The Anaheim Ducks were looking to keep their good play going after a solid 3-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. They welcomed ex-head coach Bruce Boudreau back to Anaheim with the Minnesota Wild, and that was about where the welcome party ended, as the Ducks dropped yet another result in overtime. Anaheim continues to struggle to find ways to get the second point after getting to the overtime session. Here’s a period-by-period breakdown of a similar story on a different day.
The game began with a fantastic opening sequence from Anaheim in which they put together a couple great passes on their way into the offensive zone and put a dangerous chance on net. Minnesota’s first dangerous chance was quite the terrifying sight for Ducks fans as the puck deflected off a leg in front, right to a wide open Nino Niederreiter, who fortunately slammed his shot off the post of the wide open net.
The Ducks received the first power play of the night, as Ryan Suter was sent to the sin bin for interference midway through the first period. Kevin Roy was able to capitalize on the power play with a shot that was able to find a tiny gap underneath the leg pads of Devan Dubnyk. 1-0 Ducks!
The Ducks would immediately turn and give Minnesota a power play chance of their own as Chris Wagner was sent off for hooking at the 11:05 mark of the opening period. The Ducks penalty kill looked strong as they limited the Wild to outside shots that John Gibson did not much have trouble handling. The power play expired with the Wild getting a couple shots on goal, but nothing too scary from the Anaheim perspective.
The remainder of the period ticket away without too much exciting action, with the Ducks leading in score by a 1-0 count and shots by a 12-8 count. Not too shabby!
Chris Stewart was called for hooking at the 2:18 mark of the 2nd period, giving the Ducks their 2nd power play opportunity of the night. They missed a few open nets, notably Rickard Rakell firing wide from just below the faceoff circle, leaving the Ducks empty-handed after the man advantage.
A few wide open missed opportunities later from both teams, and the Ducks’ Chris Wagner found himself back in the penalty box once again, this time for delay of game. Again, the penalty kill looked strong and was able to keep the Wild off the board.
However, the success for Anaheim would eventually run out as Jason Zucker chipped a puck up over John Gibson for a tip-in goal at the 14:49 mark of the middle frame. This was mostly caused by a slow change from Rakell and Wagner that left a lot of open ice in the middle for the Minnesota rush. 1-1 on Zucker’s 14th goal of the year.
A little over two minutes later, the Ducks had a second defensive breakdown in their own zone that left a puck laying unattended just out of John Gibson’s reach. This time it was Zack Mitchell that was first to get to it and pop it into a relatively open net. 2-1 Minnesota. Oh boy.
Despite the Ducks leading the shots on goal count 21-15, they found themselves down 2-1 at the end of the 2nd period due to a few, uh, forgettable shifts nearing late in the period.
The 3rd period began with the Wild continuing to push the pace and generate chances in the Anaheim zone. Were it not for John Gibson in the early minutes of the 3rd, the Ducks would have certainly found themselves down by a pair, at least.
The Ducks would receive their 3rd power play of the night approximately five minutes into the final period of regulation as Brandon Montour was tripped behind the Minnesota net by Jonas Brodin.
Unfortunately, the power play was unable to generate a much in terms of shots directed towards Devan Dubnyk, and the Ducks and Wild returned to even strength with Minnesota still leading 2-1.
With 8:37 remaining in regulation, Kevin Bieksa and Joel Eriksson Ek were both sent off with minor penalties, giving the teams two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey.
Just after the 4-on-4 had ended, the Ducks were able to tie the game on a magnificent play between Corey Perry and Adam Henrique. Perry had been dumped at the side of the net, and from his back managed to sweep a pass off the end board and around to Uncle Rico (or Rico Suave, whichever you prefer), who wrapped it around the post to bring the Ducks level. 2-2.
The Ducks and Wild both shared their chances for the remainder of regulation, but neither was able to solve the other’s netminder, so off to overtime yet again for the Anaheim Ducks!
Once again, oh boy!
The Ducks (surprisingly) held possession for most of the opening half of overtime, which was a nice change, but overtime ended about as you would expect for the Ducks, with Matt Dumba being left unattended to skate freely in and drag the puck around John Gibson at the 3:43 mark of overtime. Wild win 3-2 in overtime.
The Ducks will be back in action on Monday night at Honda Center against the Carolina Hurricanes.