Final Score: Ducks 2, Jets 3
Note – Sami Vatanen sent down to Norfolk prior to the game. (FREE THE VATMAN)
First Period Recap: Hiller got the start for the first game at Honda Center versus the Winnipeg Jets since 1996. Matt Beleskey was the lucky player to take the first shift with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. The Ducks came close early when a Mark Fistric point shot produced a rebound that Jakob Silfverberg nearly tapped in.
The Ducks got the first power play of the game when Jacob Trouba slammed Perry down in the crease under pressure. Teemu Selanne had a shot blocked at point-blank range early on the power play. The power play was getting the cycle going and had a couple opportunities with the "second" unit of Selanne, Mathieu Perreault and Patrick Maroon. Toward the end of the power play Cam Fowler blasted a shot that was tipped into the net by a Jets player for a 1-0 Ducks lead.
This was Fowler's fourth power play goal on the season. The Ducks looked like they wanted to bury the Jets in goals with all the pressure they were putting on the Winnipeg defense early.
On what seemed to be a harmless play, Blake Wheeler layered a shot into the top corner to tie the game at one. It looked like Hiller thought it was going wide, but he saw the puck the whole way. Soon after, Saku Koivu took a penalty for slashing Tobias Enstrom in the corner.
The Ducks looked like they were getting back on track and managed to kill the penalty off with little difficulty. The home team was given a huge opportunity on a blown icing call that clearly should have gone the Jets way (I hate hybrid icing with a passion). The Jets won the faceoff and immediately stormed up ice. All kinds of pressure from the Jets forced Hiller to make a few stops. While Hiller made the saves, he still didn't look quite like his normal self. A puck off the crossbar kept the game tied.
Aside form the top line, the line of Maroon, Selanne and Perreault was really effecting at working deep in the offensive zone. On a quick transition play by the Jets Hiller made the most awkward of awkward saves on a hight tip. Fistric's physical play (aka Fistric SMASH) allowed the Ducks to clear the zone multiple times in the period. A quick play by Nick Bonino to Kyle Palmieri off the end boards nearly turned into a goal.
More dangerous play from Hiller caught out of position playing the puck off the boards occurred late in the period. Luckily, the puck was safely played away by the defense. The Jets converted late in the period on a rebound that was tapped in by Andrew Ladd. The Ducks returned to the locker room down 2-1.
Second Period Recap: Cogliano with speed got a shot that was easily stopped by Ondrej Pavelec to open the period. Palmieri was set up by Silfverberg but couldn't score (theme of the night: missing the net). I could see Stadium Series jerseys in the seats and they look awesome.
There was basically no room for Perry and Getzlaf the entire period. The Jets were clogging the neutral zone and keeping the gaps tight. Again, Perreault, Selanne and Maroon had a good shift. Maroom was doing all the right things playing along the boards. It was noted that the officials were letting slashes and interference go on both sides. Selanne was one who could have easily been called for slashing, but he was also slashed in open ice as well.
Bonino missed the top corner on a clean set up from SIlfverberg in the slot. Daniel WInnik, Andrew Cogliano and Koivu generated chances in the Jets zone. The best chance came from a Fowler shot that was blocked just wide of the net. The pressure kept coming from Anaheim and Maroon tapped the puck through Pavelec and just wide of the post.
A call finally came against Mark Stuart for taking Belseky down in the corner. On the power play Teemu's stick was slashed in half and no call was made. However, another penalty came (it was a make up call) right after the Jets killed the first one.
On the second power play Maroon hit the post. The shot sprung out to a Evander Kane who transitioned to offense. Hiller, who struggled all night, could not stop Kane's shot and the Jets took 3-1 lead on a shorthanded goal. Hiller was immediately pulled in favor of Frederik Andersen. The Ducks went into full offense mode but still couldn't buy a goal. Andersen was forced to make a huge save on a breaking Wheeler in the final minutes. The Ducks did everything right, but the puck just wasn't going in the net in this period. Now down 3-1 the Ducks had one period to score some goals and keep the streak alive.
Third Period Recap: For the sake of anyone who is still reading at this point I will leave the plays and Ducks chances in short bullet points. The Jets looked like they wanted to sit on a lead against the Ducks.
- Pavelec made a save off a bouncing screened shot.
- Amazing shift from Selanne Perreault and Maroon. Maroon with a huge hit on Michael Frolik.
- Palmieri to Cogliano but stopped by Pavelec.
- Pavelec stopped Bonino on the wing.
(Winnipeg had no business being in the lead but that's how the bounces go.)
- Ducks got the chances but the puck just didn't go in.
- Andersen kept his team in it with huge save as his helmet flew off Roloson style.
- It's come to the point where I can't count the chances the Ducks have had but couldn't score on.
- Nick Bonino scored on a rebound to make it 3-2 Jets
- Pavelec made a huge save on the very next shift.
- Jets iced the puck a million times.
- Cogliano's speed got him a good chance in close on Pavalec.
- Penalty on Stuart for delay of game as Selanne shoved him into the goal.
- Anaheim power play with 7:34 remaining. Bonino missed a perfect chance in the slot.
- Pavelec robbed Beleskey. Palmieri missed the net on the last chance of the power play.
- Cogliano and Fowler both have chances in front but miss / get blocked.
- Jets just dumped the puck.
- Icing call "tie" goes to the Jets.
- Pavelec makes one final save on Palmieri with 32 seconds remaining.
- Line brawl to end the game with less than a second to play.
Ducks lose their first regulation game at home. The game was 100 percent won by Pavelec and the goals were 2/3 Hiller's mistakes.
The Good: The Ducks weren't outplayed in the loss, the stress from the streak is over and we didn't lose the streak to the Kings. Possession was really good in this game too. [Ed. Note - 94 SHOT ATTEMPTS!! SERIOUSLY!! - Kyle]
The Bad: ACCURACY. When the Ducks had chances to score they missed the net so many times. You can't score if you can't even get the puck on net. The streak is over and Hiller had one of his worst performances. Hopefully he gets a chance to bounce back quickly, but the two top-shelf goals that he saw all the way were ugly.
The Ugly: Watching the Ducks give up so many chances off turnovers was bad. It has become clear that Beauchemin is too slow to leave behind to defend a 2-on-1 or even 1-on-1 sometimes. The defense itself didn't have a bad game though. It was just one of those games where the team did everything right but didn't get the bounces.
This is the first game that I have to write this horrible section.
IceHole #3: Palmieri, SIlfverberg, Cogliano and anyone else who missed wide open portions of the net on one of the many, many chances that the Ducks had.
IceHole #2: Ondrej Pavalec because he was very good and very lucky at the same time. He stood on his head in this game, but there were also a couple shots that he didn't even see that just hit him for the save.
IceHole #1: 2 of 3 of the goals that Hiller allowed. He just wasn't on his game tonight and totally whiffed on two shots from just outside the circle that he saw the whole way.
Next Game: Thursday, January 23 7:00 PST versus the Los Angeles Kings