Final Score: Ducks 2, Red Wings 1
Chart via war-on-ice.com
The period started off rather simply until the Ducks secured the first PP of the game. Puck movement has been strong for the top PP unit, and Pat Maroon almost made Detroit pay, but his attempt on the door step went wide. It was a pretty feed from Ryan Getzlaf who was heading behind the net from the left wing boards. When he got to the goal line he flicked a pass back towards Maroon and the puck scooted passed the far post. Maroon looked to the heavens like Andy Dufresne in a rainstorm his first day out of Shawshank.
Not to be outdone, Tomas Tatar rang a pipe on a Detroit power play that happened later in the period. He was allowed to walk in from the half wall as Francois Beauchemin was pressuring Andrej Nestrasil, who slid the puck down the Tatar. Tomas walked it to the slot and rang it off the post. Emerson Etem made a diving play to swipe the puck out of the zone and finish the kill. And the period ended scorless, as it started.
This period began with the first goal of the game. Maroon got on top of an indecisive Jimmy Howard during the forecheck. He slid the puck up front to Corey Perry, who couldn't corral it. The puck stayed still as Perry glided passed it. Getzlaf stepped up into it to bury the puck. At this point the Ducks had been doing well controlling the shots.
Later in the period the Ducks faced a 2-on-3 coming through the middle of the ice. Justin Abdelkader fed the puck to Luke Glendening, who was forced wide by Sami Vatanen. Clayton Stoner covered Abdelkader up front, essentially neutralizing the threat. Glendening took a backhand shot from the low part of the circle that find a way to get through Frederik Andersen on the short side. It was a bad goal to give up.
In an attempt to regain the lead, Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano managed a 2-on-1 late in the period. Silfverberg rang one off the pipe, because...he does that. Andersen didn't need to rely on luck. The Red Wings countered with a rush of their own and Freddy did his best Jonas Hiller impression by keeping the puck out with his noggin. Ask Hiller how that worked out for him, Freddy. After 40 minutes we were still tied, but this time at ones.
Two minutes into the third period and it looked like the Red Wings completed their momentum takeover. The shots had been mostly going Detroit's way and a bad change by the Ducks was initiated when Ben Lovejoy failed to get the puck deep. The Wings counterpunched and Gustav Nyquist fired a bullet of a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that beat Andersen high to the glove side. It was perfect shot that went right under the bar.
Shortly after that, Ryan Kesler won the puck on a great forecheck and dished the puck to an empty slot. Matt Beleskey sped in to make sure he was the first man there. He beat two Wings and cashed in from the center of the house. It was a brilliant sequence and a clear demonstration of what the Ducks were hoping Kesler would do when they acquired him this summer to tie the game back at two.
The big play of the period was Getzlaf's game winner. Johan Franzen interfered with Getzy's pursuit of the puck, but he chased down Niklas Kronwall against the right wing boards. Getzlaf got the stick between Kronwall and the boards in an attempt to poke the puck away. It's impossible to see what happened, but Kronwall ended up going down, and Getzlaf grabbed the puck. Ericsson got stranded trying to take away the pass to Maroon. Getzlaf walked in and deposited a backhander under the bar to earn the Ducks a beautiful, beautiful win over a hated rival.
The Good: Patrick Maroon has forced goalies to make two bad turnovers that led directly to goals. He's made Dany Heatley expendable before the poor guy has even played a game. Maroon has a pair of assists to start the season and he's been absolutely on top of defenders on the forecheck. He's arguably the most positive part of the first two games of this season. He's been a good fit with the Twins and there aren't any critiques that can really be leveled against his game.
I'm going to put Frederik Andersen here too. A .931 SV% in his first start of the season is a good start for Freddy. He let in that soft backhander, but he held down the fort and was amazing when he had to be. Here's to hoping he has 60 more performances just like that in him, because...
The Bad: The Ducks were once again on the wrong side of the possession metrics. It's a dangerous game to play and tonight it almost cost them the two points. They were a referee perspective away from staring down a Detroit PP to start overtime. It's hard to look at a win and say we could have played better, but we could have played better.
The Ugly: The Tim Jackman/Nate Thompson pairing on the fourth line has been a boat anchor of Bryan Allen proportions to start the season. I felt bad for Etem having to lug those guys around this game. Etem made himself available for shots, but Jackman and Thompson couldn't play the puck to him fast enough. Last Game, Beleskey had a similar experience where he would chase down pucks just to see his linemates do nothing with it. The fourth line could be a black hole for whoever gets teamed up with Jackman and Thompson.
3rd MVD: Freddy Andersen - He definitely should have done better on the first goal, but for the second half of the game or so, he was nails, keeping the Ducks in it while Detroit controlled the play.
2nd MVD: Patrick Maroon/Ryan Kesler - See "The Good" above, for Maroon. The same goes for Kesler plus he and Sami Vatanen have made the power play look dangerous at all times.
1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf - Just look at that damn goal again:
Next Game: Monday, October 13th, 2014 @ Buffalo 12 pm PT (Columbus Day/Canadian Thanksgiving).