Ducks Fall in Shootout to Montreal, 4-3

Harry How

The Ducks got back to what they were doing for a long stretch of the season: Starting terribly and working their way back into the game in the second but this time couldn't pull out the win in the skills competition

Final Score:  Ducks 3, Canadiens 4 (SO)

Without any blockbuster moves for new wingers today, Kyle Palmieri slotted into the first line LW space vacated by Dustin Penner as expected.  Less expected however, was the absence of Teemu Selanne, out with the flu.  So, Bruce Boudreau decided to go with seven defensemen and Luca Sbisa on the fourth line with Tim Jackman and Daniel Winnik.

First Period Recap: The first five minutes were sloppy for the Ducks and a little more dangerous for Montreal.  On the first few shifts passes just weren't clicking and the Canadiens had all of the offense going.  The other notable trend of the first few minutes was nostalgia as 2007 Stanley Cup Champions Travis Moen and George Parros made themselves known with a hit that dislodged the glass and a fight with Jackman, respectively.  Parros, in his first game back in Anaheim since leaving as a free agent two summers ago, was assessed an extra two minutes for instigating to put his former team on the PP.

Montreal made it through the penalty without having to face the Ducks' first shot on goal of the game.  About a minute after the kill the Canadiens got the first real scoring chance of the game when David Desharnais got the puck to Brendan Gallageher at the side of the net but he couldn't get everything on it as he was tied up with Hampus Lindholm and Jonas Hiller made the most of a good glove save, as he does.

On the next shift Hiller cleaned up a bad turnover, but Brian Gionta scored right off of the ensuing faceoff.  Tomas Plecanec won the faceoff forward through long time Canadiens captain Saku Koivu, took a shot that deflected off of Lindholm and the current captain jammed the rebound into the net for the 1-0 lead.

At the midway point of the period, the Ducks still hadn't registered a shot on goal but P.K. Subban hooked a hard forechecking Patrick Maroon to give them their second man advantage of the game.  With newly acquired defenseman Stephane Robidas on the phone, the PP looked dangerous for almost the full two minutes getting eight shots total and at least three from right in the slot, but nothing through Dustin Tokarski.

Just after the penalty expired though Montreal extended their lead to two.  On a mini 3-on-2 rush Desharnais zipped a pass across the ice to Max Pacioretty who one timed it past Hiller.  He didn't get everything on it, but the pass was so good that Hiller had no chance to get over to it.

Not long after the second goal Mark Fistric was sent to the box for interfering with Dale Wiese.  Fistric got the stick up a little high as he was trying to keep Wiese away from Hiller's crease.  The penalty was killed, but Montreal had offensive zone possession the entire time and a couple of decent shots.

Physical play picked up in a major way for the last few minutes of the period with hits going both ways fast and furious and eventually the Ducks were awarded their third power play of the game when Daniel Briere was sent off for tripping Jackman with 50 seconds remaining.  However it was neutralized when Corey Perry slashed the hand of Andrei Markov 11 seconds later.  So a terrible period for the home team ended with 1:11 of carry over four-on-four play and the visitors leading 2-0.

Second Period Recap: Nothing came from the four-on-four to start the period, or the very abbreviated Habs power play other than a pass that skipped through Hiller's crease but didn't connect with anyone as the penalty to Perry expired.

Three and a half minutes in Alexei Emelin tripped up Maroon behind the Montreal net to give the Ducks their FOURTH power play of the game.  The first extra man unit of Perry, Palmieri, Getzlaf, Nick Bonino and Cam Fowler was buzzing all over the zone and had some great chances from the twins, but still couldn't break through.

After the kill the teams traded odd man rushes and Luca Sbisa pulled up to fire a puck from his comfort zone at the point which deflected off of the stick of Jackman, pulling the Ducks within a goal.

Almost immediately following the goal the Ducks went on ANOTHER power play.  This time it was Emelin tripping up Bonino.  The PP wasn't looking very good Palmieri shockingly got away with interference on Gionta as the Habs went on a shorthanded rush.  Then Francois Beauchemin dumped a puck in, off the glass that took a bounce off of the stanchion and landed right in the middle of the net vacated by Tokarski.  Tie game on a lucky bounce.

After the second Ducks goal, Montreal had a few shifts of possession but were kept on the boards the entire time and the Ducks found their attacking game.  Two good chances came when Andrew Cogliano burned past Douglas Murray and got a pass across to Matt Beleskey but Murray recovered to break it up and a strong forechecking shift from the new top line resulting in a point blank opportunity for Palmieri.

With slightly less than five minutes to go in the period, Hiller came up with a great blocker save off of a give and go play between Pacioretty and Desharnais, the former of which got the shot off from the left hash mark.  Less than a minute later Ben Lovejoy hit Alexander Galchenyuk from behind after he released the puck and went off for boarding.

The Ducks were more dangerous by far during the Lovejoy penalty with three shots on goal, two from Bones and one from Bryan Allen (!) trailing a Getzlaf rush.  Just after the penalty expired Winnik and Beleskey went on a partial 2-on-1 break.  Winnik got the pass across to Bels for the shot.  Tokarski got his right elbow on it, but Winnik drove the net and batted the rebound out of mid-air and into the net to give the Ducks their first lead of the game 3-1 with just under two minutes remaining in the second.

