Wu wu wu, Kenny Wu. Andrew Cogliano scored the opening goal only :37 seconds into the game. Wisely, Josh Manson put a low shot from the right faceoff dot into Halak’s far pad. That has a juicy rebound written all over it. A streaking Cogliano picked up the puck in the low slot and gave Anaheim their first opening goal of the season.
Then, somehow, Randy Carlyle and company forgot how the whole “hockey” thing works.
After getting their first two shots in thirty seconds, the Ducks did not get another until the ten-minute mark. In that same time, the Islanders had 14 with many coming on the power play. The Islanders finally broke onto the score sheet on their sixteenth shot at 13:09. Brock Nelson had position in front of the Ducks crease and artfully redirected a Scott Mayfield point shot past Gibson. 1-1 tie.
John Gibson was easily the story of the game. The Anaheim goaltender stopped 20 of 21 shots in the initial frame (yes, the Islanders really had 21 shots on goal). Gibson made some spectacular saves including some dandies.
He looked calm, cool and un-Gibson like. You would think this would settle the Anaheim defensive zone play, but that did not happen. Gibson made a huge save on Jason Chimera after the forward was left all alone in front of the net. Without a defender underneath the dots, Chimera had all the time in the world to make a move. Fortunately, Gibson waited him out and made a huge stop.
I am not a coach, but I probably would not recommend that kind of period again.
In this week’s episode of “That’s So Ducks,” the second was almost a complete 180 from the first. Anaheim put 16 shots on net and “only” allowed 11. It is all about the little victories during an 82-game season.
Rickard Rakell broke the tie 8:39 into the second. The Swede got a tip on a Fowler point shot and was able to redirect the puck through Jaroslav Halak’s legs. It is great to see the Rakell-Silfverberg line get on the board because they have been the most consistent duo to start the season. 2-1 Ducks.
Half of the period was played under special teams. The Ducks had two man-advantage opportunities, while the Islanders were given three. New York’s chances were far more dangerous.
The new name for the Grant-Rassmussen-Boll trio is the “We Miss Our Injured Players” line. Boll took his second penalty of the game and, luckily, the Islanders were unable to capitalize.
Welcome back, Patrick Eaves! In his first game of the season, the bearded winger took a one timer from the right side off a Josh Manson pass. Halak was not set for the shot, and the puck was able to sneak through his arm and body. Ryan Getzlaf got the second assist, which was his second of the game. 3-1 Ducks.
Can we talk about Josh Ho-Sang? Two minutes later, the NHL’s next Dany Heatley led a rush into the Ducks zone and drew most of the defenders’ attention. With some nifty passing, Brock Nelson had an open lane to measure Gibson. Nelson picked up his second goal of the game and brought the score within one. 3-2 Ducks.
Soon after, the Anaheim Calling community was in shock—shook even. Derek Grant scored his first career goal after 90 games. The forward put another redirect past Halak while on the power play. But not so fast, said the referees (the new proud owners of some fancy iPads). As comedy would have it, Derek Grant drew himself offside as Anaheim entered the offensive zone. The hockey gods giveth, and the hockey gods taketh away.
In the end, the Ducks were able to weather the storm and come out with the win. 3-2 for the good guys.
Anaheim will be back in action Friday night against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.