Final Score: Ducks 4 - Jets 2
Chart courtesy www.war-on-ice.com
It didn't take long for the teams to trade their first two blows of the series as both struck within a 49 second span before the game was three minutes old. The Ducks buzzed early, recording six of the first seven shots of the game and breaking the ice on a shot from the near point by Sami Vatanen that deflected off the stick of Ben Chiarot through an Emerson Etem screen and Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec to make it 1-0 Ducks just 1:57 in.
Winnipeg responded on the next shift with Vatanen straying from his lane towards the near wall to make contact as the Jets entered the zone, leaving Clayton Stoner all alone in the middle of the ice. He failed to pick up Adam Lowry streaking in up the far circle and Jacob Trouba found him with a slap-pass that Lowry redirected home far post at 2:46 to knot the game 1-1.
Frederik Andersen was called upon to make his first quality save of the game as he booted the rebound from a shot at the near wall to the bottom of the far circle right to Lee Stempniak, coming across in the splits to make the pad save. The Ducks were unable to muster a shot following the tying goal until around a minute and a half before the midway mark, with the Jets winning board battles and tilting the ice toward the Anaheim end.
Matt Beleskey had a chance in the high slot after Chiarot fumbled a pass from Dustin Byfuglien right to his tape, but his shot soared over top and on the ensuing shift Ryan Kesler was called for hooking as he got the stick on Byfuglien's hands waiting for the puck to arrive along the near wall. Anaheim was able to kill the penalty off without so much as a sniff for the visitors, allowing no shots and never letting the Jets set up.
Kesler would have a chance later on off a slick feed from Jakob Silfverberg to the front of the net, but Chiarot's last second engagement was enough an intervention to force the shot high. Winnipeg had the final chance of the period as Andrew Ladd had a brilliant back check on Ryan Getzlaf, lifting his stick as the Ducks captain loaded up to shoot on a drop pass. It lead to an odd man rush up ice, with Trouba taking a feed between the top of the circles and blasting off the pad of Andersen.
Shots were even at nine through the first 20 minutes, with the Ducks out-attempting the Jets 19-13 and holding a slight 6-5 scoring chance advantage despite having to kill a penalty.
Pace began much slower in the second, but as the Ducks activated their defensemen up the wall in the offensive zone it began opening up the neutral zone for Winnipeg to create odd man rushes. Simon Despres got caught, with Perry back in his spot the Jets took advantage as Drew Stafford lead a rush to the far face off circle and the beneficiary of a Blake Wheeler screen ripped a shot short side past Andersen to make it 2-1 visitors with five minutes played.
Winnipeg had another three on two chance, with Matt Halischuk's shot rebounding to the far circle for Chris Thorburn, but he stubbed the shot and Andersen was once again able to stay upright enough going post to post to shrug it down with his trailing glove arm. Just past the midway mark Kesler got his pocked picked as he had the puck on a knee at the blue line near wall, Mark Scheifele's shot creating chaos and a rebound in the middle that Wheeler clanked off the middle of the right post along the ice.
The Ducks were able to swing momentum thanks to a couple huge hits from Beleskey and Francois Beauchemin, and Anaheim began to pour the shots toward Pavelec. Getzlaf saw a wrist shot from the bottom of the far circle get snatched with the glove as a he waited a beat too long to decide to fire. Pavelec again came up big getting his right toe in the butterfly on an Etem deflection of a Despres point shot, kicking the rebound into the slot but Anaheim unable to track it down.
In the final minute the Ducks got away with a turnover in their own end, Andersen making a glove save, and then after the whistle Scheifele took an unsolicited pop at Kesler's head that warranted Winnipeg's first minor of the evening. Anaheim outshot the Jets 14-8 and more than doubled them up in attempts at 29-14, taking advantage of a bit of a let up after the 2-1 tally.
Once more it didn't take long for the Ducks to dent the twine, as they cashed in on the carryover power play with Vatanen feeding Patrick Maroon in the high slot. Maroon's attempted cross crease feed deflected off Trouba's foot right to Corey Perry, who stuffed it home at the near post with Pavelec in vain trying to recover swimming against the current to tie the score 2-2 69 seconds in. Feeling the momentum the fourth line was able to draw a penalty as Chris Wagner 's forecheck on Chiarot lead to a high stick that gave the Ducks a solid 80 seconds in the zone with the man advantage, but coming up empty as Perry just missed behind a cutting Cam Fowler in the slot.
Before the midway mark Andersen was called on to clean up a mix up in the neutral zone between Despres and Fowler, giving Stempniak a lane to the far circle to take a shot that Fowler cleaned the rebound up on. Again the combination of Wagner centering Etem and Tim Jackman had a solid shift a bit later, working along the boards and winning loose pucks to get some zone time and shots from distance.
