Another game done, another third period blown lead for the Anaheim Ducks as they drop this one 5-3 to the New Jersey Devils. The loss brings the Ducks to 14-13-8 on the season as they reach the halfway point of their six game road trip.
It was an emotional night for everyone. Devils fans warmly welcomed back Adam Henrique (including a tribute video) who was making his first return to Prudential Center since he was traded to the Ducks. He must have felt right at home as he led the Ducks in points, notching a goal and an assist. The Ducks fans also had some nostalgia going as they watched Sami Vatanen play the Ducks for the first time, after being sent to the Devils in the trade for Henrique.
The Ducks looked great on the rush in the first period and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in this game. The first coming from our long-missed captain, Ryan Getzlaf. After causing a turnover, Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell had a 2-on-1 rush. Rakell sent a pass a little ahead of Getzlaf as they entered the offensive zone. Getzlaf drew the puck into a shooting position and, as everyone was waiting for him to pass, he sent it on net beating Cory Schneider five hole.
Jakob Silfverberg followed up with a goal of his own 4 minutes later. Adam Henrique, from in front of netminder Ryan Miller, sent a beautiful pass off the side boards to lead Andrew Cogliano who then fed a pass to Silfverberg in front who waisted no time sending a shot past Schneider glove side.
The Devils started clawing back in the second period. On the powerplay Samil Vatanen got the puck up high and let one of his slappers go. As it approached the net it was redirected off of Miles Wood and got past Miller. Although the goal was originally given to Vatman, he still got an assist which was his first point as a Devil.
Henrique responded just a few minutes later with a downright beauty of a goal. Exiting the Ducks zone, Henrique lobbed the puck over none other than Sami Vatanen. Henrique was able to beat Vatanen to the puck to generate a partial breakaway. As he approached the net, he faked a move to the forehand and sent a backhander top shelf as Schneider was caught moving to across the crease.
The Devils cut the lead back to one late in the second as Miles Wood scored his second goal of the night. Miller would like to have this goal back. As Wood reached the far side of the top faceoff dot, he turned and sent a quick shot on net which beat Miller short side. Just a sloppy goal that Miller should’ve had protected.
The third period began and the Ducks have done what they do best this season - play sloppy and blow leads. A quick rush generated by the Devils led to Jesper Brat getting the puck as he entered the zone where he sent a laser of a shot past Miller to tie the game 5 minutes into the period.
With just over 6 minutes remaining, the Devils generate a good offensive push as the Ducks can’t get into position to regain possession. Brian Boyle tried to sent a puck on net from the blue line but only got a partial shot off. Stefan Noesen (a former Duck) grabbed the puck in the slot, turned, and fired. It was blocked in front but had Miller far out in front of his net. The blocked puck went right back to Noesen who looked at a wide open 6x4 as he put in the eventual game winner. Noesen would also cash in the empty netter to end the game.
That makes back-to-back games the Ducks have blown a lead in the third. The Ducks don’t have much time to reflect as they take a short trip up to New York to take on the Rangers tomorrow night.