad stretch in the 1st period, the Ducks played a strong game. Coming into the 2nd period, the Ducks were down 3-1. Less than a minute later, Ryan Getzlaf changed all that. And he is the 1st positive that I have to talk about. He assisted on Teemu's 1st period goal, but was not a difference maker for the 1st 20 minutes. That all changed in the 2nd period. He came out pissed, and it showed. He cut into the zone, and zipped a perfect pass to Perry who deflected it for a goal. And what a pass. That was more of a shot than a pass in terms of how fast the puck was moving. He then picked up his 3rd assist of the night when passed the puck to Fowler who shot it from the point. The puck hit something, right now the goal is credited to Perry, but I'm not convinced, and it went in the net. Finally, he scored the Ducks 5th goal of the game off of a great passing play from Perry and Palmieri to give him 4 points on the night. During the 2nd intermission he said that they were going to win for Penner, and he went out and did just that.
After 20 minutes of hockey, the Ducks pulled goalie Jonas Hiller. None of the goals were his fault, but I think that Boudreau wanted to wake the Ducks up. So in came Frederik Andersen. With Viktor Fasth injured, Andersen was the backup tonight. And he played a great game. In 40 minutes of action he saw 24 shots and stopped them all. There were a few times when I was worried, but I thought that he played a great game. This was his 1st NHL action, and it won't be his last. The Ducks currently have 2 starting caliber goalies, but he is waiting in the wings, ready to be the teams backup. And if keeps playing this well, it is going to allow the Ducks to deal one of their goalies in order to upgrade them at another position. He will probably be back in Norfolk soon, where he has put up some excellent numbers this season.
Bruce Boudreau made a great decision tonight. Hiller played well, but the Ducks were down by 2 and hadn't played a great period of hockey. So he decided to send a message to the team by switching goalies, and it worked. The Ducks woke up and scored 5 unanswered goals against the Stars. Great coaching move by him.
The Ducks had 5 powerplay chances tonight, and they scored on 2 of them. Unsurprisingly, it was Teemu Selanne (now on a 3 game goal scoring streak) who got the ball rolling. Perry had the 2nd goal, deflecting Fowler's point shot. As I've said before, the Ducks have looked good on the powerplay, they just haven't been rewarded. Tonight, they finally got that reward. And beyond the 2 that they scored on, the Ducks had some great chances on the other powerplays. Hopefully the Ducks pp will start scoring more often now.
Another game, another fast start. Every single game of this homestand the Ducks have scored 1st, and tonight's goal was less than 3 minutes into the game. And while they weren't able to hold onto the momentum of this goal this time around, it's still a great stat for the Ducks to hang their hat on.
In the 1st period, the bounces did not go the Ducks way. That all changed in the latter 40 minutes. Both of Perry's goals were deflections, as were Etem's and Perreault's. It was nice to see the Ducks get rewarded for their hard work and effort.
Emerson Etem played another great game, especially while the Ducks were shorthanded. The difference is that this time he got rewarded for his efforts. He brought the puck into the Stars zone while the Ducks were shorthanded and took a shot. Cogliano recovered the puck and Etem crashed the net. Cogliano fed him the puck and Etem deflected the puck for his 1st goal of the season, and 1st career shorthanded goal. And if he keeps playing like this, it will be the 1st of many. That goal put the Ducks up for good and ended up being the game winner.
After Penner went down, Palmieri took his spot on the top line and played well. He did a great job to penetrate the Stars zone and not turn the puck over. He hesitated and gave Perry a great pass, eventually leading Getzlaf's goal. If Penner is out for an extended period, hopefully he will keep playing like this.
Hampus Lindholm had his shot blocked at the blueline, and the Stars player raced in on Andersen on a clean breakway. But Lindholm didn't give up on the play. He skated hard and dove and managed to knock the puck away. It was a great recovery play by the young defenseman. He's made some mistakes in his 1st 6 games as a Duck, but what has impressed me the most is how he has done a great job at fixing them, or at least not letting them be as bad as they could be.
The Ducks fell behind early tonight, but they rallied around each other and stormed back into the game, scoring 5 unanswered goals. The Ducks are now 5-0 at home and have a 7 game winning streak. It's a good thing too because the Ducks are about to embark on an 8 game road trip, which I will post a short preview of tomorrow. For now, the Ducks can enjoy their 7-1 mark on the season, good for 14 points through the teams 1st 8 games, matching the clubs best start in franchise history.