Final Score: Ducks 6, Avalanche 4
Firstly, I'd like to add that my "Numbers for Nerds" section in the GameThread highlighted the number 6. Yeah...6 is an important number in this game. (Previously in the Calgary GameThread, I brought up Calgary's shorthanded goal hatty...and Calgary ended up scoring 2 shorties on the Ducks.) There must be something to my Numbers for Nerds section....)
First Period Recap: After the sh** show Wednesday night, the Ducks were out for blood and redemption. Ducks went through a hard practice and had two days of soul searching. And so that's how they began the game.The opening period was completely a 180 turn from Wednesday night. Though the Avs won the opening face-off, the Ducks were quick to take possession of the puck as they came out on Semyon Varlamov in waves.
The first good opportunity came off a 2-on-2 with Jakob Silfverberg skating ahead with Matt Beleskey by his side. But at the last minute, Silfverberg lost his handle and couldn’t get either a good shot on goal or a good pass to Beleskey.
The Ducks kept up the pressure early on as they forced neutral zone turnovers and prevented the Avs from entering the offensive zone. The aggressive Palmaroonino (thanks Jen Neale for that line's name, and the videos below and for just being awesome in general) forced Varlamov to make a couple of key saves early on as they battled down low and looked for an open man in front of the net. This line's forecheck kept the puck in and wore down Colorado's defense. While Luca Sbisa faked a shot from the blue line and skated around the defender for better positioning, Kyle Palmieri and Nick Bonino both set screens in front of Varmalov. Despite the traffic, the Colorado goaltender was more than up to the task as he not only blocked the blast but also gloved any hope of a second chance. The Ducks kept up a speedy and snarling forecheck--as the retreating Avs went five minutes without a shot on goal.
A little more than eight minutes in, Brad Malone gave Colorado their first penalty kill when he was called for hooking a surging Mathieu Perrault. It's been a while since the Ducks had a decent power play. Tonight's first PP was decent, which is saying a lot. Bonino did not hesitate to shoot pucks, as he looked to capitalize on any loose rebounds. Teemu Selanne probably had one of the best chances from the front of the net but Jan Hejda barely got to him in time. Despite the pitiful state of the extra man unit, the good thing that the Ducks were doing tonight, as opposed to other nights, was creating traffic in front of the Colorado goaltender. Maroon did exactly that to prevent things from being too easy for Varlamov.
So the shot count was 13-2 in favor of the Ducks by the 8:41 mark, But in hockey, you only need one lucky bounce or great shot or whatever to pull ahead. Defying the shot count, the Avs made their fourth shot count when John Mitchell beat Jonas Hiller over the glove after receiving a wide open pass from Gabriel Landeskog off the boards.
Deja vu...it's beginning to look a lot like that season opener against this very team...Ducks have the forecheck advantage but the Avs are first to spill blood. The goal definitely took the early momentum from the Ducks as the Avs began to push back.
Hampus Lindholm's hook on Nathan MacKinnon tested the Ducks' PK skills. The Avs have a pretty high efficiency rate with PP's because of the way they cycle the puck up high to the corner to draw the defense from the front of the net.
Hiller made the period's best save when Ben Lovejoy's pinch allowed the speedy Matt Duchene on a breakaway with Teemu Selanne trailing behind. Despite the fast and dominant beginning, first period ended with the Avs one up and Varmalov looking extremely sharp.
Second Period Recap: Earlier in the season, I said second periods are the Ducks' b****. I haven't been able to say that for a while, but tonight I am happy to report I can use that curse word as a praise. Second periods are the Ducks' b****.
