The Ducks were looking to win their 3rd straight after wins in back-to-back nights against Tampa Bay and Carolina. However, Frederik Andersen was able to halt the Toronto Maple Leafs’ losing streak instead in a 3-1 decision. Let’s take a look at how it all broke down.
The Ducks started the game by storming into the offensive zone and drew a penalty just 37 seconds into the game, as Nikita Zaitsev was called for a high-stick on Andrew Cogliano. The Ducks were unable to make anything happen on the ensuing power play, and special teams looked to be off to a bit of a shaky start without their captain, Ryan Getzlaf, on the ice.
Toronto’s first shot on goal came on a very dangerous chance in which a puck deflected off a leg to a wide open James van Riemsdyk to John Gibson’s right. Gibson was able to lunge across with the right leg and make a tremendous save to keep the score level at zero.
The Maple Leafs got on the board first, however, after a turnover in the neutral zone sent Connor Brown and James van Riemsdyk in on a 2-on-1. JvR put a perfect pass onto the Connor Brown’s tape, and the 23-year old was able to deposit it five-hole. 1-0 Maple Leafs.
BUT WAIT! As they have done before and continue to do, it only took 75 seconds for the Ducks to get an equalizer as an Ondrej Kase shot deflected off of Andreas Borgman and past Frederik Andersen. 1-1. Side note: Primary assist on Kase’s 5th of the season came from noted offensive force Derek Grant, giving him six points in his last six games.
With 1:05 remaining in the first period, the Ducks got their second power play opportunity of the night on a holding call against Nikita Zaitsev. The Maple Leafs were able to turn a mishandled puck into a shorthanded 2-on-1, but once again, John Gibson made a spectacular save, reaching out with the knob of the stick to knock the puck away from Zach Hyman. The period came to a close with the score remaining at 1-1 and the Ducks carrying 55 seconds of power play time into the 2nd period.
The middle frame began with a bang (literally) as the Maple Leafs were able to get Auston Matthews in on a clear cut breakaway as the penalty expired. Luckily for Anaheim, his shot beat John Gibson but caught the post and deflected away to the slot where Rickard Rakell steered it to safety.
The Maple Leafs continued their parade to the penalty box as Francois Beauchemin was interfered with, sending James van Riemsdyk to the sin bin and the Ducks to their 3rd power play chance of the night. Rickard Rakell got about as close as you can possibly get to scoring without doing so as he had a shot deflect off the inside of the corner between the crossbar and right post but deflected out behind Andersen into the corner.
The penalty expired, but the Ducks were able to keep some consistent pressure on the Leafs for the next few minutes, getting a couple good looks at Andersen, but not finding one that gave them the lead.
Toronto was given their first power play opportunity of the night as Antoine Vermette was sent to the box for tripping with 6:55 remaining in the period. The penalty kill looked strong and John Gibson made a couple more beautiful saves to return the teams to even strength.
The Ducks got a 4th power play (has this ever happened? 4 power plays in one game?) but once again, Anaheim came up with nothing better than a loud ping off of the post. The period came to a close with Anaheim continuing to put pressure on the Leafs but unable to grab the lead. 1-1 after two periods, with shots on goal favoring the Ducks 24-18.
Naturally, after the Ducks mounted pressure late in the 2nd, the Toronto Maple Leafs quickly grabbed the lead a little over a minute into the 3rd. A puck deflected off of Sami Vatanen right to Patrick Marleau, who snapped it home and gave the Leafs the lead. 2-1 Maple Leafs.
The Leafs got their 2nd power play opportunity of the night with Corey Perry being called for goaltender interference. They produced a couple golden scoring opportunities, but the post and John Gibson came in clutch, keeping it a one goal game.
With 1:38 left in the game, the Ducks put a puck past Frederik Andersen, and while it was called a goal by the near side ref, the back ref immediately waved it off due to a kicking motion from Jakob Silfverberg. The situation room confirmed the call, and the Ducks needed to keep pushing to find an equalizer.
Unfortunately, the Ducks immediately turned the puck over and Leo Komarov was able to deposit it into the empty net before John Gibson could come dashing back from just in front of the bench where he had been headed.
With 1:12 left, the Ducks went with the empty net once again to give one last push, now in need of two goals to force extra hockey. Unfortunately for Anaheim, the Ducks were unable to even begin applying pressure before the clock hit 0:00. The Ducks lost by a final score of 3-1.
All in all, a really disappointing result from what was not all that bad of a performance. The defense played soundly enough and the offense generated opportunities, but sometimes you score five goals, and other times you hit three posts in one period. It was just one of those nights for the Ducks, but there were plenty of silver linings to look at, especially given their constant injuries.
The Ducks are back in action on Friday night when they host the Nashville Predators at Honda Center.