Somewhat surprisingly, despite Jason LaBarbera being activated earlier in the week, Frederik Andersen was back in the net for his 18th straight start after having defeated Edmonton last night. Freddy was tested early on a Jacob Trouba point shot through traffic, but the Ducks didn't let it become as lopsided of a start as we saw when they were in Winnipeg on Sunday. A partial odd man rush for Ryan Getzlaf's line was broken up by a little hook that went uncalled and both Ryan Kesler's and Ricard Rakell's lines had decent shifts in the offensive zone in the first five minutes to keep the play relatively even.
Just about half way through the period, the Ducks should have been called for too many men on the ice, but ended up with Rakell going in alone on Michael Hutchenson. His wrist shot from the faceoff dot was no trouble for the rookie goalie.
Only a few minutes later the Ducks had a 2-on-1 that was broken up by a sliding Paul Postma which only resulted in a penalty to Kesler for goalie interference as he glided into Hitchenson after losing the puck. And it only took 20 seconds for Winnipeg to open the scoring with the extra man. Bryan Little scored on a one timer as they entered the zone, off the post and in. Perfect shot. In the aftermath of the goal Gezlaf lost his mind and attacked the Jet's celebration for no discernable reason. The situation was diffused without any discipline required and the Jets led 1-0.
In the last few minutes of the period Matt Halischuk had some space for a wraparound and Evander Kane in front of the net as he came from behind Andersen but couldn't find either with the puck. On Winnipeg's next foray into the Ducks' zone Little was caught for tripping Jakob Silfverberg to give the Ducks their first power play of the game.
The second unit started and looked good, recovering pucks and getting them to the net but couldn't convert. On Winnipeg's first full ice clearance Blake Wheeler hooked Sami Vatanen as he began the breakout behind Freddy Andersen to allow the Ducks a 33 second two man advantage. Incredibly stupid penalty for Wheeler to take, even though Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice was accusing Sami of holding the stick. Trouba made a nice defensive play to knock the puck off of Gezlaf's stick as he attempted a toe drag in the 5-on-3 and Sami got a point shot away just as Little was released, but the Wheeler penalty was less eventful. And the Jets went into the intermission leading 1-0 and down a man for only 20 more seconds.
As you would expect, nothing came of that short carry over penalty. At the risk of making this recap a list of calls that weren't made, I should note that Andrew Cogliano was felled by a high stick in the Winnipeg zone and needed some medical attention on the bench within the first couple minutes of the period. The Ducks did go on a power play, however just past the four minute mark when Anthony Peluso was nabbed for holding Cam Fowler.
The first unit looked good similar to previous power play opportunities, recovering pucks and holding the zone, but once it was cleared by the Jets' PK Anaheim had trouble re-entering. They did eventually get set up again thanks to a couple of failed clearing attempts. With only two seconds remaining on the Peluso penalty Silferberg skated toward the middle of the ice from the left side (Hello Kid ish) to improve his shooting angle and shot through the screen of two Winnipeg D-men to even the score. 1-1 Tie.
Not long afterward, the Ducks struck again at the end of an extended forechecking shift from the fourth line of Nate Thompson, Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon. Those fourth liners won a number of contested pucks to hold the zone and as they did, Thompson changed on the fly (second period short O Zone change) for Getzlaf who pinged one off the post and in to give the Ducks their first lead of the night. There was some minor controversy by way of Jackman making some contact with Hutchenson. Not insignificant, but you've seen them go either way. 2-1 Ducks.
Side Note: At this point of the broadcast Colby Robak had been called "Casey" twice. Is this the new "Nicolas Fasth?"
After the goal the Jets came out firing and Andersen kicked out a HUGE rebound, but the Ducks were able to recover. As they went the other way some miscommunication drew Kyle Palmieri offside and Dustin Byfuglien gave Kesler a little love tap after the whistle. Palmieri took offense with the closest guy he could find (Andrew Ladd), tempers flared and only Palms was sent to the box for roughing. The ensuing PP was killed by some very good, very aggressive Ducks shorthanded play.
The Ducks came out of the kill on the front foot thanks to some more strong OZ play from the Rakell-Cogliano-Silfverberg line. Getzlaf made a Beautiful stretch pass to spring Jackman on a partial breakaway, but it was well defended and it was Tim Jackman, so no dice. But it wasn't all Ducks the Jets were putting offensive pressure as well, and Andersen seemed to have a little trouble with rebounds in this stage of the game.
Speaking of rebounds, Andersen dropped one right in front of himself and failed to cover, causing Palmieri to panic clear it over the glass for a delay of game penalty with just over two minutes remaining in the second. BUT Hutchenson nearly walked the puck into his own goal, coughed it up behind the net to Getzlaf who found Thompson in front for an easy shorthanded goal. 3-1 Ducks.
