Chart courtesy www.war-on-ice.com
Coming into the contest, the Winnipeg Jets had scored first in their previous eight games and out of the gate had a good jump to try and add to that string. Of note personnel wise for Anaheim was the debut of Colby Robak, who was acquired from the Florida Panthers for Jesse Blacker and a future conditional pick on Thursday, becoming the 13th different defenseman to suit up for the Ducks in the 2014-15 season. Robak was on ice for the first good chances of the game around five minutes in, as former Duck Mathieu Perreault had a pair of chances in the low slot but each time Frederik Andersen was equal to the task. Anaheim's first good opportunity came on Nate Thompson springing Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon for a 2-on-1 opportunity, with Jackman hammering a shot off the blocker of Ondrej Pavelec from the near circle.
One of the story lines of the game was the preponderance of special teams opportunities, as Josh Manson took his first of two penalties in the period when he high-sticked Andrew Ladd at the 7:09 mark. While the Jets turned 3 shots towards Andersen they couldn't score on the opportunity, as Robak saw some special teams time and had an important clear. Good fortune kept the game scoreless after the penalty was killed as Michael Frolik got open at the near post for a feed from Paul Postma, but hit the iron with Andersen out of position before Sami Vatanen cleared the rebound away. Anaheim would earn their first odd-man chance moments after the kill when Ryan Kesler beat Dustin Byfuglien to the puck behind the net and got hauled down. The Ducks were clinical with their extra skater chance, holding in the zone allowing Ryan Getzlaf to find Maroon at the far side of the net, who the zipped it to Rene Bourque in the slot for a bang-bang goal and 1-0 advantage at 11:02 on the first Anaheim goal for Bourque: "The Other Left Wing".
The lead didn't last though as Manson took a tripping minor after getting beaten up the near wall in the offensive zone by Blake Wheeler, and the Jets converted on the following power play. Byfuglien had a nice one-two with Perreault, receiving the return feed in the slot and whipping it through Andersen to tie the game just under three and a half minutes later. Anaheim earned another power play off some great work in the corner from Maroon and Jackman and were dangerous, with Kyle Palmieri hitting to post following his net side half-circle turn power move, but came up empty. Winnipeg was the more threatening team all period, outshooting the Ducks 14-9 and generating more shot attempts at even strength with 16 versus 10 for Anaheim. Andersen was vital in keeping things close, as the Ducks had a handful of shifts at best at even strength where they were able to generate any sustained pressure offensively.
The goalie's great play wasn't lost on Bourque, who said to Kent French on the Prime Ticket intermission report, "Thank god we had Freddie in that first period, he played big for us especially early." Bourque also spoke to the power play success, saying "We're moving the puck quicker than they can move."
Again special teams heavily influenced the proceedings of the period, which also saw the game take a venture on the nasty side as the hitting quotient went up midway through the frame. First was the matter of Jakob Silfverberg's carryover penalty for holding Byfuglien, with the Jets converting just 1:33 into the period. Jacob Trouba's shot from the line was deflected in front by Wheeler, and the rebound kicked into the slot for Andrew Ladd to hammer into the back of the net and give the home side a 2-1 edge. As has been their wont though the Ducks were able to get the goal back quickly, as solid pressure on the forecheck from Andrew Cogliano and Rickard Rakell created a turnover, setting up a shot from the line by Clayton Stoner that Silfverberg deflected into the top left corner of the net to tie the game at 4:35 of the period.
Things got a bit crazy as the Ducks upped the pressure and following some back and forth play Palmieri sprung Kesler who was able to split the defense and draw an extremely touchy hooking call on Ben Chiarot. Kesler again forced a penalty with 1:38 remaining on the initial minor as Getzlaf made a nice pass in the offensive zone that again allowed Kesler to slide between the defenders and force Trouba (amongst others) to legitimately hook him. From there Anaheim dug in with the five on three advantage, doing a great job of holding the zone particularly after a Kesler slap shot was deflected off the far post by Matt Beleskey in front. The Ducks appeared to convert at 8:13 when Kesler's slapper rebounded high in front of Pavelec and Beleskey one-timed it in out of midair, but was whistled for interference as he had pushed the defenseman fronting him Adam Pardy away. More on this call in the 'Ugly' section of the game story. Upset but undeterred the Ducks kept up the pressure now in a four on three situation, and Getzlaf made a nice play to draw the killers to the right while holding the puck between the circles before passing back against the grain for Kesler to one-time it past Pavelec with help from a Hampus Lindholm screen in front to make it 3-2 Ducks with 11:07 to play in the period.
From there Evander Kane began taking the body for the Jets, making runs at a couple Ducks players including Palmieri on an offsides play with around eight minutes to play in the period. All the while Andersen made several more sparkling stops, including denying Adam Lowry in front by staying with his as he dragged his change across the crease, squeezing a Kane chance from the far circle, and stoning Matt Halischuk after the puck bounced to him in the slot. The final seconds of the period saw Kane take a run at Stoner well after the play had moved down ice, drawing the attention of Vatanen and the immediate dropping of the gloves and throwing of punches by Stoner. Having already declined Beleskey earlier in the period after a borderline hit, Kane was given a major and game misconduct for checking from behind (likely also due to accumulation of borderline hits) while Stoner took two for roughing.
