Final Score: Ducks 1, Canucks 2 (SO)
With Cam Fowler (lower body) Francois Beauchemin (flu), Ben Lovejoy (hand) and Mark Fistric (lower back) out of the lineup the defense looked pretty ridiculous and something like this:
Bryan Allen (!) - Sami Vatanen
Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson
Clayton Stoner - Mat Clark
Off the opening faceoff Patrick Maroon and Kevin Bieksa squared off and dropped the gloves, it was a quick fight with nothing landing. The fight harkened back to the 9-1 game from last season where Bieksa was challenging Maroon as both were effectively ejected from the game. Nothing came of it in either of the two remaining games between the teams last year because Bieksa was injured, but hockey players sometimes have long memories. Somehow, I don't think that solved whatever issues Bieksa had with Maroon. And that, my friends, is what you call a staged fight.
Ryan Kesler's first contribution against his former team was a crunching hit against Janik Hansen (he of the hit that ended the Ducks Canucks series in 2007) leaving the current Canuck without a helmet. A few minutes later he had a chance on the doorstep, after Vatanen dangled through three Canucks, dished to Allen for the one timer and Kesler found the rebound, but Eddie Lack was there to stop the second opportunity.
William Karlsson created two scoring chances for the Ducks with a nice center lane drive, but neither was able to get on net. Shortly after his second, Nate Thompson was sent off for high sticking former Duck Nick Bonino. Three failed clearing attempts made it difficult for the Ducks' kill, but they did the job.
Frederik Andersen was forced to make an acrobatic diving blocker save, because of further poor clearing attempts by the Ducks after the kill, then the teams traded rushes for much of the period's remainder. The most notable of which was a shot that Andersen had to fight off after knocking it down with his glove with only a few seconds left in the period. And after 20 minutes it was still scoreless, with the Ducks outshooting Vancouver 11-9.
Only two and a half minutes into the second, the Ducks drew their first power play on a cycle shift, when Karlsson was hooked by Dan Hamhuis after taking a nice little bump from Wild Bill.... And it only took two seconds off the faceoff for Vatanen to open the scoring. 1-0 Ducks
The next couple of shifts were filled with more dominant forechecking from the Ducks, and the physicality even continued on the way up the ice, when Manson nailed Chris Higgins and had to answer with his fists against Ryan Stanton. What made the hit even more dramatic was the fact that it caused the Canucks' bench door to open, partially because it was a massive hit, but mostly because the door wasn't latched completely. Manson also got tagged with an interference penalty for the hit, which was a little ticky tacky as Higgins had just tipped it into the zone a micro-second before the hit. Regardless the Canucks were on their second PP of the night. As opposed to the previous kill, this one was made greatly easier by the Canucks clearing the zone for the Ducks.
With just over eight minutes left in the period, Alex Burrows re-directed a hopeful wristshot from the point by Hamhuis and we were all tied back up. 1-1 Tie.
Only a few minutes later, with the Canucks beginning to control the pace of the game, Allen was called for cross checking Bonino in a scrum around Andersen. The Vancouver PP was again dangerous, but also unsuccessful.
In the last minute and a half of the period Hansen was sprung on a breakaway, but Vatanen tied up his stick enough to impede him but not take a penalty and Andersen made the butterfly save. The Ducks had a flurry of chances, but were caught deep in the zone for a 2-on-1 between Henrik Sedin and Linden Vey against Lindholm, but Andersen got post to post with the glove just high enough to keep it tied to end the period.
Early in the final frame, the Ducks were unable to put away a rebound laying in the crease of Eddie Lack, and as Brandon Defazio (wakka, wakka, wakka) nearly got free on a breakaway he got tangled up with Manson at the blueline. Manson got called for interference, but Yannik Weber was tagged for roughing behind the play, creating some 4-on-4 hockey. The most important part of the 4-on-4 was Daniel Sedin somewhat limping off the ice after a collision with Kesler, but Sedin returned to the game, apparently no worse for wear.
Around the middle of the period, Stoner and Allen each ripped a heavy slap shot on Lack, but they also each gave up a partial odd man rush that Andersen was forced to make a save on. And later with Vancouver buzzing in the zone Andersen made three saves in quick succession on good close chances for the Canucks.
Andersen then, nearly cost himself the game, turning the puck over to Bonino behind the net and Bones almost banked it in off of the Danish goalie. But for the third game in a row, the Ducks were off to overtime once again.
The teams traded chances pretty wildly in the 4-on-4 overtime period. The Ducks got away with a high stick and Henrik appeared to have Andersen dead to rights, but the active stick of Matt Beleskey saved the day. The Ducks' best chance was a cross ice pass to Vatanen for a one timer from inside the faceoff dot, but his chance was deflected off of the shaft of Alexander Edler's stick. The last shift of the overtime was a flurry of chances for the Ducks, but nothing made its way past Lack and for the second consecutive game the skills competition would decide the game.
Getzlaf - Save (five hole)
Bonino - Goal (five hole)
Silfverberg - Miss (post)
Higgins - Save (toe)
Kesler - Miss (post)
Good: Freddy Andersen continues to be outstanding. There is no way the Ducks make it to overtime, much less a shootout without his fantastic performance tonight. There was nothing he could have done about the goal, and he came thisclose to stopping Bones on the shootout.
Bad: The Ducks had stretches of good play, but really the only thing that was consistent on the night was their physicality. Clearly the coaching staff put an emphasis on finishing checks against a Canucks team that is not considered to be very physical and was on the second game of back to backs. Ironically, the Canucks seemed to get stronger as the game moved on. The punishing hits, of which there were many, didn't seem to affect them at all and in fact, if you didn't know better you might think the Ducks were the team on the short side of back to backs until overtime.
Ugly: Zone exits were, awful but I guess, considering the inexperience and the fact that Bryan Allen could be considered a top pairing defenseman tonight, that should have been expected. Fowler seemed to have a chance to play tonight, but let's hope they were keeping him out just to get a couple extra days healing before the next two games against ... Them.
3rd Icehole: The Goal Post - Silf and Kesler had Lack beat in the shootout but couldn't get by his best friend. Shootouts suck.
2nd Icehole: Nick Bonino - We all probably knew he was going to come back and haunt us. Looked dangerous all night, secondary assist on the goal, and sick hands on the deciding shootout goal. (Also I may or may not be bitter that I never got to reference Nightmare Before Christmas when he had a good game with Anaheim by using the phrase "Nice work, Bone Daddy!")
1st Icehole: The Defense - Just look at that lineup on the top of the post. If this continues for any extended period of time, we're pretty much hosed.
Next Game: Wednesday, November 12, 7:30pm PT, Home to the Los Angeles Kings on NBCSN