Final Score: Ducks 2, Coyotes 1
Chart via war-on-ice.com
Before we get started with the recap a few roster announcements. Clayton Stoner was out due to "Mump like symptoms" and Rene Bourque's visa cleared so that he could play. As such there was quite a bit of roster shift, so here is how the Ducks lined up:
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon - Ryan Kesler - Kyle Palmieri
Andrew Cogliano - Nate Thompson - Jakob Silfverberg
Rene Bourque - Rickard Rakell - Devante Smith-Pelly
Cam Fowler - Josh Manson
Francois Beauchemin - Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm - Mat Clark
And of course Frederik Andersen in net.
Right from the drop of the puck the Ducks were in control. On their first shift the top line had a heck of a shift with three shots, but none ended up counting as a shot on net. Perry's sharp angle shot went off the side of the net, Beleskey's went wide and Perry had another chance in front but couldn't get all of it. Only about a shift later Getzlaf got into it, picking up a rebound with half the net to shoot at, but couldn't quite control the puck.
Peripheral note: Instead of the standard end zone shoveling by the power players, the ice crew debuted the new full ice manual dry scrape where the power players do laps up and down the entire surface and the snow is shoveled into buckets behind the goal line. It was super fast and seemed to work well. Not sure why they haven't been doing that all along.
Just before the midpoint of the period Arizona took the first penalty of the game with Lucas Lessio going off for high sticking Palmieri. The Ducks' power play didn't get anything done thanks to some bad neutral zone passing, specifically from Cam Fowler.
Bourque's only two contributions of the first period were hits, the one that stood out was when he sent Joe Vitale flying toward the end boards.
The Kesler line had a dominant shift toward the end of the period when they simply won every race/battle for every loose and/or 50/50 puck but still couldn't solve Mike Smith. There's not much else to say about this first period except that the Ducks absolutely owned the puck, outshooting Arizona 12-4 in the opening 20, but with nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.
That territorial domination continued at the start of the second. Lsss than a minute in Getzlaf dangled around two Coyote defenders and shoveled one across the crease, but Smith had everything sealed up down low so Perry and Beleskey couldn't jam it in.
The Ducks got their second power play opportunity of the night when Sam Gagne cross checked Thompson into the Ducks' net, knocking it off it's moorings (the official call was interference). That caused an interesting visual as the Ducks maintained possession and all six Ducks (including Andersen going to the bench for the extra attacker) rushed up the ice while the net was off. Alas, nothing came from the delayed penalty or the subsequent PP which was just as bad as the first, despite marginally better neutral zone transitions.
Just as the game was about to settle into a lull, Smith broke out the Yakety Sax. The ever active Coyotes' goalie went behind the net to retrieve a dump in and flat out ate sh** all on his own, then Zbnyk Michalek fell on top of him, preventing him from getting back into the net. Kesler swung the puck in front to Palmieri for an empty netter. And after such good play by the Ducks as well as Smith the difference in the game was a fluke. 1-0 Ducks.
Immediately off the faceoff Silfverberg took the puck right into the crease for a good scoring chance, but the Coyotes did get some life after that. Shane Doan was parked right in front of Freddy and had two very good redirect chances, one that went wide an one that Andersen had to fight off with his shoulder/blocker/upper body area. The Ducks caught a bit of a break though when Getzlaf's turnover at the offensive blueline only lead to an icing call, with the outlet pass missing Doan at the Anaheim blue line.
That break ended up being a double whammy as from the offensive zone faceoff Maroon made it 2-0. Kesler won the faceoff back to Vatanen who shot it and the rebound popped right to Maroon who turned and CRUSHED it past Smith all in one motion.
So after two periods of Ducks dominance, it showed on the scoreboard in both the shots 25-12 and the score 2-0, and as you can see from the chart above, the fancy stats were telling exactly the same story, but so was the case last Tuesday in Calgary and we all know how that turned out.
Early in the period Arizona got their first power play of the evening and it went very well for the first 1:30 or so. Getzlaf battled tooth and nail with Keith Yandle to work the puck over the blueline, eventually resorting to a soccer style slide tackle. After that Cogliano and Silfverberg had a little bit of shorthanded offensive zone time and played a bit of four corners, but when it came back into the Ducks' end the last time they were a bit lucky to survive. Andersen was swimming with a puck that bounced straight up in the air and after he got re-set he had to save a bomb from Gagne at the point.
After the power play, the Coyotes' score effects started to kick in, largely on a count of the Ducks failing to clear the zone well. And that was what eventually lead to the Coyotes' goal. With the Ducks, stuck in their own end for an extended shift, Yandle snuck down right into the slot and got a perfect feed from Martin Erat behind the net and Yandle one timed it five hole on Andersen. 2-1 Coyotes.
Only about a minute later full Calgary flashbacks were in effect as Doan got in behind the entire Ducks defense for a partial breakaway. Hampus caught up to him and tied him up, preventing him from getting a shot off. He was called for a holding penalty, but surprisingly a two minute minor rather than a penalty shot. The crowd was not amused, and it was marginal, but close enough that the ref is going to call that every time.
Other than one sphincter clenching second where Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a wide open net for a one timer, but the puck hit his skate instead of his stick, the second kill was even better than the first for the Ducks. Also, just as the penalty expired, the puck came to center ice and Lindholm was off to the races on a breakaway of his own. He tried to go five hole, but Smith was once again all over it.
Toward the end of the period the Ducks were getting stuck in their zone even more, and Bruce Boudreau was forced to take a timeout after an icing that may not have occurred if it wasn't for the aforementioned full ice shoveling just a minute or so before.
With just under a minute remaining, there was a mad scramble in the corner of the Ducks' zone that looked like it could kill off almost the rest of the game if the Ducks came out with it. Unfortunately Beauchemin gave a little cross check to Erat and the Coyotes had one more chance to send it to overtime. During the final 41 second long Arizona PP (6-on-4 with Smith pulled), the Ducks cleared it twice, but had to survive one last shot with five seconds left before officially clinching their first regulation win since Nov 2 at Colorado.
The Good - Just about everything from those first two periods. The Ducks are starting to show that they can control the possession in stretches, the next step is just to make it last for the whole game and keep it consistent. It was a bit frustrating that Mike Smith was playing equally as well, until the slip, but eventually it payed off.
The Bad - It was still a little too close for comfort. They took the step forward from their last two games, by not squandering a two goal lead again, but had difficulty getting the puck out of their own end in the third, other than to get a change. And ultimately they were out shot 17-5 in the final frame, never a good thing.
The Ugly - Ugly doesn't always have to be a bad thing. When it's an ugly goal for the Ducks we'll take it just as much as a top shelf snipe job. Whenever you score a goal with the goalie under one of his own defenders behind the net, there is no other word than ugly to describe it.
Next Game: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 7PM vs. the Calgary Flames