Final Score: Ducks 3, Calgary 2
The first chance of the game was an awkward play where Josh Manson deflected a puck, getting Frederik Andersen moving the wrong way but Cam Fowler did a good job to cover up and deflect the shot out of play. After that the Ducks took control with a particularly strong shift from the Ryan Kesler, Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon line forcing two icing calls in a row.
The Ducks opened the scoring on a good puck control shift in the Calgary zone from the top line. Corey Perry had some nifty moves to get in between defenders but Hiller made a nice save. Unfortunately for the former Duck goalie he was beaten by a deflection off of the skate of Kris Russell as Matt Beleskey tried a centering pass to Perry. 1-0 Ducks. Also notable about that goal was the fact that Mat Clark's assist was his first NHL point.
Just over seven minutes into the period Beleskey nearly got his second of the night as he ripped a one timer off the post from the high slot, but it stayed out. Five minutes later Johnny Gaudreau nearly gave the Flames another Grade A chance dangling through Clark right to the front of Freddy's crease but got too close in to Andersen to really get a shot away.
Shortly after the Gaudreau moves the Ducks caught a break as Calgary came down on a rush and just as a trailing Dennis Wideman was winding up to shoot the whistle blew as Kesler and Russell had dropped the gloves behind the play. Kesler got the better of the fight, but the Flames probably won in the big picture with Kesler off the ice for five minutes.
In the last few minutes of the period the Ducks were guilty of a few bad clearing attempts, but Calgary couldn't capitalize. However it was Gaudreau's speed got them swimming in the zone and cost the Ducks the first penalty of the game, a slew foot officially called interference by Devante Smith-Pelly, with only 45 seconds remaining in the period. Calgary had one broken play chance and a shot over the net but the penalty carried over to the second period.
The Ducks killed the rest of the penalty in the second with the most notable play being a Calgary neutral zone turnover to Ryan Getzlaf, who just lost the handle as he tried the classic Getzlaf toe drag in the slot. And the Ducks went back down a man when Clark tripped Marcus Granlund as the Finn tried to cut in around him on the right wing boards.
Shortly after the second penalty kill Perry doubled the Ducks' lead as Francois Beauchemin's shot hit Beleskey in front and he made a slick little move to kick it toward Perry who just taaaaaaaapped it in, as Chubbs Peterson would say. Despite not being as dominant, possession wise, as they were in Calgary last week, the Ducks were right back in the same position ahead by two.
Manson nearly got burned by Gaudreau on the outside, but did a really good job to cut him off and prevent a shot on goal... However to finish the play he hit him into the end boards, taking a roughing penalty. In Manson's defense while there was some minor contact to the face of Gaudreau, that was a pretty soft call. The first part of the penalty the Flames had the puck in the zone for an extended shift, longer than any other in the previous power plays, but Getzlaf made a great diving play to slap the puck down the ice and the rest of the PK was rather routine.
Just past the 15 minute mark Freddy made a great play with his goal stick to cut a cross crease pass off, denying a scoring chance for the Flames and as the Ducks rushed the other way, Rene Bourque was stopped just before getting in on a breakaway at the blue line by a recovering Derek Engelland.
In the dying seconds of the period Kyle Palmieri scored on a brilliant individual effort. He carried the puck in, chipped around Ladislav Smid, won a puck battle in the corner with Engelland, protected the puck incredibly cut to the front of the net with just enough time to get to his backhand and shovel it into the feet of an unsuspecting Jonas Hiller before falling down. Crazy goal, not one that Hiller will like when he sees the replay but what an effort from Palmieri. 3-0 Ducks. Also of note on that goal, Bourque was credited with his first point as a Duck with an assist.
Toward the end of the second period Beauch went to the dressing room and it was later announced that he had suffered an upper body injury and would not return.
After a strong cycling shift from the top line early in the period didn't produce anything, Nate Thompson had a one timer from the slot on a nice feed from Jakob Silfverberg behind the net, but Hiller got a shoulder to it and sent it out of play.
