After the Ducks saw the snapping of their seven-game winning streak on Tuesday in Toronto, Anaheim looks for a comeback victory, this time looking to triumph over the Montreal Canadiens. This matchup will be the first time that Anaheim and Montreal will face after the trade that sent Bryan Allen to the Canadiens' bench/press box and brought Rene Bourque to southern California. It's unsure if Allen will dress for Thursday's contest against his former team as he has been out with the flu since December 8th.
Some of the ugliest statistics for Anaheim in their matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night were under the "faceoff percentage" column. Ryan Getzlaf, who had four consecutive games winning at least 53% of faceoffs taken, had a disappointing 38.5% success rate in the faceoff circle on Tuesday. Rookie, and supposed faceoff mongul, Rickard Rakell posted an abysmal 25% win rate in faceoffs.
On the bright side Ilya Bryzgalov made a few great saves and showed that he may not be as rusty as he even thought, and Sami Vatanen showed that he could be a complete and total animal on both sides of the special teams by tallying his first career shorthanded goal off a gorgeous wrist shot that hit net behind Jonathan Bernier in the second period.
On the injury front, Kyle Palmieri left the game on Tuesday night with a shoulder injury. We won't know the full extent of it until he is re-evaluated in Anaheim after the trip, per Eric Stephens, but Emerson Etem has been called up from Norfolk in his place. At the other end of the injury spectrum Francois Beauchemin is newly listed as a possibility. The reliable defensemen, who suffered a broken finger back in late November, is rumored to have practiced with the team on Saturday and could potentially meet up with the Ducks and dress for the game in Montreal. However, again according to Stephens it appears that they'll keep Beauch out at least one more game to ensure that his hand is fully healed.
What Can We Learn From This Game:
Can Anaheim start scoring, rather than just shooting a ton of pucks on the opponent’s goal?
On Tuesday night’s game the Ducks lobbed a total of 42 shots on Toronto netminder Bernier, 17 shots in the first period alone. However only two pucks got by into the goal behind Bernier meaning the comeback effort from Anaheim fell short, causing their winning streak to come to a screeching halt. Anaheim’s powerplay attempts were unsuccessful on two different powerplay opportunities.
Can the Ducks keep their tempers in check?
When calls weren’t going in favor of the Ducks, they began losing tempers and spiraling out of control and into the penalty box. Despite not tallying any penalty minutes in the first period the Ducks ended the night with 22 penalty minutes to the team collectively, 18 of which were in the third period alone thanks to a 10 minute misconduct to Tim Jackman. Discipline has been an inconsistent area for Anaheim with some players falling into hot-headed habits and taking retaliation penalties at the most inopportune times in the games, sometimes leaving the Ducks in an even more difficult uphill battle to tie the game than when they can play even-strength.
Rene Bourque proves Anaheim got the better end of the Allen-Bourque exchange by scoring what turns out being the game-winning goal before the half-way mark of the game.