The Anaheim Ducks got outplayed by a large margin in the final 40 minutes as they lose to the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. Even with the added help of Ryan Kesler returning to the lineup, the Ducks couldn’t get anything going after the first period. Shea Theodore, David Perron, and William Karlsson all scored goals against their former team. The Knights came with speed and played strong on both ends of the ice as they just shut down all of Anaheim’s offensive pushes.
The Ducks came out hot early on, wanting to really set the tone after losing the first two meetings against the Knights. They did exactly that by scoring just 1:40 into the game. Jakob Silfverberg retrieving a blocked Brandon Mountour shot, turned and found Rickard Rakell wide open in the slot, who wasted no time burying the pass just inside the left post.
All four lines of the Ducks were rolling in the first frame. Kesler also got some chances early, showing some physicality and skating very smoothly, which is a good sign. For the majority of the period the Ducks were dominating, causing turnovers and generating great chances, including forcing the Knights to take the first penalty.
However, the highlight of the powerplay was the save John Gibson made against James Neal as Neal got a partial breakaway after exiting the box. Montour slightly disrupted the play and only allowing Neal a wrist shot, but it was Gibson who came up big.
With two minutes remaining Shea Theodore tied it up. The Ducks got themselves in a bad position when they attempted to battle for the puck along the side boards near the top of the zone. A loose puck found it’s way to Theodore who was wide open to skate forward (thanks to Bieksa) and send a lazer of a shot past Gibson top inside corner.
Once the second period began, the Knights started to shift the momentum. The real turning point was an offensive push by the Knights that got the Ducks caught in their own zone for a solid two minutes. Ducks only managed to survive it due to a fortuitous offsides call on Vegas.
After a lousy interference penalty by Kevin Bieksa, and a very questionable tripping call against Cogliano, the Ducks looked tired. Gibson made another huge save during the penalty, this time making the stop on his side as Alex Tuch grabbed and shot a loose puck off a rebound.
The Ducks then allowed another breakaway chance as a power play expired. This time Cody Eakins went five hole and beat Gibson taking the lead 2-1.
The third period didn’t get any better as the Ducks allowed the Knights to score just 28 seconds in. Josh Manson with a terrible drop pass to no one except Jonathan Marchessault, who hit William Karlsson with a pass in front of the crease which Karlsson deflected in.
The Ducks had some scoring chances throughout the final frame but couldn’t get any sustained pressure in the offensive zone and looked lifeless for the most part.
The Anaheim Ducks will be back in action and look to rebound Friday night when they host the Calgary Flames at 7pm PST.