Tempers flared a little bit as Maroon and Palmieri both almost got to a fortunate bounce to the middle of the ice in front of Hiller, but nothing came of the play or the extra curriculars. Not long afterward, Cogliano and Silfverberg went in on a 2-on-1 with Silf taking the shot that was blockered away and the third line turned it into another chance in tight.
That play ended with coincidental minors to Silfverberg and T.J. Brodie for slashing to produce some 4-on-4 action. Each team had a good chance in the even strength stretch with Fowler blocking a Russell bid from in close and Manson batting his own rebound just wide out of midair, but no change to the score.
Just past the half way mark of the period, more 4-on-4 ensued from an unsportsmanlike penalty to Perry and Sven Beartchi off for slashing. This time Calgary did pull one back only a few seconds after the penalties. The Ducks failed to clear on a dump in by the Flames and Brodie stepped into a shot that grazed the jersey of a falling DSP in front of Andersen to break the shutout. 3-1 Ducks.
With 6:40 left in regulation Maroon tripped Granlund as he broke into the zone for yet another Calgary power play. This was by far the best PP of the night for the Flames. Their best chance came with only a few seconds left as (not boring) Sean Monahan was free in the slot and Freddy made an enormous save as well as stopping the rebound to help the Ducks survive. After the kill, the Ducks dodged another bullet, when Brodie hit the outside of the post.
Bob Hartley made the bold move to pull Hiller with three and a half minutes left in the third, down by two goals and almost paid off as Gaudreau appeared to score, but it was deemed a distinct kicking motion, which it TOTALLY was.
Hiller was returned to the net, which was a good thing for Calgary as the Getzlaf line put in a nice shift down low in the O-zone but Hiller was back on the bench as soon as the Flames got it to the other end. And this time it did work, Mark Giordano's shot from the point deflected beautifully by Jiri Hudler with only 25.4 seconds left in regulation. 3-2 Ducks.
This time Hiller stayed on the bench for the neutral zone faceoff Getzlaf won the faceoff forward, the Ducks didn't let Calgary back across center ice for the rest of the game and at the buzzer Getzy hoisted it into the empty net but it didn't cross the line before the clock read 0.0. But either way the Ducks keep up their decade of domination over Calgary in Anaheim with their 19th straight win over the Flames at home.
The Good: That Palmieri-Kesler-Maroon line is getting it done. Palms was the possession slacker at 5-on-5 with a mere 68.75% Fenwick For percentage, but I guess he made up for it with that crazy-go-nuts goal that ended up being the game winner. Though there is a caveat of their zone starts being easier than everyone except the fourth line of DSP centering Bourque and Tim Jackman. Nevertheless with those guys beginning to gel and Beleskey still clicking on the left of Getz and Perry the forward lines are really starting to take shape.
The Bad: Discipline. The Ducks took four penalties and got zero power plays in that game. I chalk both of those things, at least somewhat, up to Calgary's speed and really nice passing at times both forcing the Ducks into penalty situations and allowing the Flames defensive relief to keep them above reproach. Also losing Francois Beauchemin is not a good thing especially when already forced to play Mat Clark.
The Ugly: For really the fourth game in a row the Ducks played with fire after getting out to at least a two goal lead. This time a video review and an awesome save by Freddy kept them above water but it's a dangerous line to walk. Giving credit where it's due though, the Flames were very good in the third period, and much better in the first two than they were last week.
Honorable Mention: Stick tap to Getzy for some really impressive defensive plays throughout the game but I'm just going to re-arrange the real three stars.
3rd MVD: Matt Beleskey - Goal and an assist. The goal was lucky, but the assist was brilliant.
2nd MVD: Freddy Andersen - 34 saves on 36 shots, much like Sunday against Arizona he was at his best down the stretch when the team kind of dropped it on his shoulders, but he was tested much more throughout the game tonight than in that one.
1st MVD: Kyle Palmieri - Play of the game, not because it ended up being the game winner but because it was just awesome to watch in every way. Also as a proxy for Kesler and Maroon as I mentioned above in 'The Good'
Next Game: Black Friday Matinee, home to the Chicago Blackhawks at 1pm