Ducks didn't take to the scoreboard at the end of the second very lightly. They came out hard and simply thew pucks at Varlamov. How else do you score goals but throw pucks at the net? In a span of eight minutes and 45 seconds, all hell broke loose. Lamps were being lit like mad. (I'll bullet point the goals so you don't lose track)
- Daniel Winnik opened second period scoring after he received a nifty pass from Nick Bonino. While Varmalov was preoccupied by a possible pass to Maroon streaking towards him, Winnik found the space to roof one over the Colorado goaltender. Varmalov no longer looked invincible. (1-1)
- Andre Benoit nearly passed the puck to Duchene for a nice tap in goal but Sbisa took the hooking penalty instead. The Ducks ought to take a few notes from the Avs of how to use the man-advantage...the Avs make it look so easy. Hiller denied the initial shot of a patient Ryan O'Reilly, but O'Reilly retrieved his own rebound in the short corner and perfectly passed through the crease to Jamie McGinn for the chip in. (1-2)
- Like in the first period, that Palmaroonino line simply wreaked havoc on the Avalanche. Playing the puck off the boards, Maroon looked back and backhand passed to an open Palmieri speeding toward the net. Palmieri utilized the tiny space between himself and Varlamov to deke past the goaltender. This was his first goal in 13 games....But Palmieri wasn't satisfied with one goal. (2-2)
- The Palmaroonino line went back to work, pouncing on a bad turnover in the Avs' zone. Bonino found an open Lindholm in front of the net, who didn't waste a moment shooting at the goaltender. Varlamov saved the initial shot but Palmieri was ready to cash in on the rebound. (3-2)
- The newly vamped Selanne-Getzlaf-Perry line wanted to get in on the fun too. Cam Fowler found Teemu Selanne in the middle of the ice with an zone entry pass. Surrounded by a triangle of three Colorado defenders, the Finn made a beautiful pass to Corey Perry who properly wristed one past Varlamov. (4-2)
- At this point, the Ducks were ironically like an avalanche destroying everything in their way. Silfverberg, Perrault and others added to the pressure and had some golden scoring opportunities. But it was Ben Lovejoy and the work of the hockey gods that allowed the Ducks' 5th goal to occur. In honor of Pi Day, Ben Lovejoy decided to show off his math skills to perfect angle a bank shot off the boards, off Varlamov, and into the goal. (5-2)
*cue Patrick Roy's anger*
- The Ducks went back on the PK when Ben Lovejoy got called for hooking McGinn after being caught flatfooted. It was a good penalty to take as McGinn would have been all alone in front, but he got his goal anyway, jumping on a rebound from Erik Johnson's point shot. (5-3)
- Less than 30 seconds later, soft play off the boards resulted in a bad turnover, this time by the Ducks. Winnik played it off the boards towards the front of the net. But when Beauchemin was unable to control the bouncing puck, Landeskog took advantage of the turnover and backhanded it behind Hiller. (5-4)
*cue panic mode by Duck fans*
- Perrault and Silfverberg looked extremely quick and dangerous all night despite not putting up any points. Their work finally paid off when Perrault forced the puck out of the defensive zone. Matt Beleskey and Jakob Silfverberg both crashed the net as Perrault took the puck to the middle and simply threw it on net. It bounced off the post past Jiggy. Yay for screens. (6-4)
So ends the NINE goal period.
Third Period Recap:
The second period was full of goals. The third and last period would be full of pushing, shoving, penalties, misconducts, and drama. Just the way we expect an Anaheim vs. Colorado game to go.
Sometime during the second period, Fowler left the ice and headed toward the locker room. It was announced he was out with a lower-body injury.
48 seconds in, Landeskog is called for charging against Daniel Winnik. Onto the [pointless] man-advantage for the Ducks. They do what they do best on the PP and cycle it around without no real purpose....
The puck gets stuck in the corner and both the Avs and Ducks scramble after it. On the edge of the scrum, Erik Johnson crosschecked Perrault several times. Naturally Perrault took exception to the crosschecking, and gave him one back in the chest. And then this happens.
[Ed. Note: For the video impaired, Johnson crosschecked Perreault in the face. Little bit of Pronger Pysics at work, but definitely a deliberate crosscheck to the face. -CK]
- 2 minutes for Perrault for roughing
- Match penalty for Johnson for crosschecking in the face. Dirty. For some reason it counted as ten PIMs in the boxscore but Johnson was removed from the game and Paul Carey served a five minute major for him.
- 2 minutes for Ryan Getzlaf for roughing against Max Talbot.
- 10 minute game misconduct for Patrick Bordeleau
for being an assagainst Maroon.
- 10 minute game misconduct for Patrick Maroon
for not having taken out Bordeleau earlier onagainst Bordeleau.
Gawd, how awesome is that?! Notice the quick and subtle *thumbs up*he gives to Roy. The glass is solid. Perry is so awesome. He may be an asshole, but he is our asshole.
What happened at the dying four minutes of the game was not of much importance. Getzlaf's penalty allowed the Avs to play a 6-on-4 with Jiggy pulled. They failed to net it. Perry missed the empty net a couple times, and the Ducks rebounded from a terrible loss with a pretty epic game.
The Good: The Ducks won and were able to rebound from that ugly loss. They set up screens, they put up shots, they won board battles...not to mention they came from behind to score six goals in one period. And the goals came from different lines. Putting Selanne up top may have done the entire team some good, as his play gave the first line a snipe-like quality, and brought stability to the other three lines.
The Bad: (Can be replaced with "The Ugly Part 1) Special teams. The Avs scored two power play goals... both coming from cycling along the boards and pucks thrown to the front of the net. Then the Ducks failed (surprise surprise) on the major power play. I literally zoned out during this stretch. Nothing memorable happened.
The Ugly: The loss of Cam Fowler to a lower body injury during the second period. Let's all pray that this isn't extremely serious. He has been the best defenseman and the anchor of the Ducks' d-corps...losing him is beyond terrible. Let me remind you, while the Ducks pulled through on this one, they have a back-to-back in LA tomorrow night. It'll be a tough one against LA without Cam.
Next Game: Saturday, March 15th, 7:30 PM PST, at the Smoggy Gates of Hell across the freeway (Staples Center)