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Andersen Backstops Ducks To 3-2 Shootout Win Over Kings

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Duck netminder Frederik Andersen stood strong to help lift Anaheim to a shootout victory over the LA Kings at Staples Center on Saturday Night. Despite falling behind twice through regulation, the Ducks managed to tie the game on a late powerplay chance in the third period and Freddie saved all three King shootout attempts.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Final Score: [Ducks 3, Kings 2]

Chart courtesy of War-on-ice.com

First Period Recap:

In the first period alone, the Ducks and Kings combined for 32 hits. We knew it would be an aggressive game, definitely would be a physical test for Anaheim coming off a back-to-back for the final time this season, but I can safely say this wasn't just physical. The tensions were clearly boiling and the animosity between these two teams obviously runs deep enough to get the boys' blood racing.

Oh right. There's a hockey game going on too.

Anaheim came out fighting, taking an early lead in shots on goal and ending the period leading five scoring chances to LA's one, but the scoreboard still read two big fat goose eggs. Jakob Silfverberg led the team with four shots on goal, and one grade-A scoring chance that was spoiled by Kings netminder Jonathan Quick. Resident King-slayer Ryan Kesler led the Duck forwards with 6:22 of ice time, and contributed with one shot, two hits, and Anaheim's lone takeaway after one.

The Kings, who have the fourth most giveaways in the NHL, stayed true to form with seven different players suffering one giveaway each (compare to Anaheim's team total of two).

Less than three minutes into the game Kyle Clifford and Tim Jackman dropped the mitts and attempted to settle some tensions with their fists. Each team would end up committing a separate minor infraction leading to each team having an opportunity of a two-minute powerplay. Anaheim's penalty, an admittedly soft hooking call against Cam Fowler was called at 19:11, allowed the Kings to begin the second period with 1:11 left in their powerplay.

Second Period Recap:

Were the Ducks playing well in the second period?

It's honestly difficult to say. Statistically-speaking the Ducks lead with 12 scoring chances to the Kings five, 23 shots on goal compared to 17 for Los Angeles, 12 blocked shots while LA had 7, and bettering the Kings 12 giveaways with just four of their own. But in the most important category Anaheim trailed 2-1 after the second period.

How much of that score is just dumb luck though? Not getting a bounce or being on the wrong end of an obscure deflection? It's sad but it's true, hockey really is a game of inches, and sometimes there's really not much that anyone can do on some crazy ricochets that find the net behind the goalie. Every team has fallen victim to those unpredictable tragedies, but it never gets easier to face it.

The Kings struck first with a flukey, lucky goal in which Alec Martinez flipped a puck toward the Anaheim net and after an unfortunate bounce off of Kyle Palmieri, Frederik Andersen couldn't make the save.

The Ducks tied it at the 14:19 mark with a beautiful goal from Ryan Getzlaf, assisted by Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry. Perry snapped a shot toward Quick off the faceoff, and after Maroon took a swing at the rebound (creating a very important distraction for King defender Drew Doughty) Getzlaf snuck in and potted the puck for his 14th goal of the season.

Roughly 30 seconds after Anaheim's game-tying-goal Silfverberg was called for high sticking, which became the dreaded double minor when it drew blood on Brayden McNabb. Anaheim succeeded at killing off 3:41 of the four-minute double minor, but that's when things fell apart. Anze Kopitar scored on a good pass that crossed right through Freddie's crease right onto the tape of Kopitar's stick before he buried it behind the Anaheim goaltender.

Anaheim looked decent, but they had some truly atrocious shifts and seem to not have the (los) angels shining down on them tonight. They couldn't buy a lucky bounce if they tried.

Third Period Recap:

The running storyline stayed on track in the third period with the Ducks coming up dry on anything requiring any sort of luck whatsoever. Clayton Stoner had a completely open net but couldn't get the puck into the gaping goal [Ed. Note: Shocking -EE]. Soon thereafter Francois Beauchemin banked the puck off the boards below the goal line, which turned into a play that almost bounced off Quick's back into the goal however Doughty was there to sweep the puck harmlessly out of the crease.

Past the halfway mark of the third period Doughty was called for tripping against Perry, giving Anaheim their seventh powerplay opportunity against LA this season. In each of the previous six chances with the extra man Anaheim came up empty, but not tonight.

Enter Sami Vatanen. Resident powerplay goal guru from the blue line who just seems to have really found his niche. Vatanen shot a bullet of a slapshot from just inside the blue line, and after a deflection off Matt Greene's stick the puck sailed into the goal tying the game at two apiece with roughly six minutes remaining in regulation.

Considering Anaheim had to come from behind not once but twice to tie the game I think we'll all agree that ensuring one point by forcing overtime is at least a consolation prize.

Overtime Recap:

All in all, the sudden death overtime period was pretty quick, and despite a couple scrambling, chaotic scoring chances for each team the horn sounded after the five-minute extra frame sending the game into a shootout.

At the conclusion of the overtime period the Ducks ended up with mostly better statistics across the board, aside from tallying more penalty minutes, but considering how fatigued Anaheim began to look toward the end of the third and through overtime, a shootout could be the best way to conclude this. Short, sweet and direct.

This feels familiar.

