Final Score: Ducks 5, Wild 4
Nothing happened, until something happened. One and a half minutes into the game and Cam Fowler made a loooooong pass from the defensive zone to Kyle Palmieri at center ice. A touch pass from Palms led to a Ryan Kesler breakaway. 1-0 Ducks.
The Ducks got the majority of scoring chances in the first 10 minutes. Corey Perry was stopped from inside the dot, and Palms had a chance to bang at a rebound that Darcy Kuemper turned away. But the play of the first half of the first period was Andersen launching a pass from just outside the crease to the offensive blueline. That puck sailed like it was looking for a new world.
The worst play was when Keith Ballard went to hip check Perry along the boards and took Perry low. Pears did not get up. It looked like a low hit to me; it's clear Ballard went lower into his crouch right before contact with Perry. Nate Thompson exacted a small amount of hockey vengeance by getting the better of Ballard in a fight shortly after the failed power play.
Jakob Silfverberg would add the salt to Ballard's wound by capitalizing on a rebound shortly after the fight. Andrew Cogliano flung a puck to the crease when he ran out of options and Kuemper kicked right to the doorstep. Silf took a swipe at it, flinging it into the back of the net. I was very impressed that he didn't stop to aim it over the net. 2-0 Ducks.
Andersen made a good save with a little over a minute left. He deflected a puck to the front of the net, but went down in a strong butterfly to deny Ryan Carter. The Rest of the period was uneventful and the Ducks took a 2-0 lead into the second.
Tim Jackman decided to keep Corey Perry company in the locker room so that Devante Smith-Pelley could play RW on the top line.
Kesler LOVES the first couple of minutes of the period. Jackman got tired of being nice to Perry and kicked a puck to centre ice. Kesler swooped in and broke into a short 2-on-1 with Palms and a Minnesota back checker not far behind. He snapped low on the glove side, and notched his second goal of the night. 3-0 Ducks.
Getzlaf thought the game was going a little too easy for Anaheim; he sent a clear attempt into the penalty box from inside his blue line and drew a delay of game. Kesler agreed that the game was going too easily, and took a high sticking penalty 30 seconds later. About 15-20 seconds after that, Clayton Stoner went down to deny a cross crease pass, but deflected Mikko Koivu's pass into the goal. 11 seconds after that, Parise came like a bullet train into the zone and let a wrister go that wormed its way through Freddy's five hole. Just like that, it's 3-2.
Sidenote: having to take notes on that segment of the game was madness. There were two penalties and two goals in the span of about a minute. Hockey is a fast paced game, my friends. [Sidenote to the sidenote: DVR is a blogger's friend. -CK]
Fistric didn't do anything of note until the second period, when he pushed Parise off balance and Zach face planted in the boards. I can take joy in it, because Parise was obviously not hurt. I enjoy your suffering Parise, because your team hurt Corey Perry. I hate you...
The period started to devolve into botched chances on both ends. Arguably the best chance for the Ducks came with about seven minutes left in the period when Devo and Rene Bourque worked the puck to a wide-open Thompson who fumbled it. The Wild answered with a few shots, but Freddy kept the lead for Anaheim.
The Ducks earned a PP with four minutes left in the period. Expectations have been low, but excitement entered the scene. Maroon managed to screen Kuemper, who then mishandled a shot from the half wall. The rebound popped into the air and settled in the paint. In an attempt to keep the puck out, Prosser, covered the puck with his glove. The Ducks were not awarded the penalty shot they deserved.
A little while after the Ducks failed to convert, Jonas Brodin flung a wrist shot through two Minnesota players, a Ducks defender and Andersen. 3-3 game. I was also rewarded with that most lovable of Hayzie observations, "How often do we see a break at one end..."
The Wild were given a golden opportunity to take the lead with a late power play chance. Freddy made a big save on Pominville, and then the Wild gave away their power play with a foolish too many men penalty. Game was tied 3-3 and we're starting the final period 4-on-4. Sure. Why not?
In an event that could not be expected, the Ducks failed to convert with a Wild player in the box. However, Justin Fontaine managed to speed through center ice with the puck. He wasn't a real threat. The Ducks had the play well handled in a 2-on-2. Fontaine let loose a slap shot from the top of the circle that went right through the arm and the body of Freddy Andersen. It was a bad goal...a real bad one. 4-3 Wild
With the spirit of the Ducks down, Bruce Boudreau decided to tap Jackman on the shoulder, not to dance with bears, but to tie the game. Jackman skated into the zone (you can't really use an adjective here that makes him seem fast, so...) and sent a wrist shot toward the Minnesota net. He chased down his own rebound and sent it passed Kuemper. Tied at fours.
The Ducks would take the lead on Matt Beleskey's 13th of the season. It all started with a great hold on the blue line by Josh Manson. The puck went all the way around the boards, where Palms tapped it back to Getzlaf. Getzy used the referee as a screen and slipped a great backhand pass to Beleskey who slid the puck right under Kuemper. It was the prettiest goal of the night. Ducks chase Kuemper and take a 5-4 lead.
Sidenote: Beleskey is going to get paid this summer. P-A-I-D...paid!
Andersen loves making that long pass. I wish he'd do it more on the PP.
With about five minutes left, the Wild began their final push to tie the game. Charlie Coyle and Mikko Koivu teamed up to get the puck to the net. Andersen couldn't quite handle it, but managed to find the puck in the scrum. Shortly after, Zucker tipped a point shot, but no one from Minnesota was there to pick up the rebound. The Wild won the ensuing faceoff leading to another dangerous looking point shot.
With a minute and a half left, Minnesota pulled Backstrom. An offside call led to a Minnesota timeout. Parise gained possession down low, but was pressured by Vatanen. When Parise moved the puck up to Koivu, he tripped Sami and ruined Minnesota's best hopes for tying the game. The Ducks kept possession for most of the last 40 seconds, and held on for the win.
The Good: I'm going to go with Jakob Silfverberg finding the back of the net. That man launches enough rubber to get a job at Planned Parenthood. It was nice to see him abandon his usual role as Sysiphus.
The Bad: I don't want to say the power play, because I feel like I always say the power play. Let's say special teams in general. The Ducks went 0 for 4 on the power play and a well timed one probably could have put Minnesota down a little earlier. On top of that, they surrendered two power play goals to a Minnesota unit that got booed off their own ice in their previous game and allowed the Wild to get back into the game. Special teams is how you counter poor possession stats. Something to keep in mind.
The Ugly: Do I have to answer this? I don't want to answer this. If you don't know what the ugly of this game was, you need to reread my headline. Can't keep playing games without our all-star right winger.
3rd MVD: Tim Jackman. Writing that made me a little sad, but he had a good night for himself, an assist and a game-tying goal. He doesn't help often, but he was a big contributor tonight.
2nd MVD: Matt Beleskey. What can I say about this man that hasn't been said about Ronald Raegan at a Republican Presidential Primary Debate. The man keeps making big plays for the Ducks. His goal scoring is reaching new heights and his game winner was a huge goal for the Ducks tonight.
1st MVD: Ryan Kesler: He brought all the offense tonight. He set the stage for Jackman and Bels to come through. With two goals and an assist he did almost all the heavy lifting for Anaheim. It's why he was brought in. The top line was damaged by Perry's injury, so Kesler brought the second wave of offense.
Next Game: Sunday December 7th, Anaheim Ducks @ Winnipeg Jets 2:00 P.M. Pacific?!