Final Score: Ducks 3, Avalanche 2 (OT)
The Ducks were buzzing for the entire first four minutes. Jiri Sekac threw a bad angle shot toward the net that deflected off the blade of Varlamov's stick and into the net. 1-0 Ducks.
A minute later, Palms got to launch a slap shot from the top of the circles, but it was turned away by a more squared Varlamov.
The Avalanche started tossing counterblows at the eight minute mark and Andersen stood tall, turning away chances from the crease and top of the circle respectively.
Rickard Rakell continued to evolve as a player, with a little less than 10 minutes left he flew down his off wing, and carried to the front of the net. Perry tried to follow suit and bring his old self back to the fold. He got a sent a great shot high glove, that Varlamov was able to just get a piece of.
There weren't a lot of whistles in this period, and the Ducks kept the pace high. The paring of Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler [Ed Note: Cammi Vowler? - CK] were a revelation.
Francois Beauchemin was guilty of the first penalty of the game for hooking Ryan O'Reilly. Unfortunately for Avalanche fans, Colorado's Power Play is worse than ours. The Avalanche didn't have a serious scoring chance until after the penalty expired.
In the final minute of the period, Ryan Kesler made a nice play by banking the puck off the back of the net to get around a defender chasing him behind the net. It didn't really turn into a scoring chance, but deserved some mentioning anyway.
Fowler and Vatanen are great. Did I say that already? It should be said again. They have such great skating ability that they can jump in and out of the play with ease. Mix in their good sense of whether or not the puck is going to go the other way, and this should be Anaheim's top pairing going into the playoffs.
The Avalanche came out flying and carried play for the first three minutes. A puck rolled to O'Reilly for an accidental 2- on-1, but he lost control as he tried to go to the backhand and never got a shot on goal. Later on the shift, Alex Tanguay took a tripping call to give Anaheim their first power play advantage of the night.
Vatanen, Fowler, The Twins and Matt Beleskey held the zone for over a minute. Beleskey almost buried a rebound, but his stick was tied up by Cody McLeod, who I presume is a distant relative of Connor. The zone only cleared when Getzlaf hammered a slap shot that went over the crossbar, around the boards and out.
Hampus Lindholm had his pocket picked by Matt Duchene like a tourist on a NY subway, and Duchene walked it to the crease. He put the shot off Andersen's mask, but it was a great play by Duchene. Colorado didn't necessarily start controlling play, but they continued to get sporadic scoring chances while the Ducks seemed to only be able to fire off long distance shots. The second period struggles seemed to continue for the better part of this game.
Sekac was able to race ahead and nullify an icing call around the 14 minute mark. It wasn't really a significant play, but it reminded me of how infrequent it has become for guys to be able to save those plays.
The last great chance of the period belonged to the Ducks. Kesler came down the Right Wing side all by his lonesome. When he got past the faceoff dot, he faked a shot and tried to force feed Silfverberg even though he didn't really have a passing lane.
The second period ended with the Ducks spending a little too much time in their own zone. Luckily the top line finished with some good pressure, and Getzlaf drew a penalty when Landeskog punched him in the face with only four seconds left.
The third period started with the classic question: will the PP score or won't it?
All the good in the Power Play was apparently spent on the first opportunity earlier in the game. The Ducks couldn't keep possession and even made turnovers in their own zone. After the penalty was over, Perry had a great chance coming down the wing, but he couldn't bury it.
Varlamov was a rebound machine to start the third, but the Ducks just couldn't get to any of them. It would prove to be costly.
Duchene beat James Wisniewski to a puck that was sent hard around the boards. Then, he drilled a pass to Iginla's tape. Iginla was in the house, sitting in the kitchen and eating the Thin Mints, so he was able to bury the scoring chance. It was Beleskey who was late to tie up Iginla's stick. Sidenote: this goal occurred less than 30 seconds after our broadcast group announced that we had never lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods, which was a clear magumbo violation. 1-1 Tie.
The Avalanche were dominating the Ducks when Vatanen was able to draw a penalty by competing for a free puck in the defensive zone and forcing Tanguay to take an interference call. Of course, the Ducks luck on the PP continued to be zero. Fowler's pass to Vatanen bounced over the latter's stick. It resulted in a breakaway, shorthanded goal for O'Reilly, who made a strong forehand move and beat Freddy to the blocker side. Bang. Bang, 2-1 Avs.
Two minutes later, Rakell would fire a beautiful wrist shot over two Colorado defenders who laid down for the block. He gathered a puck in the slot, spun around and sent it right by Varly's ear. 2-2 Tie.
Perry got some of the best looks he's had in about three games. That's encouraging. The Ducks had the better of the chances to close out the third, but there wasn't much to report.
Kesler created a great chance for the Ducks criss crossing with Silfverberg near the blue line and setting up Beauchemin for a good shot from the circles.
However, the only play of significance belonged to Corey Perry. Sami Vatanen tapped a puck loose and behind Brad Stuart, who was the last man back for Colorado. Perry was pretty much alone from blue line in, and he buried it right over Varlamov's elbow. It was a perfect shot and a perfect end.
The Good: Fowler and Vatanen were great tonight. They seemed to feed off each other, and were exceedingly adept at moving the puck forward. For the love of all that is holy, don't break this pairing up.
The Bad: It was only one goal, but you never want to give up a third period lead, especially when it involves getting beat along the boards and leaving Jarome Iginla wide open in the slot.
The Ugly: Our announcers have no respect for magumbo. They dared the Avalanche to score that first third period goal. Rakell bailed them out.
3rd MVD: ME!! I fearlessly predicted that Perry would break his slump. I thought it would be two goals, and not one, but don't be picky! Ok, seriously, it was Perry. Corey looked good tonight and he potted the game winner. Hopefully, he'll go on another long hot streak
2nd MVD: Frederik Andersen. He turned away some quality chances for two-plus periods, and really made that single goal hold up. He stopped 22 of 24, and kept Colorado at bay until the Ducks could find more offense. [Ed. Note: Stick tap to the loud mouthed Red Wings fan in front of me, cheering for the Avs (?!?! Chris Draper is rolling over in his
grave bed) who insisted that Jimmy Howard is better than Freddy because.... wait for it... he has a Cup. HAHAHAHAHHAHHA! Nope, that was Chris Osgood in 2008, dude. -CK]
1st MVD: Rakell and Sekac can co-share, but I still think Rakell is a driving force for his line. They each had a goal and an assist and were the sole reason Perry got to be the hero in OT.
Next Game: Sunday March 22nd, @ New York Rangers, 4 PM PT.