Final Score: Ducks 1, Lightning 0
First Period Recap: It was Scott Niedermayer night at Honda Center, and the Ducks honored his Hall-of-Fame career with a tribute before puck drop. Jonas Hiller started the game as Viktor Fasth was ruled out after "sustaining a lower-body injury in practice" (The injuries just keep coming). As expected, Francois Beauchemin was not in the lineup (Mark Fistric parked with Hampus Lindholm as his replacement), and newly acquired Duck Tim Jackman was inserted into the lineup.
The first real shift of the game saw the Ducks scrambling in their own zone. Luca Sbisa lost his stick (forcing Hiller to make a great point-blank save) and took the first penalty of the game. Ryan Getzlaf had a breakaway against Ben Bishop just seconds into the Lightning power play but couldn't convert. Hiller made an amazing glove save to rob the Lightning of a goal on the very next shift. A couple more good stops from Hiller came before the Ducks killed the penalty.
Without Hiller making another great save on a 2-on-1 rush, the Lightning could have easily taken the lead. After relinquishing grade-A chances to the Lightning, the Ducks started to take control of the play. The Dustin Penner, Getzlaf and Corey Perry line had a couple of chances on an extended cycle play in the offensive zone. More Anaheim pressure came from Teemu Selanne, Nick Bonino and Emerson Etem as well. Tim Jackman took the ice and dropped the gloves with B.J. Crombeen off the face-off. The refs put the Lightning on another power play minutes later, sending Andrew Cogliano to the box for "unsportsman-like conduct" in response to a snow shower on Bishop.
The penalty killing was great and able to get the clears with extra effort from Perry and Bonino. Two-for-two on the kill, Sbisa battled Radko Gudas (the horrible person who hit Selanne in the last meeting between these teams) in the second fight of the game. The game turned into somewhat of a defensive struggle until Nick Bonino was hooked down to the ice. Unfortunately, the refs called Bonino for diving (he flailed his arm) and 4-on-4 hockey ensued. Amazing saves from Bishop and Hiller left the first period scoreless with the Ducks leading the shot count 16-8.
Second Period Recap: The few seconds of 4-on-4 play ended quickly. It took seconds for the Ducks to go down again as Fowler took a tripping penalty in the defensive zone. Luckily for the Ducks, Hiller was in the ZONE!!!, flashing the glove on a couple occasions. The Cogliano and Emerson Etem combination managed a couple of close chances on the penalty kill. The Ducks killed the penalty but still had to face some pressure from the Lightning.
The two teams went up and down the ice exchanging chances, however, without any resulting goals. Etem and Bonino had a 2-on-1 chance that was well defended. Kyle Palmieri took a blazing wrist shot from the slot that was blockered away by Bishop. Another (ridiculous) penalty call went against Bryan Allen after falling on the puck, putting the Lightning on the power play for the fourth time. A solid "REF YOU SUCK" chant from the fans could be heard after the initial face-off. The penalty killers were tired and the Lightning had their way with shots on goal. Hiller was amazing yet again and helped to kill the FOURTH penalty of the game.
Yes, the Ducks had ZERO power plays to the Lightning's FOUR at the ten minute mark of the second period. Seeing this disparity, you would think the Lightning were all over the Ducks. The Ducks, however, were all over the Lightning in the following shifts, managing to draw their first power play of the game. Unfortunately, the Ducks could not capitalize on the power play (not for a lack of chances). The pressure from the Ducks continued and a scramble in front of Bishop produced the Ducks' second power play opportunity. The power play took longer to set up this time, but the Ducks were still able to get some good shots on Bishop.
With just two minutes remaining in the second period Bryan Allen tripped up Alex Killorn, but the refs sent them both to the box and 4-on-4 hockey resulted (AGAIN) at the end of the period. Nothing spectacular happened during the 4-on-4, but with 47 seconds left on the clock Sbisa took an interference penalty. Lovejoy dominated the 4-on-3 power play and the Ducks escaped the period scoreless. SOG: 29-18 Anaheim.
