Pregame: It was really cool to see the Ducks come onto the ice in their eggplant and jade throwback uniforms, but I'm not going to lie, I had a few really strange flashbacks when seeing certain numbers on those jerseys. The first instinctive reaction I had when I saw Kyle Palmieri's #21 was Dan Bylsma, though that was quickly erased as soon as he took a shot and it wasn't a complete muffin. I also thought of Jason Krog for a split second before realizing #10 is now Corey Perry for some reason.
Bobby Ryan got a nice ovation as he came off the ice for warm up, and I was semi-surprised that he didn't get some kind of official tribute on the score board. That honor seems to be reserved for only returning Stanley Cup winners, which makes sense.
Wild Wing did, in fact, repel from the rafters (very slowly) tonight, although he predictably did not jump through a hoop of fire. After a couple minutes of unexplained delay, the majority of the inaugural 1993-94 team was announced one by one, with Guy Hebert and Stu Grimson getting the loudest recognition. Obviously.
The alumni assembled for the ceremonial puck drop and it was time for some real hockey!
First Period Recap: One of the best things about the pregame pomp and circumstance was that it allowed everyone to take their seats in time for puck drop, creating an incredible atmosphere when Perry put the Mighty Ducks up 1-0 only 27 seconds into the game. Immediately off of the faceoff Patrick Maroon found Perry in the slot and he wasted no time in whipping it past Craig Anderson, who never got set for the shot.
Andrew Cogliano and Kyle Palmieri each had breakaways in the subsequent three minutes to get the crowd going even crazier. Then Ryan Getzlaf picked up a puck that had been shot by Hampus Lindholm, bounced off of Teemu Selanne's skate and made it 2-0 less than five minutes into the game.
I would say it was like a playoff atmosphere, but there was something different about it. There wasn't the intensity of a playoff game, it was sheer joy from 17,000 plus. I'm going for the Back to the Future theme today so it was kind of like when Marty gets back to 1985 and life is just better for his whole family, but it was more like the end of Ghostbusters 2 when Ray and Janosz are covered in the happy slime.
While the fans were reveling in the glory, Paul MacLean took his time out and swapped goalies. Inevitably the game settled down after that perfect start, but the Ducks continued to carry the play for most of the period.
The Ducks got the first power play of the game when Chris Neil tripped Sami Vatanen. During the man advantage, Mark Methot cross checked Teemu, who fell awkwardly into the boards. A few Ducks gave Methot the old George McFly "Hey you, get your damn hands off [him]!" treatment, but cooler heads prevailed and the Ducks went onto a 5-on-3. The power play looked good, with a few scoring chances and some really dangerous cross ice passes, but shockingly (not) weren't able to convert.
With less than a minute remaining in the first, Bobby Ryan slipped away from Bryan Allen, received a pass from Kyle Turris (as he was taken off of the top line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek early on) and slammed the puck into a WIDE OPEN net. Naturally he got some boos from the faithful, but there were a few polite claps as well.
The period ended 2-1 for the Mighty ones, with the incomprehensible shot count of Ottawa 12, Anaheim 24 (!!!!!)
Second Period Recap: After one period it was clear that the Sens weren't just going to roll over like the Rangers did on Thursday, but the Ducks just kept coming at them. Only 3:18 into the middle frame, Perry scored again. This time set up by a gorgeous play by Lindholm. The 19-year-old Swede jumped into the play at center ice stole the puck like it was a child's scooter, turned skateboard and flew into the zone and laid a PERFECT backhand pass off for Perry to one time into an open net.
Only a few minutes later Perry had his best opportunity at the hat trick, and .... well.... it's just too pretty to describe. Watch for yourself:
It's a good thing Perry's a true professional, because I just don't think I could take that kind of rejection. Save of the year candidate is an understatement for what Lehner did there. In fact, based on that save alone I would give him the job of backing up Henrik Lundqvist for Sweden in the Olympics.
Turris showed off some serious stick handling throughout the game, but put on his best display to get around Lindholm for Ottawa's best chance of the second period. Jonas Hiller made the resulting save look routine though.
With about five minutes left in the period, Nick Bonino made it 4-1 as the result of a faceoff that he actually lost. Jean-Gabriel Pageau pulled the puck back, but not far enough to get it to one of his D-men, so with the puck floating in no man's land Bonino hopped around Pageu grabbed it and roofed it over Lehner's shoulder.
Third Period Recap: For the Ducks the third period was a waiting game. They allowed Ottawa to have the puck more than in the first two periods, and looked to spring on the counter with Andrew Cogliano and Emerson Etem pushing forward.
There was some sloppy play toward the end where guys would over skate pucks that seemed to be laying there for the taking, but nothing cost the Ducks.
The main highlight of the final frame was a classic Hiller glove save where he swings his arm dramatically around to snare the puck flopping around in his crease to the delight of the fans, most of whom don't realize that he made it look a lot more difficult than it probably was. The best part of it for me though, was the throwback scoreboard graphic of a cartoon goalie stirring a pot labeled soup with his stick and easily stopping a multitude of pucks shot at him before flashing "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" Don't you just love the '90s?
The game ended 4-1, with the Ducks tallying 56 shots on goal (a franchise record for a regulation game) to the Senators' 31.
The Good: Passing, shooting, skating it was pretty much all good for the Ducks tonight, and they looked good doing it in those throwbacks, too.
The Bad: 0-for-6 on the power play for the second game in a row, but it's only a matter of time if they continue to play like they did tonight with the extra man.
The Ugly: I got nothin'. Patrick Maroon even looked fast at times.
Next Game: Wednesday, October 16 at 7:00pm PT - Calgary Flames @ Ducks
Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.