Final Score: Ducks 5, Red Wings 2
First Period Recap: This game marked the return of Jakob Silfverberg, who started the night on a line with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. Jonas Hiller got the start with Frederik Andersen backing him up. Due to the team's extensive list of injuries, including injury to goaltender Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings started Jonas Gustavsson in net. The Red Wings began the game by winning the opening face-off and pressuring the Ducks early.
Matt Beleskey nearly scored unassisted with a burst of speed in the neutral zone. The chance, however, turned into a quick transition play for Detroit. Tomas Jurco scored his first NHL goal for Detroit while taking advantage of a bad change from the Ducks. The Ducks woke up immediately and came back on the next shift to tie the game. Silfverberg stuck it to Detroit with a slam dunk goal off a pass that Francois Beauchemin shot wide off the end boards.
Someone must have told Teemu Selanne that this was a playoff game because he was flying all over the ice. Selanne took down Gustavsson who ventured out behind his net and stepped too far toward Selanne. That play resulted in Winnik getting the loose puck to Bonino who made the score 2-1. The game became much more physical from here with hits in the neutral zone from both teams. A Red Wing slashing Penner's stick in half nearly resulted in a goal for Detroit.
This is where the game got ugly. Kyle Quincy shoved Getzlaf into the boards head first. Getzlaf got up slowly and appeared to be cut. Quincy was given a five minute major and a game misconduct penalty, but Getzlaf was taken directly into the locker room. At this point I was as angry as the Ducks appeared to be. Expect a suspension to come from the
wheel of justice department of player safety.
For Reference, Quincy was suspended one game on April 2, 2012.
Like the five minute major in the last game, the Ducks struggled, partly because Getzlaf wasn't on the ice. Vatanen got some good shots in on the power play while paired with Cam Fowler but couldn't get it through the mass of bodies in front of the net. A high-sticking penalty against Dustin Penner ended the Ducks' power play with 1:55 left on the penalty clock. Now that the game was 4-on-4 the Ducks began to play much better.
A minute into the play, Corey Perry scored on the rush after receiving a clean pass from Ben Lovejoy, proving that he can score against Detroit – something he failed to do during last season's playoff matchup. Gustavsson was immediately pulled and replaced by Petr Mrazek.
Hiller made a point blank save late on Daniel Alfredsson (a player that gives Ducks fans another reason to not like this Detroit team). The Red Wings couldn't do much after that. The Ducks took control of the puck on every shift and kept bringing the play to the Detroit net. Daniel Winnik, Andrew Cogliano and Koivu were reunited on their last shift of the period. With the clock ticking down Cogliano rushed into the Detroit zone and made a back pass to Vatanen who shoot a laser into the back of the net with one second remaining. Getzlaf did not return in this period but the Ducks left with a 4-1 lead.
What did we learn from this period? Angry Ducks score a lot.
Second Period Recap: The Ducks won the opening face-off but fumbled the puck in their own end. Hiller was forced to make a couple saves through traffic early. The line of Beleskey, Mathieu Perreault and Selanne held the puck in the zone and was able to get a few good scoring chances as well. The Ducks changed in the offensive zone and Silfverberg nearly got his second goal of the game, but the quick shot rattled off the post.
As in the playoffs, it takes murder to get a call in the Joe. Silfverberg blocked a shot off his hand and looked like he was in pain heading to the locker room. Finally, the Ducks got a power play after Cogliano was cross checked into the boards. Getzlaf returned with a huge gash on his upper lip just about half a minute into the power play. This power play was much better with Getzlaf on the ice, but no goal resulted despite numerous chances.
Luckily, SIlfverberg returned to the bench and it looked like he had a wrap on his hand before he put his glove back on. The Ducks still gave Detroit a couple chances in transition and Hiller made some great point-blank saves. With an offensive zone face-off won by the Ducks, Koivu scored on the backhand because he wants WINGS.
