The return of Ducks hockey following the Christmas break also marked the return of Francois Beauchemin to the lineup after 13 games out with a finger injury. While the same was not true for Corey Perry, still nursing a knee injury, there was some serious shaking up in the forward lines. Rene Bourque and Devante Smith-Pelly reunited on Ryan Getzlaf's wings. Surprisingly, the third line of Rickard Rakell, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg that was humming along going into the break was dismantled, moving Cogs down to the fourth line with Dany Heatley and Nate Thomposon. Of course part of that change was required due to Tim Jackman's absence (thanks to John Scott). Patrick Maroon joined the two swedes in Cogs' place and the second line was the only one to really remain stable.
The first five minutes or so was pretty uneventful, other than Heatley getting crunched along the boards as he attempted to carry in. Just before the midway point of the first, Getzlaf did what Getzlaf does, he entered the zone with speed, caught Martin Hanzal flat footed and looked back to find Bourque crashing the net for his second goal as a Duck, but all he had to do was get to the front, keep his stick on the ice and let Getzy do his thing. 1-0 Ducks.
It didn't take long for Arizona to get it right back, only 73 seconds in fact. Milan Michalek's point shot went through a few layers of traffic, and may have been deflected high in the zone by Thompson before it beat Frederik Andersen to tie the game at one.
The first power play opportunity of the game was awarded to the Ducks when Antoine Vermette hauled down Thompson as he drove the center lane. The Ducks PP, scoreless in their last four games, did not improve over the break. They nearly gave up a three on one rush shorthanded, recovered on the back check and turned it the other way, but still didn't really make anything of it. The second unit set up in the zone for the last 30 seconds or so, but their best opportunity resulted in a broken stick.
Overall the first period was evenly played, shots favoring Anaheim 9-8, if not incredibly exciting.
Early in the second Mikkel Boedker got around Sami Vatanen at the beeline for a two on one with Vermette against Clayton Stoner. The cross ice pass was a beauty, Vermette had Andersen beaten all the way, but the shot deflected off of Stoner's leg and harmlessly into the corner to keep the game tied at ones. But Arizona kept the pressure up, aside from one short shift, the Coyotes controlled much of the early part of the period eventually leading to a power play after Thompson boarded Joe Vitale deep in the Ducks' zone. The Coyotes' PP was better than the Ducks' but Anaheim still had some offensive zone time on the kill thanks to a clearing attempt being touched by an Arizona high stick and then Devan Dubnyk gathering it up, followed by a nice little shift from Cogliano and Silfverberg.
Shortly after the kill, Andersen absolutely ROBBED Boedker at the side of the net. Freddy made a good stop on Shane Doan from the slot but kicked a rebound out to Boedker on his left and somehow Andersen was able to get back and stifle the second opportunity with his glove.
Really the story of the second period was a lot of control by the Coyotes, and on the rare occasion that the Ducks found themselves in the offensive zone it was one and done at best. Part of that was attributable to Dubnyk not allowing many rebounds, and the other part was due to Arizona being much better at recovering pucks in the defensive end. Even so, the period ended as it began, tied at one and this time the shots totals also matched (18 each).
Before the first minute of the third was even over each team had a good chance, first it was Ryan Kesler redirecting a pass on Dubnyk from the top of the crease and then Keith Yandle (Yandle Alert!) snuck down from the point for an undefended point blank shot that missed the net. Only a minute or two later Rakell and Maroon went in 2-on-1 but as Ricky dragged across the crease, he was denied by a great stick check from Connor Murphy.
Cogliano and Thompson would have had another 2-on-1 for the Ducks, but Thompson wasn't quick enough to keep up with Cogs, so he took it to the faceoff dot and ripped it off the post. The pace slowed significantly after those first few frantic minutes with the Coyotes working on their PIDs (pucks in deep) and the Ducks content to chip it out, rinse and repeat.
The last five to seven minutes of regulation were more aggressive offensively from the Ducks. Emerson Etem had a couple of good shifts, to atone for being a bit of an offensive killjoy in the second period. Patrick Maroon had the last chance of the period, right at the buzzer dangling around Yandle, but not much difficulty for Dubnyk to get a blocker on it and send us to overtime.
Arizona started with possession for most if not all of the first minute of the extra session, but the Ducks were the ones with the first couple of chances based on the speed of Cogliano and Etem. Cogs was just a hair late, getting to an area pass from Hampus Lindholm (partially thanks to an Oliver Eckman-Larsson hook, that as just about everything else in this game, went uncalled) and Etem nearly ended it on a redirection of a cross ice pass from Cam Fowler, but the puck never got on net. In the last minute of the 4-on-4 Vatanen turned the puck over at the offensive blueline that led to a Vermette breakaway from just inside the Ducks' defensive blueline, but he was mauled by a back checking Stoner and it was off to the skills competition we went.
Boedker: threw a ton of moves, but was SAVED by the blocker of Andersen
Heatley: SAVE, five hole
Sam Gagne: came in flying, slowed down, dusted it off a couple times, had Andersen fading the wrong way, but jammed the puck WIDE
Silfverberg: MISS, if you read this, you know what he did
Vermette: side winding path in, but SAVED by the pad of Andersen
Kesler: SAVE, missed his shot to the low blocker
Doan: GOAL, ummm.... His stick broke as he shot it, and the puck just trickled on through Freddy. Weird.
Getzlaf: waited, waited... waited....... SAVE, Game over.
The Good: Freddy, as usual, was fantastic on a number of outstanding chances, chief among them, the Boedker heist. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it was probably Rene Bourque's best game as a Duck though. Not just because he scored, although that helps. He had a couple of other good looks and was backchecking effectively too.
The Bad: No idea why Bruce Boudreau would 1) split up the Rakell, Silfverberg, Cogliano line and 2) stick a speedster like Cogs with Thompson and Heatley (allegedly, aside from getting run over in the first period, I have no proof that he played in this game). Also the second period was pretty awful for the Ducks.
The Ugly: See headline.... That's the definition of an ugly goal.
3rd Icehole: Shane Doan's stick - Seriously, WTF?!
2nd Icehole: Mikkel Boedker - He and Antoine Vermette were the two most dangerous Coyotes on the ice but I'll give the nod to the Boed' because he's the one that really, really should have scored, were it not for Freddy coming up Humangous Big.
1st Icehole: Devan Dubnyk - In a 2-1 shootout game, who else? As noted above, he was very good at absorbing rebounds and not letting the Ducks have any second chances. 35 saves on 36 shots, plus four in the shootout, amazing what a difference a defense makes, right Edmonton?
Next Game: Tomorrow, back home against the Vancouver Canucks, 5pm PT