The first period and half the second never happened. Ok, maybe they did happen, but they were played by imposters claiming to be the Anaheim Ducks. We've seen these imposters on and off over the last month. They would leave their goalie out to fend for himself as they continuously turned the puck over from the numerous passes they would make. The imposters were lucky that the Kings were only able to find the back of the net once when Mike Richards scored a 5-on-3 power play goal in the early second. From that point, it looked like the Kings were ready to break out and the fake Ducks were going to sit idly by.
Yet, in the second half of the game, the actual Ducks showed up. These are the Ducks that went back to doing the simple things that made them such a threat in the first place: play physical, allow the power play to dominate, and get in front of the net. With under 3:30 to play, the Ducks power play took over, and did what we've expected them to do all along - score. Not only did they score, by they did it quickly by taking only 9 seconds of power play time to put their first tally on the board. The goal is currently credited to Teemu Selanne, but watching the replay, I have to believe that it will be switched to Corey Perry. Going into overtime, Jonas Hiller continued to play incredibly strong, only to fall in the shoot-out to a ridiculous snap shot by Justin Williams.
The Ducks should not be frustrated by tonight's outcome, and will have their chance to makeup for the lost point tomorrow night against the same team. Anaheim needs to build confidence. Selanne/Perry's last minutes heroics should be incredible motivation to keep working hard.
-- There was a goal earlier in the third that was disallowed because Ryan Getzlaf touched the puck with his glove, barely missing his stick, as it went in the goal. Had this happened on the road trip that would never end, the Ducks would have been visibly shaken, and likely play miserable the rest of the game. This was not the case tonight. They continued to push the Kings back into their own zone, and create as many scoring chances as possible.
-- Speaking of Ryan Getzlaf (and since the first period and a half didn't happen), he had a fantastic game. Tonight we saw flashes of the incredible Ryan Getzlaf that endeared us to him many years ago. He was physical (5 hits), yet controlled his emotions. He was trying to score!! Usually when Getzy is used in the shoot-out, I consider that a lost attempt. Tonight, I thought no different and was sure that Getz couldn't answer for the goal Jared Stoll just scored on Jonas Hiller. Much to my surprise, the planets aligned and Getzlaf scored! Another thing of astonishment as I look at the boxscore, Ryan Getzlaf had the best face-off percentage on the Ducks with 65% winners. A vast improvement from the 30 to 40% he's been hovering around the last few games.
-- I was a little concerned about Jonas Hiller early in the game. The Kings were getting dozens of chances, and the Ducks were lucky they either outright missed or hit the post(s). Rebounds were bouncing off Hiller like crazy, but he held it together stopping 36 of 37 shots. Depending how Dan Ellis' groin feels at the morning skate tomorrow, Jonas will probably get the night off.
-- Penalty kill remains solid by only giving up 1 goal on a 5-on-3. It's not like the Kings didn't have their chances with 8 power plays in the game.
-- I just thought this was weird: all the Ducks shots on goal (24) were registered by jersey numbers 4 (Cam Fowler) through 19 (Jean-Francois Jacques). No shots from number 21 (Sheldon Brookbank) through number 77 (Devante Smith-Pelly).
-- The Ducks had 19 giveaways to the Kings 11. The top offenders were Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu with 3 each.
-- The power play may have scored the most important goal of the game, but it took 7 tries to get there. They are still having trouble setting up. Plus the first unit is having to adjust to having Koivu instead of Lubo. Koivu flies around a little bit quicker than Lubo did.
-- Bobby Ryan is still struggling. He had his moments where he looked good, but I still see him trying to be too fancy. He's carrying the puck through defenders trying to slip it through their legs, or he's going for a spin-o-rama when a boring straight line goal would work. One thing that he should be getting used to is being with Perry and Getzlaf more consistently. He hasn't been shuffled around the lineup quite as often.
-- I am sticking to the whole "first period and a half didn't happen thing", but I would suggest the Ducks try to duplicate their second half effort throughout the entire game.
-- Mike Richards and Anze Kopitar are kind of scary. 7 shots EACH tonight. That can't happen again tomorrow.
-- JF Jacques played 3:15. He was not called upon to fight giant zombie Kyle Clifford (look up his picture).
-- Only one: Dude. Kurtis Foster in the shootout? At least put a forward out there, even stone-hands Andrew Cogliano. The giant Foster isn't a puck handler. He's a slap shot, one-timer kind of guy. That was almost uncomfortable to watch.