Getzlaf fed Perry at the bottom of the near circle for a power backhand move across the top of the crease that Pavelec denied the first time, then Perry punched the rebound off the toe of his pad behind the goal line, celebrating but not initially awarded the goal by the on ice official. With play continuing the Jets worked it into the Anaheim zone and Lowry took a high stick from Stoner to pause the action with then 5:37 to play. During the stop the officials confirmed with Toronto that puck fully went over the goal line before bouncing back off Pavelec's pad, giving Perry his second goal of the game and the Ducks a 3-2 lead as time was put back on the clock to the 13:21 mark.
Stoner's penalty stood as well, forcing the Ducks to their second kill of the game. Andersen made a pair of save in front off a shovel to the area by Ladd, then Beauchemin blocked a Trouba high slot shot out of play. Winnipeg would not score as Andersen stopped Scheifele from the top of the far circle at the end of the advantage, and then gloved another on a deflection of a Tyler Myers point shot.
With 3:51 to play Michael Frolik boarded Stoner in the corner of the offensive one after a shot deflected wide off Kesler and Andersen, giving Anaheim another power play opportunity. Getzlaf and Perry interchanged along the far wall, and with Trouba as a screen Getzlaf uncorked a laser wrister that beat Pavelec to the short side and doubled the Duck edge to 4-2 with five ticks over three minutes to play. Anaheim spent the next shift working hard grinding along the end wall in the offensive zone before the Jets could emerge.
Winnipeg pulled Pavelec with around two minutes left, and the pressure forced Silfverberg to take a hooking penalty. Andersen made the necessary saves in the remaining time as the Ducks got a couple clutch face off wins from Kesler, a couple clears, and completed the 4-2 game one win. After the horn Wheeler took a run a Stoner in the neutral zone, knocking the Duck defender over but eliciting nothing more than orange, gold and black laughs as the Ducks took to celebrating their victory with their goalie.
Anaheim finished the game out-shooting the Jets 33-27, out-attempting them 67-42 including 56-32 at even strength, and getting more even strength scoring chances at 19-17. After being beaten on 11 of 18 draws in the first period, the Ducks won 33 of the final 46, Kesler leading the way winning 76% of his drops. Andrew Cogliano paced the Ducks with 6 of their 46 hits, and got away with one after a late whistle on an offside play that drew the Jets' ire.
Good: Perry and Getzlaf sure made those who circled, highlighted, and gold starred them as the biggest difference between the two team teams look smart. The way the Twins took over the game for stretches in the third period showed how two elite level players can completely alter the complexion of a game. It didn't hurt either that both were responsible for a power play goal apiece, which made Winnipeg's moments of slack discipline pay in turning the game during the third period.
Bad: Despite the Ducks ending up on the positive side of the shot ledger in the second period, it was far from a perfect second 20 minutes. Too often early defenders got caught up ice or out of position as the Jets broke out of their zone, creating multiple odd-man chances in the first half of the period including the one that Stafford converted on. If Wheeler doesn't hit the post, this game recap is very much different.
Ugly: The intensity of the game definitely ramped up as the game went along, leading to crunching hits and liberties taken both ways. It's exactly the kind of thing you expect come playoff time, which uglies the game up more than the regular season, and the teams combined for 83 hits. There was also that first Winnipeg goal where all of the Twitter freakout of the previous 48 hours over Stoner's inclusion in the lineup bubbled to a fairly well deserved full froth.
3rd MVD: Sami Vatanen - Scored the series opening goal and dished a pair of assists as well, both being secondary helpers on the power play. As the game went on it was clear the Jets began to key on him, which opened huge lanes and provided tons of time for his blue line mate Stoner offensively. Still, he was a constant roving threat on the power play and lead the defenders with five shots.
2nd MVD: Ryan Getzlaf - His power play goal reminded of the goal that clinched the 2009 first round series against San Jose, an absolute rocket with a wrister from the circle that made things feel just that much more comfortable. He had the primary helper on Perry's game winner, won 61% of his draws and saw more ice time than any forward at 21:16.
1st MVD: Corey Perry - What more need be said about a night where he scored the game-tying and game-winning goals, and joined Joffrey Lupul (four goals in game three of second round at Colorado in '06) and Andy McDonald (three goals, one assist in game one of second round vs Vancouver in '07) with a franchise record four points in a playoff game? Simply put, he was every bit the superstar Anaheim needed him to be.
Game Two: Saturday, April 18 at Honda Center, 7:30 PT