More good, offensive penalty killing from the Ducks and a dash of good fortune off the end boards killed the rest of the penalty and one more faceoff win finished up the period. That final shift was significant though, in that Sami Vatanen took a hit from Evander Kane that didn't allow him to start the third period, but he was able to return.
The Jets started the third with a great offensive shift a few minutes in, marked mostly by Byfuglien circumnavigating the Ducks' zone, getting a point shot off and recovering his own rebound. The Ducks cleared but were right back on their heels and Halischuk's attempted wrap around clanged off of both posts, out in front of Freddy and somehow stayed out of the net. The Ducks' first real offensive threat came when Silfverberg had a chance right in front of Hutchenson but lost the handle as he turned to face the Winnipeg goalie.
On a subsequent rush up the ice Maroon got wrecked by Byfuglien near the stanchion between the benches and may have even hit the back of his head on said stanchion. Patty was no worse for wear though as only a few shifts later that fourth line went on a serious "Hit Shift" (not that they really have many other types of shifts) and were able to once again pin the Jets deep. Just after that though, the Getzlaf line was stuck in their own end for a long shift that was only relieved by some shoddy puck handling by Byfuglien. The next few shifts weren't much better and forced Bruce Boudreau to call his timeout just past the midway point of the third.
On the other side of the commercial break, the Ducks went on the power play again as Adam "Helmet" Pardy caught a little piece of Jackman as he tried to go around him for the puck and went off for interference. Getzlaf zipped a great cross ice pass to Kesler for the one timer but Hutchenson read it well and was there in plenty of time. After another quick One-T from Maroon to Vatanen that Hutchenson did well on, Jim Slater gave the Ducks another 37 seconds of 5-on-3 for attempting to win the faceoff with his hand. (stupid rule, but valid call). Getzlaf and Vatanen each hit the post during the two man advantage, but the Jets escaped unscathed.
Off of a Ducks icing, Hutchenson was pulled with 2:40 remaining and the Jets trailing by two. Immediately off the faceoff, though Clayton Stoner was sent off for interference and it became a 6-on-4 for Winnipeg. Little was denied an opportunity with a lot of space to shoot by the stick of Hampus Lindholm. Getzlaf missed the empty net with a clearance and as Ladd re-entered the zone he shot it right out of play, at which point Mourice called his timeout. Fowler missed the net from the neutral zone, but Cogliano hit it seconds later to ice the game. 4-1 Ducks.
The Good: For the fourth game in a row the Ducks went into the third period with a two goal lead, and this time they protected it better, even if they closed a rather wide possession gap primarily on the power play. Speaking of which, another good was special teams play. The Ducks were very effective on both power play and penalty kill in this game. And hey, seven straight wins... not too shabby.
The Bad: That "First Line in Name Only" isn't doing anything for me. Getzlaf is Getzlaf, but just isn't getting any help from Rene Bourque or Devante Smith-Pelly. All of the other lines have something going for them, Kesler-Bels-Palms are clicking, Rakell-Cogs-Silf has been a revelation since Ricky was recalled and Thompson-Jackman-Maroon are doing what they are paid/built for (forecheck, forecheck, forecheck), but in this game many of Getzlaf's best plays (including his goal and assist) came with the fourth liners and/or on special teams.
The Ugly: Struggling a little here as it was a pretty well played game by both teams, but as I alluded to in "The Good" the 5-on-5 possession left something to be desired for the Ducks, as they trailed by 17 shot attempts at even and full strength but only by three when special teams were taken into account. For the visually inclined of you, compare the chart at the top to this one and you'll see what I mean.
3rd MVD: Tim Jackman - representing the fourth line who were up there in 5-on-5 possession relative to the rest of the team, though that's not saying much as they were a combined minus-4 Corsi at evens. Jackman just seemed to be involved in something every time he was on the ice. He's not normally going to get a lot of love here so I say he deserves a pat on the back.
2nd MVD: Jakob Silfverberg - Awesome PP goal, and like Jackman was involved on the forecheck when the Ducks had it going. Also, probably cognitive bias after reading Kid ish's post yesterday, but it seemed to me that he was popping up on the left side of the ice quite a bit.
1st MVD: Ryan Getzlaf - Goal and an assist, both pretty. Good in all situations, just Getzlaf bein' Getzlaf. He's THE GUY, even if I'm not liking his linemates at the moment.
Next Game: Tuesday, December 16 at 4pm PT in The Centre of the Hockey Universe: Toronto, Ontario, Canada