Turns out a day spent paint-balling is exactly what the Anaheim Ducks needed to get the gears running and start red hot against a Montreal Canadiens team that is also struggling to generate offense. In a game where each period was dominated by one team, the Ducks were able to weather the storm, of which was the entire 2nd period, and skate away with a 6-2 victory. The Ducks got great secondary scoring with 13 total players getting at least one point. And of course, Derek Grant scoring, not just his first, but also his second NHL career goal this game. The biggest downside was Cam Fowler leaving the ice in the opening minutes of the game due an apparent knee injury. This win brings the Ducks to 3-3-1 on the season.
Let’s recap each period.
The Ducks were in need of a strong opening period, as it’s eluded them in every game so far. They got that start tonight. Josh Manson set the tone early to get fans on their feet, closing the gap in the neutral zone and leveling Ales Hemsky.
DUCKS GOAL 1:45 - The Ducks kept their fans standing as they got on the board just 1:45 into the game. A clean faceoff to Kevin Bieksa at the point, who then fed the puck to Jaycob Megna. Megna fired it on net and Daniel Rasmussen got a tip on it to sneak it past Price. Shoutout to Jaycob Megna for his first NHL point! He also drew a penalty shortly after to give the Ducks their first power play of the night.
A scary moment pursued as Cam Fowler fell awkwardly while making a play along the boards in the offensive zone and immediately grasped his leg in pain. He had to be helped of the ice and was unable to put any pressure on his leg.
DUCKS GOAL 3:46 - Derek Grant cashed in a rebound in front of the net to finally get the first goal of his career, as well as giving the Ducks their first Power Play goal of the season. What a rollercoaster of a game so far, and we were only 4 minutes in!
The Ducks played aggressive and hitting hard to start this game. A scrum in front of the Habs net occurred where Price lost his helmet, and madness ensued. Ritchie was shoving players and Andrew Shaw came in jumping on Grant and throwing punches. This resulted in off-setting minors to Ritchie and Shaw. The Habs followed with their first good scoring chance of the game as Tomas Plekanec redirected a pass only to miss wide. Artturi Lehkonen, driving to the net ended up making hard contact with John Gibson. Fortunately Gibson was okay and remained in the game. (Editor’s note—Leave Gingerbread Gibby alone! The last thing we need is another goaltender down.)
DUCKS GOAL 13:42 - Antoine Vermette with a great one timer piled on the lead. Battle along the left boards led to Wagner getting the puck and feeding it to a wide-open Vermette who wasted no time.
The Ducks didn’t stop there—they almost made it 4-0. Sometimes even Rakell’s teammates don’t realize how good he is, such as he set up a great feed for Cogliano (instead of taking the expected shot). While the net was wide open, Cogs wasn’t ready for it and just couldn’t connect. With just under 2 minutes left, Perry made some slick moves along the boards and gave Vermette another great chance from the right circle. Fortunately for the Canadiens, Price came up big with this stop. But the Ducks were relentless. Bieska then rang the crossbar with a slapper as the Ducks continued to throw pucks on net. The final seconds ticked down as the Ducks led 3-0 on the scoreboard, and 21-7 on shots.
The Ducks played an amazing first period. Played physical, but disciplined, not taking a single penalty - seriously, not a single one! They got lots of shots on net, scored early, and played a full 200 foot game. This 2nd period was the exact opposite of all the aforementioned.
The Canadiens came out with the mentality of “enter the zone and get a shot off”. The Ducks, on the other hand, came out sluggish. Vermette took a penalty early. The Ducks were able to kill it but, still played sloppy hockey to start the 2nd, failing to clear the zone and start a rush. This allowed the Habs to have numbers. Karl Alzner got the puck at the point and fired a shot, bouncing it off the boards behind the net, and right onto Paul Byron’s stick for the easy tap in. 3-1.
Ondrej Kase then got called for a face-off violation after Rasmussen got tossed, and the Ducks received their second penalty of the period. The penalty kill ended with Gibby getting a glove on Weber’s rocket shot. Gibson followed the play with another nice flash of the glove on Lehkonen’s shot off the rush. Undeterred, Weber slammed Ritchie into the boards behind the Canadiens’ net to lead into a rush. At this point, the Habs caught up to the Ducks in shots only halfway through the second. Remember, the Ducks were up 21-7 at the start of this period.
The Ducks drew yet another penalty and Gibson continued to stand on his head throughout the period making several saves. The best chance the Canadiens had was when Max Pacioretty shot the puck into Gibson’s chest, but Gibson quickly moved to the post to make another great stop against Jonathan Drouin as the penalty expired.
The Ducks continued to tack on penalties. The Ducks found themselves on another PK when Brendan Gallagher was hooked by Francois Beauchemin while flying in off a Canadien rush, resulting him going head first into Gibson. Mete got the puck, after the Habs set up in the zone, and fired a hard wrister on net from the top of the right circle. Gallagher, creating traffic in front, was able to bang in the rebound that Gibson couldn’t get cleanly. The Ducks now only led by one goal.
Can we go back to the first period?
Gibson saved back-to-back point-blank shots with just over a minute remaining as he set a franchise record with 28 saves in a single period. The period ended with the Ducks doing everything they could to hold onto a 3-2 lead. Pacioretty was able to record 9 shots on net and 16 total attempts in this period alone.
The Ducks were hungry to get back in control after being lit up in the second period. Sometimes all you need is one play to breathe new life. It came at the 6 minute mark.
DUCKS GOAL 5:58 - Ducks drew a penalty but won’t need it. With the extra man coming in, the Ducks cycled the puck around the zone with Silfverberg eventually feeding Bieksa. Bieksa tried to shoot from the point but his stick shattered. Fortunately the misfire made a perfect pass to Brandon Montour at the left circle and he absolutely hammered the puck into the net.
DUCKS GOAL 7:12 - With the Ducks getting some energy, they started their cycle game again. Kase got the puck down low and made a filthy backdoor pass to Grant who was able to cash in his second of the night (and his career). Price had no idea until the puck was already in the back of the net.
DUCKS GOAL 7:35 - With momentum in full swing towards the Ducks, Perry leaned on Mete as he battled down towards the net, making a nifty pass across to Wagner who banged it off of Shea Weber’s skate to make it 6-2.
That makes for 3 goals in under two minutes! The Ducks were in complete control of this game once again. Shaw didn’t like it and started getting physical. After throwing several checks in front of the Ducks net, Bieksa took offense. After some shoving, Bieksa started throwing punches and beat Shaw to the ground. After breaking up teh scuffle, Shaw jumped up and went for seconds. Both Shaw and Bieksa received misconducts for the fight. Ritchie had also tried to get physical and also got tossed as well, giving the Canadiens another power play (not as if we’re already missing a bunch of players already).
During the penalty kill, Silfverberg and Cogliano generated a turnover for a shorthanded two-on-one. Silfverberg attempted a nice shot but Price flashed the glove and made an even better save.
Frustration was clearly overflowing for the Canadiens as they started taking penalties. First, Pacioretty tripped Silfverberg to negate the rest of the Habs’ existing power play. Several minutes later, after Shaw rang another shot off the crossbar, Morrow was called for high-sticking Vermette. The game ended with Plekanec getting a slash and the Ducks walking away with the 6-2 win after playing probably their best game of the season (even considering the horrendous 2nd period).
The Ducks are back in action Tuesday as they start a four-game East Coast road trip, first against the Philadelphia Flyers.