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Ducks vs Golden Knights Recap: Ducks Play the Weaker Hand

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The Ducks blow a two goal lead and lose the first ever matchup against the Golden Knights.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks faced the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time ever. What is sure to be a strong rivalry for years to come, the Ducks gave a less than spectacular performance to say the least. While they generated some quality chances, they never really got the momentum going. They were heavily outshot and their stellar goaltending couldn’t save them in this one. Let’s recap.

First Period:

Ducks came out with some energy to start. They got a great chance just a few minutes in, as Jakob Silverberg got a loose puck in front and sent a spinning backhand on net, but Maxime Legace made a nice save with the right pad.

The Ducks and Knights got physical with their new relationship early on as well. Mike Liambus and Will Carrier dropped gloves near the benches due to a big hit Liambus dealt early onto one the Knights players. Both traded some punches but Liambus seemed to be the winner of this one as the refs broke them up.

The top lines of the Knights continued to generate some great chances. David Perron and Reilly Smith formed a great rush, as Smith fed a puck to an open Perron in the slot, but he rang it off the post.

Not long after, Sami Vatanen made a bad turnover passing to the front of the net without looking. Jonathan Marchessault intercepted the pass and got a point blank shot, but Gibson was able to make the save.

DUCKS GOAL: 9:16 - Josh Manson scored his 3rd goal of the season (all three coming in the last four games). To quote John Ahlers “coast to coast like buttered toast!” Manson began the Ducks breakout and the Knights let him enter the zone with the puck. Manson tried to get a wrister on net but it was blocked. Fortunately Manson regained control of the puck as he got past two defenders and put another shot 5 hole. This shot got through and the Ducks led 1-0.

Unfortunately for the Ducks, the rest of the period was mostly the Golden Knights. Alex Tuck got a breakaway chance with a backhand attempt, but Gibby made the save and continued his torrid play as of late.

With under 30 seconds left the Ducks got their first shot on net since their goal. Rakell put a hard shot on net from the left circle, after being fed from Grant across ice, but Lagace made the save.

Period ended with the Ducks up 1-0 while being dominated in shots 20-7.

Second Period:

Manson seems to like this offense-thing because he got another opportunity early in this period. After generating a turnover with a solid poke-check in the neutral zone, Manson joined Andrew Cogliano on a 2-0 rush. Cogs fed to Manson who tried a backhand but Lagace made the save.

DUCKS GOAL: 5:59 - With the power play unit set up in the offensive zone, Hampus Lindholm got the open shot from the point and wristed it on net. Derek Grant who was screening Lagace in front of the net was able to get a tip on the puck to get it past Lagace. Ducks now led 2-0.

Gibson continues to see everything and play incredible. Alex Tuck got another chance with a hard wrist shot from the top of the left circle, but Gibson flashed the glove and made the save. He hadn’t given up any opportunistic rebounds for the Knights so far.

Liambus tripped up Leipsic as the Ducks enter their first penalty kill of the game (which currently ranks 5th). However, the Ducks wouldn’t give the Knights room to breathe and forced a turnover. Perron was forced to hook Silfverberg to keep the Ducks from get an odd man rush. We now went to 4-on-4 hockey.

Knights goal: 19:08 - Late penalty with 2 minutes remaining Vatanen called for the holding. While on the power play Perron made a cross ice pass to Marchessault at the left circle and he ripped a one timer on net. He caught Gibson moving across the crease and it ended up going 5 hole. Gibson can only do so much to keep the Ducks ahead. Ducks still up by one.

The period ends with the Ducks beginning a power play after Erik Haula hooked Brandon Montour. The Ducks once again only got one shot on net after scoring their goal (also coming with less than 30 seconds remaining). They held the lead 2-1 but are down in shots 32-12.

Third Period:

Knights goal: 2:21 – What looks to be a missed icing call leads to the Knights getting the puck in the offensive zone. Perron fed Miller the puck at the blue line and threw it on net. Unfortunately Gibson was being screened and didn’t see it. The game is now 2-2.

Incredible save by Gibson on Eakin. Leipsic fed a pass across to a streaking Eakin who gets a shot off quick, but Gibson made a sliding pad save to keep the game tied. He continued to do everything he could to give the Ducks a chance.

Knights goal 11:18 – After some puck battling in the Ducks zone, Marchessault got a shot on net. James Neal bashed in the loose puck rebound in front of the net. This goal seemed inevitable as the Ducks just kept giving the puck away without generating any momentum.

Shortly after, the Ducks nearly tied it. Silfverberg drew the penalty after missing a wide open net. Cogliano got Wagner the puck and was about to shoot in the slot but he fed it to Silfverberg right in front of the net who failed to redirect the pass. Wagner followed it up on the power play but hit the post. Ducks continued the pressure on the power play. Silfverberg made a slick pass to Vatanen across ice for an open net opportunity but it went off Vatanen’s leg and the Ducks failed to convert.

Knights goal: 18:00 - The Golden Knights catch the Ducks flat footed as the puck was chipped deep in the Ducks zone. It became a race between Smith and Fowler. Smith was able to get to the puck first and threw it toward the front of the net where Karlsson was waiting to tip the puck. Gibson got a part of it with his glove, but not enough to save the goal. Knights led 4-2.

Game over. The Vegas Golden Knights win by a score of 4-2, outshooting the Ducks 49-19. They claimed the win in their first ever meeting against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks are back in action at the Honda Center on Friday, November 24th at 1:00 PST, when the host the Winnipeg Jets in the first game of a back-to-back.