Final Score: Flyers 3, Ducks 5
First Period Recap: I wouldn't say the Flyers dominated the first period of play, but thanks to three power plays, they certainly had the better of the chances. The first of those three chances came only three minutes into the game when Mark Fistric was caught for interfering with Steve Downie. Though the Ducks' kill was better than it was Tuesday night against Minnesota, that's not saying much. Philly possessed the puck for most of the two minute stretch but didn't have those dangerous cross ice feeds that the Wild made look so easy.
The Ducks drew first blood near the midpoint of the period when Mathieu Perreault couldn't quite handle a cross ice pass from Teemu Selanne for a tip in goal, but the puck came back to Francois Beauchemin at the point. Beauch's shot was deflected by a Flyer defender and then by Patrick Maroon before entering the net.
Philly got their second opportunity on the PP after Zac Rinaldo put a MASSIVE hit on Nick Bonino as Bones was starting the breakout. At first glance the hit may have been high, but upon further review it was clean as a whistle, I'm shocked NHL.com doesn't have it in the highlight package. Still, Matt Beleskey didn't take too kindly to it and tried to defend Bonino, but ended up with two for interference (???). Bonino left the game holding his arm, but returned later.
This chance with the extra man was the Flyers' most dangerous. First, Scott Hartnell was denied a grade A chance in the slot by the stick of Beauchemin, and Hartnell was so frustrated by it he threw his stick straight up in the air as the puck went out of play. But in the dying seconds of the penalty Erik Gustafsson got a cross ice pass over to Vinny Lecavalier whose shot trickled through the five hole of Frederik Andersen to tie the game at one.
Andersen made the save of the night on Philly's third power play of the game. He stopped Brayden Coburn's point shot, but left a rebound that Lecavalier jumped on but Andersen dove back to deny Vinny his second goal of the night with his glove.
Despite being somewhat outplayed, the Ducks would find a way to head into the dressing room up by a goal. In the last minute of the period Kyle Palmieri turned on the jets, carrying the puck into the Flyers' zone didn't have a shot so he wheeled around, behind Steve Mason and sent the puck back to Hampus Lindholm for the point shot. Ryan Getzlaf crossed the crease and made a deft little deflection down and through the five hole of Mason for the 2-1 lead with only 36 seconds remaining.
The Flyers out shot the Ducks 10-5 in the period, with six of their ten shots coming on the PP.
Second Period Recap: Right off the hop in the second Downie put a hit on Getzlaf and the captain decided to drop the gloves for the second time this season with the former cheap shot artist turned journeyman pest. That's a terrible trade off for the Ducks, and with only a one goal lead, you'd like to think Getzy would know better than to take himself out of the game for five minutes.
The Ducks did a much better job of controlling the puck and keeping it in the Flyers' end in the second. The question then becomes, was it because they took fewer penalties (only the Getzlaf fighting major in fact) or was that a result of their improved performance? We may never know.
One of the best chances they had came from the forecheck of the Selanne, Perreault Maroon line when Teemu got to a rebound in front of Mason took a quick shot off of his pad and nearly pulled the third opportunity around the former Blue Jacket goaltender but Mark Streit made a fantastic play to sweep it off of his stick and clear the zone.
Just past the halfway mark of the game the Ducks extended their lead to 3-1 on a 4-on-2-ish rush (Philly had backheckers nearby but they weren't engaged in the play). Cam Fowler touched the puck up the wall to Getzlaf. As he hit the blueline, Dustin Penner drove the center lane to open up space for Corey Perry and Hampus Lindholm who had joined the rush and Getzlaf's pass went through Lindholm to Perry who shot it back across the grain for a beautiful goal.
The Ducks got their first power play of the night in the waning moments of the period, but couldn't convert before the horn sounded and for my money the "Begin the period with fresh ice on the power play" may just be the most overrated comment in hockey.
Third Period Recap: ...As such, the Ducks did not capitalize on the remaining power play time in the final frame.
Not quite six minutes into the period the Flyers drew back within one as Streit made his way down to the Ducks' goal line before throwing a harmless looking puck at Andersen that deflected off the Dane's chest, off the knee of Matt Read and into the net.
About five minutes later the Flyers had a great chance to get back into the game as their dangerous looking power play would be called upon again when Lindholm was sent off for high sticking Giroux. However, it was the Ducks who took advantage. Saku Koivu intercepted a Kimo Timmonen pass at the point, and started a 2-on-1 break against his countryman with Daniel Winnik. Koivu got the pass across to Winnik who settled it down just enough to get a wrister off, back across the goal over the right hand of Mason, making it 4-1 Ducks.
Moments later Winnik was parked in the slot and nearly had another as he redirected a point shot right at the five hole of Mason, but the goaltender did well to shut the door just in time.
Down by two goals, Craig Berube decided to pull Mason with over two and a half minutes remaining but to no avail. Streit mishandled the puck at the blueline and was pressured back to his own line by Andrew Cogliano. Strait then turned it over to Koivu who went for the give and go with Cogs before scoring into the empty net.
With only nine seconds remaining, Michael Raffl gathered a rebound at the top of Andersen's crease and his shot deflected in off of Mark Fistric's stick for one of the more pointless goals of the season, to make the final score 5-3 for the Ducks.
The Good: Five goals from five different players. Two dirty goals off of deflections/screens, two pretty shots resulting from pretty passing plays off the rush (one shorthanded), and an empty netter caused by high pressure on the puck. That's a nice diverse set of goals.
The Bad: This is going to sound like a good thing (because it is) but I'll put it here because it's bad news for Jacob Silfverberg (healthy scratch tonight); Patrick Maroon has stepped up his game and consistently makes his line with Perreault and Teemu better as well as fitting in seamlessly on the left with Getzlaf and Perry. With physical play at a premium down the stretch and in the playoffs, Silfverberg should probably start worrying about his role on this team.
The Ugly: Four penalties to one power play. The Ducks need to be more disciplined if their PK is going to allow as many dangerous chances as they did in these past two games.
3rd MVD: Patrick Maroon - scored against the team who drafted and gave up on him, but just as importantly the team just seems to be better when he's in the lineup using his size and strength down low and in the crease to hold the puck and cause havoc.
2nd MVD: Daniel Winnik - Along with Cogliano and Koivu kept Claude Giroux off the scoreboard, scored a beauty of a shorthanded goal, his first goal of any kind in 48 games and very nearly had a second later in the game.
1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf - I didn't like his decision to fight Downie in the second period, but the Gordie Howe Hat Trick is just another example of how Getzy simply does everything for this team.
Next Game: Saturday, February 1, 7:00 PM, vs. the Dallas Stars