The first twenty minutes of regulation concluded with the Anaheim Ducks enjoying a two goal lead as they headed back into the locker room for intermission. They were also up in shots on goal with 15 over the 11 posted by Philadelphia. That's pretty impressive considering with 13 minutes left in the period, the Ducks were down 7-2 in shots on goal.
The first Anaheim goal came from an unlikely stick with Tim Jackman potting his first goal of the year with a nifty backhanded shot that lifted a rebounded puck past Philadelphia netminder Steve Mason. The play started with a clean offensive zone faceoff win by center, Nate Thompson, winning the puck back to Francois Beauchemin. Beau then fired a rocket from the blue line that was clearly too powerful for Mason to handle, leaving the rebound open for Jackman to capitalize on the opportunity.
Anaheim extended their lead with a second goal from Devante Smith-Pelly, his first goal and first point of the regular season. DSP really has learned how to utilize his strong stature to best contribute to the game. This goal was a perfect example. The 220-pound forward parked himself just off Mason's right shoulder, in perfect position to redirect a blue line bid from Hampus Lindholm who was accredited with the primary assist.
So the first period was a plethora of fun uncommon occurrences, including a 4-on-4 scenario, and a Tim Jackman goal. Considering the Ducks are missing heavy-hitters such as Dany Heatley and Pat Maroon, as well as notorious Eastern Conference force, Kyle Palmieri, a two goal lead after 20 minutes was pretty ideal.
The Philadelphia Flyers are a notoriously strong team in the middle period of the regular season games so far, tallying half of their eight goals for in the second periods of the games played thus far, and they have yet to take a penalty in the middle frame. The Ducks, on the other hand, have fallen shorhanded a total of five times in the second period, which is more than half of their total (nine).
Well, those trends unfortunately continued to carry through into the second period of Tuesday's game. Anaheim fell shorthanded three times, including an unfortunate 48-second overlap between penalties leaving them with the short end of the stick in a 5-on-3 scenario. Just past 11 minutes into the second period Jakob Silfverberg started the trio of penalties with a holding called against him, and that sparked a miniature parade to the box. Silverberg was followed by Andrew Cogliano, penalized for slashing, just 1:12 later (hence the 48-seconds of 5-on-3), and Lindholm later in in the period. Philly capitalized on the two man advantage as well as the Lindholm penalty, first by Mark Streit, the second from Wayne Simmonds (his third of the season so far).
Anaheim struck back, regaining the lead and closing out the period on top of a 3-2 scoreboard. Matt Beleskey scored his third goal in as many games off a beautiful give-and-go play, with assists going to linemates (at least for tonight) Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Somehow, Anaheim came out ahead after 40 minutes, even though they fell behind significantly with just 21 shots on goal, trailing Philadelphia's impressive 29. The Ducks have been blocking shots, hitting a ton, and somehow holding a lead despite coming up empty on two power play opportunities, and falling behind in the faceoff circle.
The third period, despite staying largely even strength was a pretty lousy effort by the Ducks. I would love to attribute it to fatigue considering they were playing their second game in as many days, however it wasn't sluggishness or lethargy that made it a bad period for Anaheim. Instead it was incomplete passes, neutral zone turnovers, bad defensive choices, losing battles for pucks along the boards, and the worst defensive zone turnovers I've seen in a long time.
All of that came together on the goal for Jakub Voracek to tie the game at three. The Ducks had several opportunities to clear the zone with full possession but turned it over and over and over again until Vorcek swooped around behind the net and lifted the puck over Frederik Andersen's shoulder with a shot that was just about perfect. And so it was off to overtime.
Despite some back and forth action, during the sudden-death five-minute extra period, there was a grand total of one shot on goal. That shot came arguably after the whistle that marked the conclusion of OT and that this tie game would progress to a shootout. There was no other whistle breaking up the flow of the extra period, and each team had some legitimately solid offensive opportunities, however neither team could score forcing the game into a shootout.
|Team||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4|
|Philadelphia||Miss - Voracek||Goal - Giroux||Miss - Read||Miss - Courturier|
|Anaheim||Goal - Silfverberg||Miss - Perry||Miss - Kesler||Goal - Karlsson|
Anaheim's rookie, William Karlsson, ended the game in the fourth round of the shootout with a beautiful goal sneaking a top shelf goal past Philly's netminder, Steve Mason. The first three shooters for each team scored a total of one goal each, Anaheim's by Silfverberg and Philadelphia by Giroux. Freddie Andersen showed how collected he can be when playing aggressively and cutting off shooting angles. None of the Ducks' shooters deked, and all of them went glove side on Mason. Hooray for scouting!
The Good: Anaheim's secondary scoring really pulled through with goals coming from players like Tim Jackman and Devante Smith-Pelly, who had both been held scoreless to this point in the regular season. Anaheim also saw the reunion of a trio from a large chunk of last season with Matt Beleskey jumping onto the top line alongside the twins, which also led to Beleskey's third goal in three games. Even without top line offensive talents such as Dany Heatley or Patrick Maroon the Ducks managed to score three goals and continue to challenge offensively.
The Bad: The second half of the game showed a lot of weaknesses in Anaheim's game. From lack of energy to simply not playing any sort of defense, the Ducks have plenty left to work on, especially when it comes to the second game in back-to-back situations. I have to call attention to a weak defensive performance especially in the third period, with serious mishandles in front of Anaheim's goal, with far too many defensive zone turnovers.
The Ugly: A completely botched opportunity in the second period was pretty damn ugly. The Ducks were killing a penalty, and after clearing the puck, Cogliano preceded to chase after it and one Philly sweater. What stopped said chase you ask? Interference from the referee. Cogliano was skating in a straight path, and the ref, completely oblivious and probably making googly eyes at the Flyer who just skated by him, drifts right into Cogliano's path. Cogliano's attempt to turn a shorthanded situation into a potential scoring opportunity was completely nullified by one stupid ref's idiotic absentmindedness.
3rd MVD: Matt Beleskey - With Pat Maroon out of the lineup, Beleskey didn't skip a beat when jumping up onto the top line alongside Perry and Getzlaf. He also scored the third go-ahead goal for the Ducks with less than 20 seconds remaining in an otherwise horrible second period. Had Beleskey not scored that third Anaheim goal, I have a strong feeling that the Ducks would not have been able to force overtime and thus fallen to the Flyers.
2nd MVD: Frederik Andersen - Despite a subpar performance by the defensive units in front of him, Andersen stopped 39 of 42 shots faced through regulation and overtime, as well as three of four shooters in the shootout. The team in front of him didn't do much to help him, however he did everything he had to in order to keep Anaheim's hopes of winning alive including bailing them out of some bad turnovers in the defensive zone. This win also marks the seventh consecutive win for Andersen in regular season play.
1st MVD: William Karlsson - The rookie breakout sharpshooting forward strikes again with the most important goal of the night - the shootout winner in the fourth round that won Anaheim the game. Karlsson seriously impressed me all night with his speed, puck handling, and the release on his lethal wrist shot. This kid is talented and he is hungry for a real shot in the NHL, so I completely support Anaheim giving him that chance this season, especially with his skills in the faceoff circle. [Ed Note: Karlsson primarily played on a line with Silf, and Rakell. I move to officially dub that line "The Bork, Bork, Bork Line" -CK]
Next Game: Friday, October 17, 2014 (7:00pm) vs. Minnesota Wild @ Honda Center (Home Opener!)