Silfverberg remarked to French on the Prime Ticket intermission that "I want to score goals, but I've had a lot of great chances and I feel the puck is bouncing with me." He also noted added emotion of the period, saying "It's a fun game, it's physical, the crowd is into it, it's almost like a playoff game."
Play tightened in the third, with the Ducks actually outshooting the Jets by an 8-7 margin aided partially by the three minutes of power play time in the Kane major. Though the Anaheim power play had much more difficulty in establishing in the zone, they were able to hold the Winnipeg pressure at bay until Byfuglien had an opportunity that clipped Andersen's shoulder and drew iron, as well as a Vatanen slashing minor. Much like Anaheim the Jets struggled to set up with their odd-man chance, as well as a second one when the Ducks were caught for too many men on the ice just over seven minutes into the period. Anaheim drew a power play chance of their own after some more nice work down low by Maroon and Jackman with Postma high sticking Jackman following an awkward attempted hit of Kesler by Byfuglien that left the Jet defender shaken up for a stretch, but again nothing came of it.
Perreault had another great opportunity against his mates with just over six minutes remaining, but Andersen shut the door to the short side. The blue momentum was swelling though, and Trouba would tie the game with a great rush up the far wall and blasting a shot that caught Andersen up high and left a rebound in the slot that he beat the Ducks defenders to and swept between Andersen's legs to tie the game 3-3 with 4:45 to play. The final great chance of regulation went to Anaheim, as Vatanen sprung Cogliano from the Jets blue line on a breakaway, but the shot snapped off the toe of his stick wide of the blocker side post of Pavelec. With 60 minutes in the books the Jets had out-attempted the Ducks 64-43 for the game, as well as 43-24 at even strength.
After Winnipeg opened the extra session looking dangerous the first thirty seconds in the Ducks zone, Anaheim was able to gather possession with Lindholm feeding ahead for Getzlaf to carry into the offensive zone up the near wall. A brief hesitation sprung Palmieri down low, and from the bottom of the circle just slightly above the goal line Palmieri twisted a wicked wrister into the top short side corner over the shoulder of Pavelec to win the game just 53 seconds in to the added frame.
Palmieri spoke with French on the Prime Ticket postgame show, saying of the winner "I was just shooting at the net. I got lucky, saw him cheating a little down so just to throw it at the net."
Also touching on the team's heavy overtime workload in the early going, he said "We're a team that likes to make it interesting, but at the same time we've had a couple loses we'd have like the two points, but we got the two points tonight and that's all that matters."
Coach Bruce Boudreau summed it up to French, saying "We didn't have a lot left in the tank today, and to still pull one out was satisfying."
Good: A full two points in the eleventh overtime game of the season thus far for the Ducks, and signs of life in the early going from the power play. When being outplayed at even strength as the Ducks were you have to be able to rely on your special teams keeping you in games, and they were able to do just that converting twice with the man advantage.
Bad: Anaheim came out of the gate slow, and were able to get away with it thanks to solid goaltending from Andersen. The even strength shot attempt numbers tell the story, as the Jets out-attempted the Ducks 44-24 over the life of the game at five on five.
Ugly: While this likely won't be popular around these parts, the penalty call on Beleskey was bad to be sure, but the reaction to it from fans and the broadcasters was even worse. Considering how phantasmal the original hooking call on Chiarot that started the chain of events that lead to the Beleskey whistle was, it was unfortunate to see how quickly the broadcast conveniently forgot about it once what appeared to be a good goal was scored. Should Beleskey have been called? No. But Chiarot shouldn't have either, and without that you don't get to the five on three situation where Beleskey was eventually penalized.
3rd MVD: Ryan Kesler - While Ryan Getzlaf finished the game with three assists, Kesler was a major driver of play for the Ducks. He drew the penalty that lead to the first Ducks goal, drew both calls in the second leading to his goal, and was one of only three forwards who finished with a positive shot differential, and was tied for second best unblocked shot differential while playing the second most minutes at five on five amongst forwards.
2nd MVD: Frederik Andersen - Once again called upon early, Andersen was equal to the task with the Jets getting more than the lions share of shots in the first ten minutes of the game. Two of the goals he gave up came on the man advantage and had minimal chance to make the save, and the third was off a great individual effort that caught the defense flat-footed on the second chance.
1st MVD: Kyle Palmieri - As pointed out in the preview, Palmieri came into the night with the best shooting percentage on the team, and could very easily have walked out with a pair of goals though "only" scoring the winner. That half-circle rotation power move at the net side is becoming a regular part of his game, and being already regarded as having a good shot certainly added to the plaudits with his snipe show winner in overtime.
Next Game: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 vs Edmonton, 7:00 PM PT