Montreal did tie it back up before the end of the period however.  From a faceoff to the right of Hiller, Subban wristed a point shot toward a mass of bodies in front.  The puck never got to Hiller, Moen knocked Fowler over as he was about to clear the rebound and Gallagher plucked it out of the chaos, gave a little toe drag and put it away neatly.  And thus ended a much better period for the Ducks in a 3-3 tie.

Third Period Recap:  Gallagher tipped a puck in behind Hiller in the first minute of the period, but the goal was immediately called off for a clear high stick and the decision upheld by video review.  After a few minutes of back and forth, Bryan Allen was called for interfering with Rene Bourque in the neutral zone to send Montreal on a power play at 6:30 of the third.

Early in the PP, the Habs had about 14 whacks at the puck in a mad scramble around Hiller's crease, but somehow it stayed out.  Upon further review, Hiller made three saves and one went underneath him and out the other side.  The Ducks killed the rest of the penalty with less excitement.  Shortly after the kill Getzlaf and Perry took off on a 2-on-1.  Getzy cut across the middle of the ice, had Tokarski down and out, but rung his shot off the post.

With the Ducks carrying some momentum they once again went on the power play as Bourque put a hook on Fistric.

The Montreal top line of Pacioretty, Desharnais and Gallagher was spectacular all night and once again had a dominant shift in the Ducks zone that ended in a Koivu hooking penalty.  Again in the first 30 seconds of the penalty the Canadiens just got the puck into traffic in front and hammered away until Hiller eventually was able to cover.  Then Beauch made a huge block on a Desharnais shot that looked like he had Hiller out of the net.  After that the PK settled things down, mostly on the strength of Cogliano's puck carrying.  However, as the penalty expired Plecanec took a shot from just above the goal line that deflected off of the far post and out.  Another lucky break.

Hiller had to make one last big save on Gionta chopping it on goal with three seconds left in regulation, but it was off to overtime we went.

Overtime Recap: Montreal had the only real quality scoring opportunity of the five minute overtime period when Lindholm bobbled a puck from a won defensive zone faceoff and had it taken away by Gallagher.  Hampus got back to knock Gallagher off the puck and it came to Galchenyuk, but ended up as a relatively easy save for Hiller.

Shots in overtime were 3-3 and a shootout was required to break the tie.

Shootout Recap:

Bonino - GOAL, triple deke

Galchenyuk - SAVE, backhand pad save by Hiller

Silfverberg - MISS, forehand shot over top

Desharnais - GOAL, backhand shelf

Perry - GOAL, five hole

Briere - GOAL, froze Hiller with stickhandling then roofed it forehand side

Getzlaf - MISS, high glove

Gallagher - SAVE, deke and five hole shut down

Palmieri - After a long review it was a MISS, just barely.  Ripped low blocker side, off both posts and out

Plecanec - More weirdness, he took the puck off the center dot before the ref told him to and had to start over but ended with a MISS to the backhand

Koivu - SAVE, backhand, forehand Tokarski with the splits to make the pad save

Markov - GOAL, five hole shot

Habs win.

*****

The Good:  Vanek or Kesler?!  We don't need no stinking Vanek or Kesler! If Tim Jackman, Francois Beauchemin and Daniel Winnik are going to score goals.  Of course we won't count on that, but it's nice to see some secondary scoring come up when needed.

The Bad:  Just about the entire first period was awful, the only exception being the second power play opportunity where the Ducks got eight of their 13 shots on goal.  Passing was off, little to no sustained offensive zone pressure and in the D zone they allowed Montreal right into the crease on a number of occasions.  Also the line of Pacioretty, Desharnais and Gallagher was allowed to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted all night long.

The Ugly:  This team is starting to get a bit ADD.  They seem to have trouble focusing when off ice distractions present themselves.  Hiller admitted as much in the lead up to the Stadium Series game, they put up their longest streak of regulation losses just prior to the Olympics and tonight on Deadline Day they laid an absolute egg in the first period.  That does not bode well for the remaining 19 games in which the entire goal is to stay sharp, focused and hungry going into the playoffs.  Perhaps the silver lining may be that those types of distractions will go away during the playoffs when life revolves around intensely important games, but I guess we'll wait and see about that.

*****

3rd Icehole:  Hampus Lindholm - An uncharacteristically sloppy performance from the impressive rookie.  He was beaten to some extent on both of the first two Montreal goals and though he wasn't credited with any turnovers had trouble holding onto the puck throughout the game.

2nd Icehole:  Cop Out, All of the Ducks in the first period - It's just too tough to pick out an individual who was more responsible than the rest for that atrocious start to the game.

1st Icehole:  David Desharnais - Even though he actually only ended up with one assist and a shootout goal, I'll give credit to the speed and hands of Desharnais for the success of his line which was Montreal's best all night.

Next Game: Friday, March 7 versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:00 pm PT

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