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Palmieri Comes Up Big in 3-2 OT Win

After giving up another late lead to the Devils, the Ducks were able to win their seventh game in a row on the strength of a Kyle Palmieri overtime goal.

Al Bello

Final Score: Ducks 3, Devils 2 (OT)

First Period Recap: The Ducks looked dangerous on their first shift of the game, but after that first period was pretty much all Devils.  New Jersey controlled the boards and as such the Ducks had difficulty getting the puck away from them and out of the zone.

About seven minutes into the period Saku Koivu was called for tripping Adam Henrique to give the Devils the first power play of the game.  However, during the advantage the Ducks caught the first break of the game, when Michael Ryder was left uncovered on the back side and nailed his shot off the pipe.

The Ducks killed the penalty and almost immediately went on a power play of their own when Cory Schneider cleared the puck over the glass while being pressured (including a little slash on the stick) by Corey Perry.  The first shift wasn't bad, but New Jersey had the two best chances while shorthanded.  The first was a two on one with Dainius Zubrus and Travis Zajac on Cam Fowler, who actually took himself out of the play and Jonas Hiller stood up to a 2 on 0 in tight.  The second came as Henrique zoomed past Francois Beauchemin on the outside and his shot went off the crossbar.

In the final three minutes of the period Damien Brunner took a hit from Marc Fistric that left him hobbled.  Brunner's leg got pinched between Fistric's and the boards, he attempted to crawl off the ice before the whistle blew and he was helped off.  He did not return to the game, but no penalty was called or really warranted.

The Ducks had another chance on the power play with just over two minutes remaining and it went a little better.  Mathieu Perreault and Kyle Palmieri each had good chances in close on Schneider.  Perreault couldn't' find any space in the five hole and Palmieri was in too close to the aggressive Schneider to lift the puck over his shoulder.

The period ended scoreless and with the Ducks leading the shot total 9-8, but five of those shots were on the power play and that didn't tell much of the story.

Second Period Recap: Early in the second the Devils still controlled much of the play, particularly with a dominating shift just shy of the five minute mark in the period, resulting in the Ducks simply icing the puck for relief.  Bruce Boudreau called his time out to give the tired troops a rest, but that didn't help.  The Ducks won the faceoff, but a nice play by Henrique to pressure Ben Lovejoy caused a turnover, Henrique flipped a backhand saucer pass to Ryder on the other side of the goal and he snapped it into the net right as it hit the ice, to give the Devils a 1-0 lead.

That seemed to wake the Ducks up, because their next two shifts were by far their best of the game to that point both in terms of controlling the puck in the Devils' zone and getting pucks/bodies to the net.

At the midway point of the period, Hampus Lindholm lost his stick and reached out to grab Jaromir Jagr for an obvious penalty.  This time however, it was the Ducks' turn to create a chance shorthanded better than any the opposing PP could muster.  Andrew Cogliano noticed that a forward, Henrique, was back to defend and attacked with speed along the wall, catching Schneider deep in his crease, but couldn't get either of his two shots past Schenider.

Later in the period with the Ducks on the attack, New Jersey got caught in their own zone and would have to pay for icing the puck themselves.  Perreault was thrown out of the circle and Teemu Selanne made to take the faceoff, he won it with the help of his "wingers" back to Ben Lovejoy.  The reverend's cross ice pass got to Fowler, who got a lot on his shot, and scored through the screen of Kyle Palmieri to tie the game.

Right after the goal, the Ducks went on a power play created by a smart play by Lindholm to throw the puck into a mass of changing Devils for a too many men call.  The PP was getting progressively better, but still unable to score before the end of the period and the teams went to the dressing rooms tied at one.

Third Period Recap: The first half of the third was relatively uneventful though the Ducks did have a power play.  Right around the midpoint Perreault gave the Ducks their first lead of the night.  Like much of this game the chance came off the rush as Palmieri used his speed on the outside and Perrault crashed the net.  When Palms got to the goal line he threw the puck in front, got a somewhat favorable bounce off of Eric Gelinas' skate where it sat just long enough for Perreault to chop it in over Schneider's shoulder.

With just over five minutes remaining, Fistric was called for interference as he tried to clear the front of the net, but neither of the players he was working on had touched the puck and finally one of the power play units was able to make their opportunity count.  Less than a minute into the PP Jagr carried the puck into the zone along the right wing wall and all four Ducks skaters were mesmerized by the puck.  That split second lapse allowed Andy Greene to sneak down to the hash marks and Jagr zipped a beauty of a backhand pass to him for the one timer to tie the game back up at twos.

Overtime Recap: There was only one shot in the overtime period and it was a good one for the Ducks.  Cam Fowler started the breakout from deep in the Ducks' zone drawing two forecheckers and beating them with a pass off the wall to Perreault who quickly tapped the puck forward to the hometown boy Palmieri.  The Devils were still in good position with two defensemen back, but Palms came in with speed, backed them off went for the wrap around and got slightly fortunate that Jon Merrill's attempt to knock the puck off of his stick deflected it over Schneider's outstretched pad and into the net to end the game.

3-2 Ducks, for their seventh straight win.  What's better than seven?  Eight!


The Good: Adjustments.  In the first the Ducks had a really hard time winning the puck away from the Devils along the wall, but as the game progressed Boudreau made some changes in his line combos (including bumping Palmieri up to the second line and Silfverberg to the first) to accentuate offense and speed rather than size which worked to the Ducks' advantage.

The Bad: The first period was controlled by the Devils.  The Ducks kept the shots close, thanks to a couple of power plays, but were a couple of posts away from a terrible start to this game.

The Ugly: The first power play for the Ducks was probably the low point of the game.  They ended up getting two shots on goal, but gave up two much better chances to the Devils shorthanded.


3rd MVD: Hampus Lindholm - while starting only 10% of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone Hampus managed a gargantuan 83.3% Corsi For percentage.  The puck was simply going the right way when he was on the ice.  Somebody in the comments will have to shed some more light on the Quality of Competition situation there though.

2nd MVD: Mathieu Perreault - scored a goal and an assist, speed was the name of the game tonight, and Perreault's line with Teemu and Palmieri was by far the biggest factor in the Ducks' win.

1st MVD: Kyle Palmieri - had a hand in each of the Ducks three goals, with the screen on the first, an assist on the second and scoring the game winner himself in overtime.  On top of that he had a couple of good chances in the first period when most of the Ducks weren't going very well.

Next Game: Saturday, December 21 - 4:00 p.m. PST @ New York Islanders