If I were to tell you that the Ducks won by a margin of 6-2, scored a power play goal and received goals from several different players, then you would think that I was being lazy and re-recapping the Ducks last game against Montreal. However, that is exactly what happened tonight as Anaheim opened the first of a four-game road trip with a 6-2 victory of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Ducks continued their offensive downpour for a second straight game. In fact, this was the first time the Ducks have scored 5 or more goals in consecutive games since Feb. 2016.
NOTE: #NHLDucks have scored five goals-or-more in consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 15-21, 2016! #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/JVrco5mUXe— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 25, 2017
With losing Patrick Eaves for an undetermined amount of time due to being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, and also losing Cam Fowler to an extended period of time last game, the Ducks eagerly welcomed back Ryan Getzlaf and Hampus Lindholm. Getzlaf had missed the last three games due to a lower-body injury and Lindholm was making his season debut after undergoing shoulder surgery during the offseason.
Randy Carlyle had this to say of the two returning:
"They're our captain and then a minute-chewer on the back end, … We've been banged down and beaten up pretty good with injuries. Anytime you can welcome veterans back and they come in, it does energize your group and give you confidence."
The return of both veterans did indeed energize the offense. In fact both were thrown into the fire with Getzlaf leading the team in ice-time at 22:19 and Lindholm playing a heavy amount of time of his own at 19:48. They both even contributed an assist a piece, with Getzlaf also scoring a goal in third period for his first of the young season.
Here’s what Getzlaf said about his return to the ice:
"Overall it was pretty good, I felt good getting my wind back. The passing and those sort of things will come. … I felt good out there. That was our focus before I got back this time. Last time we rushed it back, obviously I ended up back on [injured reserve]. This time we wanted to make sure we did the work and we were ready to go."
It didn’t begin pretty for the Ducks though as they once again allowed the first goal of the game which has become a trend this year. But having veteran leadership on the ice was key to allowing the Ducks to keep their resolve to answer back late in the first period with a goal from Ondrej Kase who redirected a shot from Derek Grant. Suddenly Grant has become accustomed to the score sheet now registering his first 2 goals of his career last game and recording his first assist as a Duck.
The Ducks kept that momentum rolling into the second period in which they received goals from Brandon Montour, Nick Ritchie and Rickard Rakell. To date, the Ducks goal scoring leaders are Montour, Rakell and Kase with three apiece. Speaking of Kase, he recorded his first multi-goal game of his career, the second coming on a penalty shot in which he made a beautiful backhand shot. With that goal, he became the youngest player in franchise history to score a penalty shot at just 21 years and 350 days old.
On the opposite side of the rink the Flyers failed to get anything going. It’s not that they didn’t have their opportunities as they outshot Anaheim 33-25. But that was inflated due to the Ducks taking six penalties. However, the penalty kill was terrific in killing off every one of them. The Flyers also were dealt a blow (as if their night wasn’t bad enough) when Nolan Patrick was removed from the game after a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Chris Wagner in the second frame. Patrick being the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft will be a huge loss for a Flyers team who also recently lost Andrew MacDonald who is out 4 to 6 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Best and Worst
BEST- The Ducks, in consecutive games, were able to put on an offensive show and got goals from Getzlaf, Kase (twice), Montour, Ritchie and Rakell. In years past it has been a problem for the Ducks to receive scoring depth. But this season the team has 8 players who have at least 2 goals or more. Now that is a balanced attack. Secondary scoring will continue to be a necessity until players such as Eaves, Ryan Kessler and Sami Vatanen can return. A very bright spot in the game was the play of Brandon Montour. Not only was he a constant threat in the offensive zone keeping pucks alive, but he was solid on the power play allowing the Ducks to keep possession in the offensive zone. Our own Felix Sicard at AC recognized Montour’s stellar play.
Brandon Montour's night at the office:— Felix Sicard (@Felix_Sicard) October 25, 2017
22:13 ice time
3 scoring chances
His best game yet as a Duck?
Some other notable achievements were Kalle Kassilla’s first NHL point on an assist in the second period and Francois Beauchemin recording his 200th career assist.
2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ for @fbeauch23! Make some space for that puck on the mantle. #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/klsbfLnLj3— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 25, 2017
WORST- There weren’t many negatives in this game as the Ducks played their most complete game of the season, however they continued to take undisciplined penalties allowing the Flyers to have some hope of getting back into the game. Overall, they were forced to be on the penalty kill six times and took nine penalties. Eric Stephens was quick to point this out:
Few issues with Ducks in this one to kick off trip. Penalties is one. Rakell now occupying box.— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) October 25, 2017
It’s not uncommon for the Ducks to lead the league in penalty minutes, as they already have racked up a league leading 16:30 per game. But if the Ducks are going to find success this season they are going to need to be more disciplined, especially playing with a lead. If not, the Ducks won’t always be fortunate to come out with a victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
3. Corey Perry ( 2 assists )
2. Ryan Getzlaf ( 1 goal, 1 assist )
1. Ondrej Kase ( 2 goals )
The Ducks will play their second game of a four-game road trip against the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Florida will be looking to bounce back after suffering an embarrassing loss to the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night.