Third Period Recap: The third period began with a strong penalty kill from the Ducks (now 5-of-5). Lindholm almost got a bounce off a defender to open the scoring, but Bishop (THE GIANT) managed to make the stop. The flow of the game was disrupted multiple times by questionable icing calls. After watching Palmieri get robbed by Bishop's arm near the five-minute mark I firmly believe that he would not be nearly as good if he was a regular sized human.
Hiller made a huge blocker save on a 2-on-1 break. The save resulted in a chance for the Ducks at the other end, but Bishop again stood tall (pun intended). The Lightning had their strongest shift of the third when they hemmed the Ducks in their own zone. Hiller went down into the butterfly and made a few saves through screens to keep the game scoreless. On a rush up the ice, Palmieri was inches away from nailing the wraparound attempt.
The next huge save of the game came from Hiller on a half-breakaway for Valtteri Filppula. The teams went up and down the ice exchanging chances (and giving me a heart a attack) with brilliant saves from both goaltenders. The worst call of the game came with just three minutes remaining. Perreault was sent to the box for "closing his hand" on the puck in the face-off circle (BY A LINESMAN). The Lightning's sixth power play of the game didn't last long as Cogliano drew an interference penalty. Just like the last two periods, the Ducks would play 4-on-4 hockey. Perry was dragged down in the slot on a half-breakawy that apparently wasn't worthy of a penalty, causing the fans to rage and throw stuff on the ice.
The third period ended with the score 0-0. SOG: 40-27 Anaheim
Overtime Recap: Nobody was scoring on either of these goaltenders without a screen. Hiller made two point-blank saves to keep the Ducks in the game just minutes into overtime. Palmieri received an area pass from Bonino but wasn't able to wrap it around a sprawled Bishop.
The teams went up and down the ice exchanging chances. Just as the game seemed to be going to a shootout, THE CAPTAIN Ryan Getzlaf flew down the ice 1-on-3 and rifled a puck between the arm and the body of Bishop. The puck landed behind Bishop and a defenseman banked it off the goaltenders back. DUCKS WIN!!!! SOG: 42-30 Anaheim
The Good: Jonas Hiller, the penalty kill and Ryan Getzlaf. Hiller had a huge bounce-back game and posted a well-deservd 31-save shutout. The penalty kill weathered the storm. This is the way a team fights back against questionable calls. The Ducks were a perfect 6-0 on the penalty kill. Of course, the game was won by the captain so stick-tap to Getzlaf.
The Bad: The power play didn't score despite having some great chances. This is where the Ducks could have won the game in regulation. With a near-perfect performance, a power play goal could have gone a long way in this one.
The Ugly: The refs … Surprise! The calls going both ways were confusing and nit-picky at times. Cogliano spraying the goalie, Bonino being called for diving and the random icing calls when a player was clearly in the vicinity of the puck disrupted the flow of the game and drew a good "Ref you suck!!" chant from the fans.
3rd MVD: Hampus Lindholm – Lindholm jumped into the attack and had some great chances from the point. His speed and skating ability were impressive in this game. Many times Lindholm was able to make a nifty pass to a player in full flight which resulted in some great chances for the Ducks. He's proving to be a great offensive-defenseman.
2nd MVD: Ryan Getzlaf – Getzlaf was a clean 65 percent in the face-off circle and scored the game-winning goal in dramatic fashion. When the captain is on his game he is arguably the best player in the league. Getzlaf's unassisted goal was the perfect way to snap a five-game losing streak.
1st MVD: Jonas "YOU WANTED TO TRADE ME?" Hiller – There is no way the Ducks win this game without Hiller. Everyone carrying on about our goalie situation was silenced tonight by an amazing performance. Hiller wasn't even supposed to start this game, but he flashed the glove and made 31 great saves for the shutout. Clearly, the only thing the Ducks should be trading in is the lower-body of Viktor Fasth, who is back on the day-to-day with another lower-body injury.
Next Game: Saturday, November 23 5:00 p.m. PST @ Phoenix Coyotes