Final Score: Anaheim Ducks 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Corey Perry ended the last game, against Buffalo with a bang and he picked up right where he left off. Only seconds into the game David Savard was called for hooking Jakob Silfverberg sending the Ducks on the power play and it took Perry just over a minute of PP time to drive the net, dangle around the poke check of Sergei Bobrovsky and give the Ducks a 1-0 lead on the first shot of the game.
The Ducks killed a Nate Thompson penalty then it was Sami Vatanen's turn to strike with the extra man. During Matt Calvert's hooking penalty the Vat-Man skated himself into some space, stepped up to the top of the circle and just wired one right through Perry's screen and Bobrovsky to double the lead. Of course three of the Jackets' four wins on the season came as a result of two goal comebacks so one could argue, at that point they had the Ducks exactly where they wanted them.
Sure enough, thanks to a Ben Lovejoy tripping penalty and an unlucky bounce off of Hampus Lindholm, Columbus pulled within one. Ryan Johansen made a nice pass to Scott Hartnell in the slot, on which John Gibson made the save, but unfortunately batted the rebound out of mid air off of Lindholm and into the net. 2-1 Ducks.
Although all of the scoring came on the power plays in the first period there were a number of mad scrambles around both goalies' creases at even strength as well. For some reason the puck seemed to be sitting in front of the goal a lot, without anyone able to clear, cover or score in the first 20 minutes.
Undoubtedly the star of the second period for me was Devante Smith-Pelly. Playing up with Ryan Getzlaf and Perry does wonders for just about everyone, but DSP had three outstanding chances in this period alone. The first came on a very heavy shift in which he got laid out by James Wisniewski on one attempted breakout, then returned the favor on the next time up ice creating a 2-on-1 with Perry. Smith-Pelly took the shot, which caused Bobrovsky no trouble whatsoever. But the play ended with one of the more odd things you'll see in a hockey game. Perry and Wisniewski got tangled up and the achilles guards on their skates got intertwined so that neither could get free. It was actually a little scary at first because the play was whistled down as if one or both of them were hurt, but as it turned out it was just comical.
Devo's second chance was even better a few minutes later when Perry's shot from distance hit him, got tangled up in his gear and nobody else seemed to know where it was. From a prone position on his belly, DSP shoveled the puck out of his body to his stick and nearly tapped it right around the unsuspecting Bobrovsky, but no dice.
Third time was the charm for DSP though as once again he was set up in front of the net, Getzlaf sent a rink wide pass to Perry who threw it right to Smith-Pelly for a neat little redirection through Bobrovsky's pads as he tried and to get back and forth across his crease. And the second period ended with the Ducks outshooting Columbus 20-12 and with a 3-1 lead in the column that really counts.
The third period was mostly marked by a couple of injuries to the Jackets, which is the last thing that they need, having already been ravaged by the injury bug. three minutes in Adam Cracknell and Nate Thompson went awkwardly into the boards and Cracknell's left leg got pinned underneath himself. He left the game with assistance, not putting any weight on the leg, luckily he was able to return to the game.
As for the actual play, the first half of the period or so was a little score effect-y with the Ducks doing a heck of a lot of defending, but that all changed once they got back onto the power play and fired up by a little bit of nastiness. Hartnell took a bit of a run at Lindholm behind the Ducks net, sticking out is leg to make contact with Lindholm who had almost gotten out of the way. The Ducks didn't take too kindly to that and chippiness ensued. The only call was the original one against Hartnell for what they deemed a trip. The fourth man advantage for the Ducks was firing on all cylinders but couldn't quite break through.
Just at the tail end of that power play was the other scary injury to a Columbus player occurred as Ryan Kesler entered the zone, got tripped up and clipped Cam Atkinson in the face with his skate. Luckily again, Atkinson was able to skate off on his own power and after the blood was scraped off the ice, he even came back to play one more shift in the game. The good news for the Ducks was that the dominance displayed on that last power play carried over to the rest of the game, they were able to finish strong and call it a relatively complete game.
With about three minutes left, Getzlaf led Perry into the zone with a bank pass, the league's leading goal scorer flew down the left wing and wired one up high, but off the upper 90 and out, proving that he is in fact human. With Bobrovsky pulled Getzlaf missed the net from the blueine, but was able to seal it on his second attempt. For the second game in a row the Ducks prevailed by a score of 4-1.
The Good: Similar to Sunday night's game against St. Louis, the Ducks were pretty clearly the better team in just about every aspect of the game. Also similar to St. Louis, Columbus wasn't quite fully armed and operational but the Ducks did well to take advantage of that and thoroughly beat the team that was put in front of them, which is about all we can ask. It was also good to see John Gibson getting back on the horse, even if he wasn't tested all that much, with only 17 shots faced.
The Bad: As I mentioned, it was a pretty complete game from the Ducks barring one tough bounce and a flat start to the third period with a two goal lead. Really there wasn't much bad, which was particularly good to see that they didn't carry over any bad habits from the Buffalo game, the way they did the first time.
The Ugly: Richard Kober Alert! I'm going to rag on the fans a bit. The reactions to both the Perry/Wiz skate tangle and the Atkinson skate cut were less than ideal. In the former case, it was laughter which is understandable to some extent but when a play has to be stopped because your RED HOT goal scorer is down, possibly injured, maybe wait a sec to confirm before cracking up. Worse than that was booing while Atkinson laid face down on the ice, because the Ducks had the advantage. I'll admit I didn't see the skate blade hit his face until getting home and checking the replays but it was pretty clear that something bad happened and the play was justifiably stopped even before the blood scrapers had to come out. But all's well that ends well, nobody was seriously hurt in either case and I had was forced to go on about that instead of ranting about how horrid the power play was, like last year.
2nd MVD: Devante Smith-Pelly - just seemed to be all over the place, especially in that second period.
1st MVD: Corey Perry - probably the main reason that DSP was so good tonight. Perry is just feeling it right now, with a league leading nine goals in only eight games. I'm happy to ride this wave as long as it lasts.
Next Game: Sunday, October 26th, 5:00 PM, vs. San Jose Sharks