Battles were being won along the boards by the Ducks and the Red Wings' defense was just giving up. Just as the Ducks continued cycling the puck, Kyle Palmieri was called for a hook with a minute left in the period. Beauchemin took a puck to the face to stop a last minute attempt on net, and the period ended with him heading to the locker room to get treated.
Third Period Recap: Beauchemin was on the bench to start the period and continued to play. The Ducks killed the rest of the penalty time and sent Selanne on a breakaway. The Finnish Flash was stopped twice by Mrazek in close as Selanne tried to go five-hole. On the return play, Hiller made a fancy glove save on Alfredsson. The PPG line continued to dominate in the offensive zone.
The trio could not be stopped, and they held the puck in for their entire shift. Perry had multiple scoring chances and even drew a penalty on Daniel Cleary when he was tripped in the corner. Great puck movement but no goal came from the power play. Bonino is a beast on the power play. He is very careful with the puck and makes quick passes that seemed to always end up on Perry or Getzlaf's stick. The Silfverberg and Cogliano combination is something to watch as well. Adding Silfverberg to the third line added more speed and scoring ability.
The majority of the period was played in the Detroit end. Getzlaf caused turnovers and took the puck away whenever he wanted to. In the final minutes it became hard to focus on the game with so many people walking out of their seats and heading for the exit (HAHAHAHAHA). Just as I had this thought Cleary scored with two minutes left in the third, but the Ducks still won the game 5-2.
The Good: The Ducks dominated this game, Silfverberg returned and immediately made an impact and the top line didn't have to score all the goals. Getzlaf and Perry were great, but Penner wasn't quite as effective. Selanne looked dangerous all night and even had a breakaway that was stopped by Mrazek. Hiller was pretty solid even though he wasn't forced to make many saves.
The Bad: The power play and Dustin Penner. The power play didn't score but had numerous chances to do so. Even though Getzlaf was not playing during the five minute major, the Ducks still could have potted a goal or two. It would have been nice to add a couple goals with the power play. Dustin Penner was pretty absent from this game. He wasn't exactly bad but he wasn't great either. Penner's penalty also cut the five minute major short with just under two minutes left on the penalty clock.
The Ugly: Getzlaf going down and Silfverberg blocking a shot with his hand. It was a scary moment when these two left the game. Luckily they returned and seemed to be fine aside from a few stitches to Getzlaf's lip. The Quincy hit on Getzlaf was unacceptable and we should all expect him to get some type of suspension for it. [Ed. Note: There were definite similarities to the hit on Bonino that got Corey Potter two games, but Getzlaf took some of the blame for putting himself in a vulnerable position. -CK]
3rd MVD: Andrew Cogliano – Cogs had a three-assist game and worked well with Silfverberg. At first I was confused as to why Silfverberg was on a line with Cogliano, but Cogliano's speed combined with Silfverberg's shot was quite the combo. Cogliano also made a great play in the final seconds of the first period to pass the puck to Vatanen for a buzzer-beating goal.
2nd MVD: Sami Vatanen and the rest of the defense – Vatanen had a goal and an assist in one of his best performances of the year. His quick shot beat Mrazek with a second left in the opening period was beautiful. Vatanen made some great defensive plays and continues to prove to be a great defensive partner for Bryan Allen. Hampus Lindholm and Beauchemin were a plus-3 on the night. Cam Fowler and Ben Lovejoy continued to show their shutdown ability against Alfredsson and Pavel Datsyuk. Overall a great game from the Ducks' defensemen.
1st MVD: Jakob Silfverberg – With a goal in his first game back, Silfverberg adds even more depth scoring to the team. His speed pushed the defense back and his release on his shot is unbelievably fast. Silfverberg almost had a second goal but caught the post. His game was looked solid even after missing more than a month of hockey. I wouldn't mind leaving Silfverberg on the third line until he gets back into game shape if this is what we are going to get. No matter where Bruce decides to put him he is going to be a factor during games.
Next Game: Friday, December 20 - 4:00 p.m. PST @ New Jersey Devils