Shootout Recap:

Los Angeles Kings Anaheim Ducks
Round 1: Jeff Carter - Saved Corey Perry - Saved
Round 2: Anze Kopitar - Saved Jakob Silfverberg: - Goal
Round 3: Marian Gaborik - Saved

Thank you Jakob Silfverberg for your lovely shootout prowess, leading the team to a 1-0 win in the shootout.

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The Good: Never give up, never surrender! The Ducks, despite being on the second game in as many nights and facing a later puck drop than usual, fought through the fatigue and exhaustion to come from behind and tie the game not once but twice, force the overtime, and then win it in a shootout. The last few minutes of the third period and the overtime frame both showed Anaheim starting to lose their legs and struggle to keep up a bit more, but considering it was past 11:00pm and the teams had combined for 77 hits total, I'm happy the boys were still standing. Not only were they standing, they were also controlling the flow of the game and ended up coming out on top with two points thanks to shootout prowess of both Silfverberg, and Andersen back between the pipes.

The Bad: Hit the net, wouldya!? Anaheim couldn't seem to catch a break when it comes to hitting a gaping net. Quick was down and out a couple times, but still Stoner couldn't hit an empty 4x6 when he had the puck not 10 feet in front of the goal line. Beauchemin's attempt, although potentially an accident, bounced smack dab in the center of the blue paint. Perry couldn't jump on the loose puck quick enough and of course Doughty swept it out to safety, but still. Anaheim had so many chances to tie the game earlier, or take the lead for the first time of the night, but in order to do so the puck needs to get shot at the net. We all know that Anaheim's shot accuracy is not their strongest skill, but in a relatively good game something has to fall into "the bad" category, and bad luck seemed like a total cop out.

The Ugly: Man Down! During the Ducks' final powerplay opportunity of the night (during which Vatanen tied the game) one of the referees was in the wrong place at the wrong time, getting hit with a puck that the Kings were attempting to clear down the ice. The ref hit the ice instantly and barely moved before the LA trainer arrived on the ice. The puck appeared to have made contact with his ribs as he turned and shielded his face in an attempt to protect himself from the clearing attempt. As much as many refs get blamed and shamed and hated for games that seem unbalanced in calls, I never wish that sort of mishap and accident on anyone. Some games we boo them, some games they call it perfectly, but they are in fact human and hopefully the injured referee heals quickly and painlessly.

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3rd MVD - Jakob Silfverberg: Okay, I understand that this might seem like an unexpected choice for the third most valuable Duck of the night, however allow me to explain. In the game versus the New Jersey Devils on Friday night Silfverberg scored not once, but twice giving him a much needed confidence boost after a 12-game point drought. Tonight Jakob took the ice with a hunger that we all love to see from the Ducks, clearly wanting to score more and contribute in big ways. When the Ducks are facing the Kings sometimes players who contribute in ways other than goals can go unnoticed, but not tonight. Every time that Anaheim's #33 hit the ice tonight he was fighting. Silfverberg kept up with Doughty consistently, refusing to give LA's star defenseman any space at all, and in so many more ways Silfverberg was one of the best backchecking forwards on the roster tonight for Anaheim. The importance of a confident player and an energy forward is often underrated, but when there's a player fighting hard through every shift to force turnovers or win puck battles it seems to resonate and reenergize the rest of the team. I know that he had the double-minor penalty that led to the second go-ahead goal but I think his beautiful shootout goal, which turned into the only shootout goal, made up for that penalty flub up earlier in the evening.

2nd MVD - Patrick Maroon: I'm so glad I get to include Maroon on this list, especially in the second most valuable Duck slot. Finding a player who gels well with the Twins (Getzlaf and Perry) hasn't been an easy task with the fizzle out of former-first liner Dany Heatley, however Maroon is fighting for his position alongside the two Anaheim superstars every minute of every game he plays in. Aside from Kesler, Getzlaf, and Perry, Maroon logged the most ice time by a forward on the Ducks' roster and led the team with two points (0+2=2), further contributing three shots, two hits, and a lovely screen for Vatanen's powerplay sniper-style goal. Initially the goal was credited to Maroon, as it appeared it deflected off his stick, however upon further review it was clarified that the puck changed direction after contact with Matt Greene 's stick [insert last names based on crayon colors pun here], thus the goal was given to  Vatanen with Maroon still receiving a point for the assist. Maroon was also the very vital distraction for Doughty which left Getzlaf open to pot the rebound for Anaheim's first goal of the game. All around Patty made his presence known, fighting hard for pucks down low and trying with all his energy and all his strength to keep Perry and Getzlaf open and in control of the puck, knowing just how magical that duo can be when they have space with the puck.

1st MVD - Frederik Andersen: Despite letting in one flukey deflected puck and one powerplay goal that he didn't have much of a chance on saving, Freddie locked it down after the two goals. Not another puck would get behind him for the rest of the night. The 11 shots from the Kings in the third period and overtime were all met by a confident and perfectly positioned Anaheim netminder, who was really on his game most of the night. Of course shootouts are all around stressful situations, and somehow Freddie managed to completely keep his cool and stopped all three shootout attempts for the Kings securing Anaheim's victory. All around I was thoroughly impressed by Freddie's performance through the entire game, even with the two goals he let in. Andersen ended the night with a .929 save percentage, stopping 26 of 28 shots, allowing one even strength goal and one powerplay goal.

Next Game: Wednesday, January 21, 7:00pm PST vs Calgary Falmes