Final Score: Ducks 5, Coyotes 2
First Period Recap: In his post-game interview, Corey Perry would say "They say the hardest game to win is the first one after a long road trip," and it was easy to see why with how the Ducks came out of the gate. Facing a Phoenix team that was on the tail end of a back-to-back (games in which they held a perfect 4-0 record coming into the night), you'd have to think the team would come out swinging. However this was very much not the case.
The Desert Dogs stormed out of the gate as though they had never even left the ice in Phoenix since last night when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout. Hiller was tested early and often as the Coyotes got the first three shots on goal in the game, and it didn't take too long for them to beat him either as they scored on their fourth.
Just 4:28 into the game a poor line change choice by Cam Fowler left Shane Doan wide open at the Anaheim blue line, where he received a pass from Mike Ribeiro and buried the partial breakaway past Jonas Hiller. Hiller very nearly had the save but it had just enough power to beat him. The two biggest Duck-slayers in the league, Doan and Ribeiro, combined to each increase their personal totals when it comes to victimization of Anaheim.
Just minutes later David Moss caught the Anaheim defense flat-footed as he cut past with speed, received a pass from Ribeiro, and put a backhand chance just a little too close to Hiller, who was able to pad it away.
However the final four minutes of the first period gave the Ducks some hope. Shane Doan hesitated on a pass through neutral ice and fanned on it partially, giving Devante Smith-Pelly enough time to stick-lift him and strip the puck away in order to rush back into the zone. Devo found Mathieu Perreault, who in turn looked back and found the trailer Hampus Lindholm who ripped a shot below Mike Smith's glove and into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
It was Hampus Lindholm's first-career NHL goal, and only the second one of the season by an Anaheim defenseman as Sami Vatanen notched the first just two games ago against the Buffalo Sabres. But perhaps the most special fact about it is Hampus' father Jonas Lindholm had flown in from Sweden in the morning before the game to witness his son playing NHL hockey for the first time. Not only did he get to see that but he saw his son's first goal, and oh the smile the young Hampus was wearing after scoring that... you just can't make stories like this up.
The end of the first period saw a huge flurry of pressure from Anaheim who very nearly potted their second on several occasions, as Mike Smith did a fantastic job to deny Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Rickard Rakell and keep the game square at one each.
The period would finish at that same score, with the Ducks leading the shots 10-9.
Second Period Recap: After that shocking end to the period, Phoenix exited the locker room calm, composed, and re-focused. After a small flurry to begin the period, they promptly pushed back and exerted some strong pressure on the Anaheim end.
Anaheim did well to defend it however, but as with any team who spends enough time in their own end, one of two things will happen: you'll give up a goal or you'll take a penalty. The latter happened... and then the former.
With Corey Perry serving a minor for tripping Shane Doan, the Ducks found themselves in the middle of a kill that started off well but quickly turned south as the Coyotes were able to establish their zone pressure and Ryan Getzlaf's stick broke.
A puck that would have rolled out over the blue line got stopped by Getzlaf's shrapnel on the ice and was quickly fired down low to a wide open David Moss. Moss found a streaking Michael Stone who ripped the shot up over Hiller and suddenly Phoenix led again, this time 2-1.
This would prove to be all that needed to happen for the sleeping giant to finally wake up.
After a bizarre sequence that saw the Ducks once again go down a man, then Phoenix go down two, Anaheim suddenly found themselves with a short 4-on-3 that turned into 38 seconds of 5-on-3 time. A simple passing play saw the puck ping in one-touch contacts from Nick Bonino to Cam Fowler to Ryan Getzlaf, who hammered the puck off the stick of Martin Hanzal and by Mike Smith.
I was beginning to question whether I'd ever be able to say this at some point this season, but it was a power play goal for the Anaheim Ducks, just their fifth of this season. On top of that, it was also a 5-on-3 goal, their first of this season and just their second since the end of 2011-12.
Anaheim wouldn't even be done there. Now running all over the Coyotes, the Ducks continued to push the issue late. With under a minute to play and a delayed penalty upcoming to Phoenix again, Anaheim put the extra attacker on and strung together a whopping 13 consecutive passes before a hurried shot from youngster Hampus Lindholm found its way into the back of the net with just 1.1 seconds remaining in the frame.
Upon replay review it was found that Corey Perry had actually gotten a piece of it, meaning it was rightfully his goal, but his tenth of the year also gave Hampus Lindholm his second point of the night.
The period ended with resident-douchebag Mike Ribeiro throwing a nasty slash at the ankles of Rickard Rakell, but the teams skated off with Anaheim up 3-2. Shots also went in Anaheim's way by a total of 11-9 for a total of 21-18 to this point.
Third Period Recap: Most teams would simply allow themselves to be deflated by giving up a go-ahead goal with mere moments left in a period. Those are not good teams. The Phoenix Coyotes are a good team. And they came out once again re-focused and looking to tie things up.
Anaheim withstood this storm however, and despite Phoenix getting a few chances to tie the game, including some off poor passes from Anaheim defenders, Jonas Hiller held steadfast in net.
This would set up the Ducks to once again turn the tide as the energy in the Phoenix legs appeared to be running out.
Just past the 10-minute mark of the third period David Rundblad took a slashing penalty to haul down Corey Perry, who otherwise would have had a great scoring chance right in front of Mike Smith. Good penalty--one you take.
However, the Ducks only needed two seconds of the ensuing power play to capitalize AGAIN. A won faceoff fluttered back to Cam Fowler, who blasted the puck on-edge knuckle-puck style right past Mike Smith and into the net. Fowler's first of the year was also the second power play goal and second goal of the night for an Anaheim defenseman.
Logic would dictate that Phoenix would then crank up the heat in an effort to try to draw back even, but the lack of energy combined with losing two leads seemed to pretty much completely demoralize them from this point.
Late in the game Phoenix would pull their goaltender to try to build some offense, however Anaheim would deny them pretty much any and all zone pressure.
A scary moment came when Admiral Badass (read: Andrew Cogliano) fell awkwardly into the boards, appearing to twist his ankle pretty badly. [Perhaps extra scary for me personally since that's almost exactly how I broke my own ankle back in February.] He would limp very gingerly back to the Anaheim bench... but not before stopping first to fire a loose puck into the empty net.
It was a badass moment that only the true warrior of the Anaheim lineup could pull off.
The game ended with the Ducks pulling off a well-deserved 5-2 win. Final period shots totaled eight each for a game total of 29-26 Anaheim.
The Good: The power play Scored!!! Twice!!! And the defense scored too!! Twice as well!! The boys must have gotten wind of dear ol' Jen's article calling them out for their shortcomings in these areas as both found big ways to produce tonight.
The Bad: Perhaps somewhat lost amongst the misery that the power play has put us through is the fact that the Anaheim PK is also horrendous. The Ducks surrendered another power play goal tonight, meaning they still have only managed to keep opponents from scoring with the extra man in just seven out of 17 games this season.
The Ugly: The energy in the first period was pretty crap. The team looked like they had just come off a gargantuan road trip (probably because they had) and Phoenix jumped all over them for the first 15 minutes or so. But that being said it's understandable considering what kind of an insane stretch this team is on and the fact that they still haven't had more than one day off between games in nearly three weeks now.
Next Game: Friday November 8th at 7pm vs. the Buffalo Sabres