James Wisniewski made his (re)debut for the Ducks, wearing number 20, displacing Josh Manson as Clayton Stoner's defense partner. Aside from line shuffling (including splitting Corey Perry from Ryan Getzlaf) that was the only change to the lineup.
Just a minute and 45 seconds into the game, Getzlaf was set up on a pass from Patrick Maroon behind the net. He had Eddie Lack down and out, but chopped a rolling puck off the crossbar. At the five minute mark Ryan Kesler got rocked by Zack Kassian, which drew a rousing cheer from the crowd. Kesler then took a run at Christopher Tanev (just returning from a concussion) but Tanev got out of the way just in time.
Near the midway point of the period, The Sedins and Kassian had a nice cycle shift in the Ducks' zone, but thanks to the defense, particularly the stick of Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks were able to keep them from getting any shots on goal. But Bo Horvat opened the scoring off of a couple of turnovers. First in the neutral zone for the entry then after Frederik Andersen was unable to catch a shot, Rickard Rakell couldn't handle it at the side of the net due to pressure from Janik Hansen. The puck bounced out to Horvat at the top of the circle and he shot it past the screen of Francois Beauchemin, into the bottom corner of the net. 1-0 Canucks.
A minute after the goal Maroon, again from behind the net, found Cam Fowler streaking to the front but he just lost the handle on the puck right at the top of the crease. But even the fumble of the puck forced Lack to make a pretty nice save. Right after that Jakob Silfverberg intercepted a pass in the corner and tipped it toward the net. Lack had to poke it away and it ended up on the tape of Tomas Fleischmann, but he just missed the far post on his shot from point blank range.
The Ducks got the first power play chance of the game with a little over five minutes left, when Ryan Stanton slashed the hands of Silfverberg in the Canucks' zone causing Silf to lose control of the puck. The Ducks were buzzing for the first minute 20 of the PP. Fowler had the best chance on a cross ice feed from Fleischmann. Lack was nowhere near it, but as the shot was deflected off of the stick of Nick Bonino Kesler pushed Luca Sbisa onto Lack. Somewhere in that tangle, Lack's left pad came almost completely unbuckled which gave the Canucks a fortunate whistle as Fowler's shot had broken the stick of Bonino and the Ducks were in full control at the end of a long shift. The final 40 was pretty easily killed by Vancouver.
The Canucks didn't have a shot on goal for about eight minutes following the Horvat goal. When they did it was a flurry toward Freddy, with the Dane making two good saves and watching one whistle by the post from Radim Vrbata.
The Ducks were the better team by far, outshooting Vancouver 11-5, but still found themselves trailing after one.
Right off the bat, Silfverberg blocked a shot and was off to the races. He drew a hooking penalty on Alexander Edler at the blueline that kept him within reach and didn't get much of a shot off as Edler reached to lift his stick. At the end of the play Tanev slid across and both he and Silfverberg slammed into the end boards, but no harm no foul. Early in the PP Lack made a magnificent save on Perry, after a fantastic pass to him at the side of the net from Wiz at the left point. The Ducks had two other pretty good chances, one from Getzlaf through a Holmstrom-ian screen from Kesler and the other on Fleischman pulling the puck out of a scrum and to the front of the net. Another good PP, but still no dice for the Ducks.
Lack again had to be alert, just after the kill as Bonino's pass out of the zone deflected off of his own player and right at Lack's five hole, but he was able to close it up just in time.
Another long stretch of time without a shot on goal from Vancouver ended with Linden Vey throwing one on Freddy. He closed the five hole, but kicked out a juicy rebound, just past Alex Burrows and Derek Dorsett.
With just over a minute remaining in the period, Maroon got his feet tangled up with Daniel Sedin for Anaheim's first penalty of the night. Just as the Ducks touched up, Kassian came right at Maroon swinging away. Maroon covered up and eventually dropped his gloves but the linesman jumped in before they could really square up. Maroon was given the original tripping call and a roughing penalty, while Kassian took a double minor for roughing and the sides stayed 5-on-5.
Vancouver did eventually go on the power play though. With four seconds left in the period, Ryan Getzlaf was called for slashing. Vancouver got one shot off the faceoff but another dominant period from the Ducks ended with the Canucks leading 1-0.
The Canucks didn't get anything out of the remaining penalty time to Getzlaf. In fact the only real excitement of the first 1:56 was Nate Thompson intercepting a breakout pass, even though he couldn't handle it and fell down, colliding with Eddie Lack.
The game started with some interesting line combinations, by the end of the first, they had already been mixed once and five minutes into the third there was another configuration out there. For example, Corey Perry started with Rakell and Jiri Sekac, then Andrew Cogliano was moved up to that line and by the start of the third Perry was back with Getzlaf but they now had Tomas Fleischmann on the wing.
With 11:20 left, Emerson Etem tied the game up. Sekac and Thompson got the puck into the offensive zone with Fleischmann finishing a shift. Etem, coming off the bench for Fleischmann saved it from being cleared and then chances started flying toward the net. Vancouver did end up clearing, but the Ducks came right back in and Thompson got the puck behind the goal and threw it in front to Etem streaking across the crease to chop it over Lack's blocker. 1-1 tie.
After the goal, the Canucks had a bit of a surge. Andersen made an easy save on a blast from the top of the circles and on the next shift was forced to make his best save of the night in a scramble around the net, keeping the game tied at ones. A few minutes later Andersen made another beauty of a save, coming across to shut the five hole on Vrbata, but the rebound went right into the slot and Shawn Mathias just couldn't get to it with Andersen pulled out of position by the previous shot.
Corey Perry thought he had given the Ducks the lead when his shot to the short side post squeaked through Lack. However, upon further review the puck landed on the line and Lack rolled over it. It did end up in the net and Lack had to pull it out, but the ruling was that the play had already been blown dead in the referee's mind. Good call, still 1-1, 5:20 remaining.
About a minute and a half later Vancouver regained the lead. While Wisniewski kept tabs on Dan Hamhuis walking in on the left wing, Stoner drifted to the corner toward them, Kassian (AKA his man) wide the hell open in front of the crease. Freddy got a piece of the point blank shot but it trickled across the line. 2-1 Canucks.
A minute or two after that goal, Thompson got one right through Lack's legs, but it came off the bottom of the post on the other side and stayed out.
With a minute and a half left and an offensive zone draw due to an icing, Boudreau pulled Andersen for the extra attacker. Thirty seconds later, Edler was called for slashing and breaking Perry's stick behind the net in the Vancouver zone to create a 6-on-4 for the Ducks, but allow Vancouver free shots at the empty net. The Ducks had a couple of shots as time wound down, but the Canucks held on for the win.
The Good: The Ducks played a dominant game for most of the first two periods. Vancouver gets maximum points to stay ahead of Los Angeles in the playoff race, totally fine by me.
The Bad: Missed opportunities. As much as I say that it's fine for Vancouver to win this game, the Ducks could have and probably should have. Goal posts, missed shots and a few great saves by Eddie Lack were really the difference in this game.
The Ugly: Clayton Stoner. Again it's totally fine that Vancouver won this game, especially with the performance that the Ducks put forward, but what the F*** are you doing, going to double cover a guy in the corner and leaving the front of the net completely unguarded?!?!
3rd Icehole: Stoner - See "The Ugly" above and smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
2nd Icehole: Zack Kassian - He was just a pest all night. Scored the game winner, jumped Maroon, stupid toothless grin. The whole package.
1st Icehole: Eddie Lack - He was good. He was lucky. He kicked out rebounds, but nobody was there to take advantage.
Next Game: Wednesday in Calgary 6pm PT