Good Always Triumphs Over Evil: Anaheim Ducks 2, Judas Schultz & Friends 1

Victor Decolongon

I wish I could take credit for Judas Schultz. I saw it on a sign in the Honda Center crowd. Absolutely awesome.


Final Score: Ducks 2, Justin Schultz Oilers 1

First Period Recap: The Ducks were without the services of Ryan Getzlaf for the third straight game. Despite skating Monday morning and saying he felt good afterwards, the coach decided to hold out Getzlaf as a precaution. Since Colorado isn't a formidable opponent, it's safe to say he'll probably be out Wednesday, too. Hopefully he'll make his return in the Los Angeles game on Saturday.

Anyway, to the game!

Jonas Hiller started in net for the Ducks for the first time since March 30th. Toni Lydman made his second straight appearance after sitting out a handful of games in place of Sheldon Souray, who was given the night off. Sami Vatanen was brought up earlier Monday (he did not play) and Bruce hinted at their being a couple banged up defensemen. He didn't say who exactly, but Souray would be a good guess.

The first period, like most of the game, was back and forth with each team having their chances. Now, it was back and forth but not necessarily in a good way. Both teams had the puck and lost it frequently. It took the Ducks 10 minutes to register their first shot on goal. By that time, Edmonton had 9 shots.

It looked like the Ducks would go down by additional shots when Beleskey takes a boarding penalty. In the first period, Bels needs to turn it down from 11 to 8. He's overly aggressive, leading to penalties. He usually shapes up after his initial trip to the box. The Edmonton power play was short lived as two seconds (not joking) later, Saku Koivu was interfered with by Jordan Eberle. Neither team really generated too much while playing 4-on-4 or on each team's two-second power play.

Radek Dvorak did not play on Sunday night versus Los Angeles and the extra rest served him well. He was, by far, the Duck with the most energy. Never thought I'd say this: thank goodness for Dvorak! Koivu passed the puck to Teemu Selanne, who fired it on net. The puck ends up hitting Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk and popping up in the air. Dvorak catches the puck on his stick and flings it into the open net. Ducks up on the Oil, 1-0.

Anaheim hand another chance on the power play when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins interfered with Francois Beauchemin in the neutral zone. The Ducks did nothing on the power play. They couldn't really get totally set up. Getzlaf occupying the point is sorely missed; not to mention they were also missing Souray's bomb of a shot at the blue line.

The final seconds of the period were quite active. In Edmonton's zone, Bobby Ryan is standing in front of the net when he's tripped at the worst time. Beleskey is shooting the puck in Bobby's direction and he takes it right in the 'special purpose'. Bobby laid face down on the ice, without a helmet. At first I thought he was high sticked or something. Then I saw the replay and it was definitely a shot to nether-regions.

Right as the buzzer sounds, Beleskey is in Dubnyk's crease and Ladislav Smid has a problem with that. Smid cross-checks Bels in the back of the head. Beleskey hits the ground and ask he's getting up, he's cross-checked by Smid again. The referee saw it all go down and gave the Ducks a power play to start the second period.

Remember how the Ducks had zero shots on goal 10 minutes into the game? They ended the period by out-shooting Edmonton 15-11.

Second Period Recap: The power play showed some life for the Ducks. It seemed as if everyone was getting in on the shooting action but the puck just wouldn't go in the net. The main problem was the Ducks not following their shots. They'd fire it on goal, Edmonton would retrieve the rebound and rush up ice with it. The Ducks were caught with their pants down like that a few times.

It was more back-and-forth skating until Mark Fistric tripped up Selanne. Back on the power play the Ducks went and as they had done with earlier opportunities, they did nothing. It was Edmonton's turn to go on the power play next when Luca Sbisa hooked Eberle. Luckily for the Ducks, the Oilers couldn't get set up. They were firing shots near the net, not exactly on net.

Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik were able to eat up 30 seconds of PK time when they played a good game of keep-away in the Oilers' zone. Frustrated by this, The Nuge trips Cogs with 2:45 to go in the period. Back on the power play, the Ducks (mainly Perry and Selanne) miss a good deal of open net opportunities and come up without a goal. Period ends with the Ducks still up 1-0.

Third Period Recap: The Oilers looked like they took the second period off, so they came out firing wildly in the third. Nick Schultz catches Hiller napping when he fires the puck on net from the boards near the top of the circle. The puck goes between Hiller's shoulder and the goal post and into the net. This was a soft - SOFT - goal. Hiller should be mad at himself for giving it up.

This gave the Oil some life. Sbisa was matched up to play against Taylor Hall. Hall was making Sbisa look foolish. Hall stick handled and sped past Sbisa like he was an old man on a Jazzy. Sbisa got lucky because after Hall flew past him, he usually took the shot near the faceoff dots or at the top of the circles. No one was in front of Hiller so he could see each shot and stopped them all.

Later, near the side boards, Winnik spins around and shoots directly on to Dubnyk. The Oilers' goalie had been leaving huge rebounds around the net the whole night and Dvorak was the only one who could do something. Dvorak got to the rebound and knocks it in. Ducks up 2-1 with 12 minutes to go.

At this point, the Ducks should have really been up 2039482039 goals to 1. They had soooooo many open net opportunities. This is becoming a concerning trend. Game after game there are easy shots whiffed on or fired wide by even the most skilled of the Anaheim players (i.e. Perry and Ryan).

Following the Dvorak goal, the rest of the game went like this: Edmonton had another power play and failed to capitalize. The Ducks whiffed on or completely missed a whole bunch more empty nets. Both teams skate up and down the ice a million times.

Game ends after Koivu wins a defensive zone face-off. Ducks win 2-1 and manage to keep Justin Schultz off the scoreboard. SUCK IT SCHULTZ!

**********

The Good: The team is realizing they can win without Getzlaf; however, they have A LOT of clean up to do. Second good, with a Dallas loss on Tuesday, the Ducks can clinch their playoff spot. The Stars are playing the Kings. Kind of a double edged sword.

The Bad: Corey Perry just signed a gigantic contract, so we expect a lot from him. Tonight he had 7 SOG and a whole lot of swings and misses. In the post game, Bruce even said Corey should have had at least four goals on shots he should be able to sink. He looked like he was having another night where he was just a step behind everything that was happening.

The Ugly: Edmonton has a good penalty kill but seriously, 0-for-5 on the power play?! The Ducks are lucky if they can even get two power plays in a game. Even with Getzlaf, the power play has lost whatever made them successful before. It can't be like this in the playoffs.

**********

3rd MVD: Saku Koivu. Koivu looked a little off versus LA. He redeemed himself tonight by assisting on both Dvorak goals. He won face-offs when the Ducks needed him to and he was a steadying, calming force on the ice. I don't care how old he his. We need this man back next year.

2nd MVD: Radek Dvorak. Leave it to the guy nobody really understood why the Ducks sign to win the game. Two goals on the night from the freshest pair of Anaheim legs on the ice.

1st MVD: Ducks fans! Those in attendance lustily boo'ed Schultz the entire game. I was concerned people would lose interest as the game went on and they did not. Great job, everyone!

Next Game: Wednesday, April 10 at 7:00pm PT vs. Colorado

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