After a dismal showing against Buffalo, the Ducks put forth a much better effort against the Rangers and were rewarded for their work. Andrew Cogliano scored his first of the season in the first period on a great feed from the corner by Andrew Gordon. Devante Smith-Pelly also picked up an assist on the play.
The Ducks continued to throw pucks at the Rangers net but Henrik Lundqvist stood tall. He turned away chance after chance and kept the Rangers around long enough to allow Brad Richards to put a ridiculous move on Jonas Hiller and even things up with just minutes left in the third period. The Ducks continued to generate chances in OT, but were unable to solve Lundqvist. In the shootout, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Teemu Selanne all missed their first three shots, as did the Rangers' shooters. Bobby Ryan took the fourth attempt and managed to whiff so bad on his shot that it stunned everyone in the arena and trickled through a surprised Lundqvist. Hiller sprawled one last time (after making a great save against Mats Zuccarello) to deny Artem Anisimov and the Ducks came away with two points.
After the jump, we'll break down today's good, bad, and ugly.
- Anaheim delivered a much better overall effort tonight, getting solid work from all but the second line. The bottom two lines played strong once again, and Cogliano in particular played a great game where he generated some good offensive threats. The top line also did their thing, creating several prolonged possessions and quality chances.
- For the second straight game, the Ducks managed to outshoot their opposition. The Ducks' margin over the Rangers was almost 2:1 today (28 to 15) and the Ducks maintained consistent pressure throughout the game. Henrik Lundqvist is the sole reason this game was as close as it was.
- The penalty kill showed up strong, holding the Rangers off the board through five short-handed sessions. It was a group effort on the PK today, as the Ducks received solid contributions from Maxime Macenaeur, Cogliano, Gordon, and Brandon McMillan.
- The defense played much better today and the kids, Cam Fowler and Luca Sbisa, both made an impact at both ends of the rink. Sbisa in particular made several strong plays in his defensive zone while Cam's active stick created issues for the Ranger's throughout the game.
- Jonas Hiller had a strong game again, even though he gave up some rebounds. He was pretty much undressed by Brad Richards on his goal, but otherwise he played a solid game. Hiller had some issues handling the puck behind the net, but that's always been part of his MO. Overall, the vertigo issues that plagued his ability to track the puck last year seem to be behind him.
- Bobby Ryan scored the SO winner. Accident or not, he's been nails on the SO since the beginning of last season. I hope his efforts will cause Carlyle to consider moving him into his top-three shooters. [Ed. Note: We should all commend Robby on holding back his inner-fanboy in this post]
- Despite six opportunities with the man-advantage, the Ducks once again failed to convert on the Power Play. Today's effort was better than yesterday's, but the first unit still seemed too pass-happy. The second unit generated some decent chances but was also held off the board.
- I know it's almost heresy to say it, but Teemu Selanne has not looked so great through two games. I'm sure the Finnish Flash will come around soon, but right now he's trying to skate through too many guys and just generally looks a little off.
- In two games, the Ducks have only managed to score two goals. I know that we should be grateful (given our history of slow starts) but this is a team that's designed to outscore the opposition. Yes, they've face two of the best goalies in the league in Ryan Miller and Lundqvist, but the big guns have to start finding the net. The top two lines only managed six shots apiece. That's not going to cut it as the season goes on.
- In two games, the Ducks have accumulated 31 PIM. They've ended up on the better side of penalties thus far but they're still taking far too many. What's worse is that a majority of the penalties have been of the lazy variety, instead of the good goal-preventing kind. The Ducks are going to have a hard enough time getting any love from the refs; they don't need to be exacerbating things.
- (Added by Jen) PIERRE MCGUIRE BLOWS and he's on Versus/NBC Sports from now on. Blame Canada.
Overall, the trip to Europe was an acceptable one as the Ducks picked up two out of four possible points. We'll now have to wait six days to see how the Ducks show up against San Jose in the home opener.