The Anaheim Ducks took on the Boston Bruins and were hoping to get off to a stronger and faster start than they had in their last game against Tampa Bay. They would need to as they would be without another key player in Hampus Lindholm who was ruled out with a lower-body injury. The Ducks would have some extra motivation with Antoine Vermette playing in his 1,000th career game. Here’s how the game played out.
The game began with Vermette on the starting line which created some jump in the Ducks’ step as they were fast to get to lose pucks and controlled the first several minutes of play. The defense prevented Boston from generating any quality scoring chances and the Ducks forecheck was active allowing them to gain control of pucks. Rickard Rakell had a nice scoring chance early in the period as he took a beautiful shot from the slot but was denied by Tuukka Rask. The pressure would continue, and halfway through the period Anaheim had the shot advantage at 7-4.
With the pressure, the Ducks were able to finally cash in with Kevin Roy’s first goal of the season (and of his NHL career) on a bouncing puck. Nick Ritchie had a taken a great shot that was initially saved by Rask but the rebound bounced and found the stick of Roy who slapped it in over the shoulder of Rask. Anaheim advantage 1-0.
Gibson had a relatively easy period but came up big on a few quality shots. Overall the period was positive for the Ducks as they finished even in shots at 11 apiece, and had a 5-2 advantage in scoring chances.
The period began with the Bruins applying pressure, which was to be expected with a relatively quiet first. Boston had a chance to tie the game when Sami Vatanen made an ill-advised stretch pass that was picked off allowing the Bruins to enter the zone with a 3-on-2 advantage. Riley Nash received the puck and had a wide open shot on Gibson who stacked his pads sliding to his left and was able to glove the puck for what would be a gorgeous highlight save. Boston would continue to make a push and controlled the period by spending the majority of their time in the Ducks zone. The Bruins would finally cash in on a Ducks turnover allowing Danton Heinen to flip a backhand over a sprawling Gibson tying the game at 1-1.
It wasn’t until a bit over halfway through the period that the Ducks would register their first shot on goal. But when the Ducks did take shots, they made them count. At the 14:24 mark Josh Manson would find the net as he took a shot that re-directed off of Zdeno Chara’s skate. The play started with an incredible move from Corey Perry on net. Both Chara and Perry would stop to dispute the potential of a penalty, but Manson had the right frame of mind to throw it on net. 2-1 Ducks lead.
The Ducks would add some insurance with only 46.1 seconds left to play with some beautiful neutral zone passing. Vermette received the puck and took a great shot from the slot that was tipped by Nick Ritchie who was waiting on the doorstep. 3-1 Ducks.
The period would finally come to an end in which the Ducks were fortunate to still have a lead. The Ducks were outshot in the period 15-3 and 26-14 overall. They were completely outplayed and outshot in the period, yet they made their limited shots count.
The third period started much better than the second with Anaheim supplying offensive pressure. At 3:55 Perry would strip the puck in the offensive zone and take a shot that a screening Derek Grant would get a piece of sending it past Rask. 4-1 Ducks. Seconds later, Perry crashed into a couple players sending him falling to the ice and favoring his leg. Luckily he would later return to the ice allowing the current San Diego Gulls roster to remain intact.
It wasn’t until 10:52 of the third that the game would get its first penalty from either side when Korbinian Holzer was called for tripping. However, the NHL’s 4th best PK unit was able to handle the kill with ease.
Gibson came up huge again later in the period when a turnover at the blue line from Josh Manson allowed Nash a breakaway chance. Nash tried to beat Gibson 5-hole, but Gibson remained balanced and in control making another terrific save.
At 16:52 Nick Ritchie decided the perfect no-penalty streak had already ended so why not get in on the action. He was called for tripping putting the PK unit back on the ice. Luckily for Ritchie, this PK unit has been on fire and actually created several of their own scoring chances.
With 22 seconds left and all hope of Boston winning eliminated, the Bruins got back on the board with a garbage goal. Nash re-directed a point shot forcing Gibson to not make a clean save. He allowed a rebound which trickled to the stick of Noel Acciari who found the back of the net closing the gap. 4-2 Ducks.
The final horn would sound giving the Ducks their 8th straight victory over the Boston Bruins despite being outshot 42-27. Gibson finished the night with 40 saves and tremendous second period play thus allowing his team to enjoy a much needed win.
The Ducks will look to build some momentum from their victory as they host the Florida Panthers on Sunday, November 19th, at 5PM PST.