Preface: It was Rainbow stick-tape night again - the last time the Ducks did this was against these same Panthers. Are they trying to tell us something? If you want to read some opinions from horrible human beings feel free to check out the twitter replies to the official Ducks account when they announced it was Pride Night before the game.
The first period started out well for the Ducks, they had the better of play for the first five or so minutes and Ondrej Kase was absolutely flying, taking full advantage of his temporary promotion to play with Getzlaf. They managed to get a power play which didn't look horrible despite Anaheim’s inability to finish - the positive might have been that Montour looked every bit the powerplay-quarterback he was promised he could be.
Then the fourth line got caught in their zone against the Panthers fourth line, Thompson took down a Panther and the Ducks penalty kill went to work. They managed to kill it off but not convincingly.
The period ended scoreless with the Panthers out-shooting the Ducks 10-9. However, this period was not as even as the shots said as the Ducks had 6 giveaways to the Panthers 2, and Florida definitely had the most dangerous scoring chances of the first frame.
Another positive to take from that period: Bieksa saw the least ice time of the six defensemen with 5:13. Carlyle is learning, guys!
The second began with Kase flying again, stripping a puck and going alone against 3 Panthers only to be rudely plastered behind the net. Four minutes later he took a dubious penalty for “tripping,” despite it being very clear in the replay that the Panthers player simply lost an edge. It didn’t matter much because Logan Shaw flipped an intercepted pass to a streaking Andrew Cogliano who gloved it down and out-muscled Bjugstad to the front of the net before somehow getting it between Reimer’s legs. 1-0 Ducks.
It always feels good when Cogliano scores on a breakaway. It’s like buying a lottery scratcher. You get one every now and then but you don’t really expect to win anything on it.
The joy was not to last. Less than two minutes later a turnover by the Ducks in the neutral zone led to a Florida scoring chance. Colton Sceviour drew Lindholm out of position and used him as a screen to send a perfect top right corner shot past John Gibson. The Panthers nearly potted a second goal soon after when Gibby left a juicy rebound sitting in the crease but Josh Manson was luckily there to sweep the puck out of harm’s way.
However, the tie game was not to be. Soon after clearing the puck from his own crease, Josh found himself behind his net with the puck, looking to start the rush from the Anaheim zone. The ageless Jaromir Jagr flushed Manson from behind his net and the picked his pocket, right in front of Gibson. Then Jagr preoceeded to take his sweet time, making a few moves on the helpless Gibson and potting his 13th goal of the season to give Florida the 2-1 lead. On a night where Roberto Luongo referenced the infamous diarrhea incident from the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs, it was sad to see Manson take a dump in his own zone on the play.
The Panthers struck again 4 minutes later, this time on the powerplay as Sami Vananen sat for interference. Aaron Ekblad launched a slap shot that got through traffic and past Gibson. 3- 1 Cats. Oh yea, that traffic was Kevin Bieksa’s big butt.
The period ended with the Ducks getting some good zone time and generating some semi-quality scoring chances that were only really nullified by a lot of picks and liberties; the refs were looking a tad unkind at this stage. Looking on the brightside, Kevin Bieksa still had the lowest ice-time of Anaheim defenseman after two periods. But it should be noted; why the hell did the Ducks call up Tropp if they were just going to sit him and let Jared Boll pretend to play hockey and not punch things like he is mostly paid to do?
Anaheim came out of the locker room seemingly asleep as they gave up an early 2-0 shorthanded breakaway (yes the Ducks were granted one of those rare power play things that officials are so loathe to grant them).
A major turning point really seemed to pass Anaheim by as sustained zone pressure from Anaheim halfway through the period forced a Panthers timeout. Whatever was sadi on the bench seemed to work because the Panthers went right back to making the Ducks make stupid, uninspired plays and generally look as disjointed as possible.
The only glimmer of life came when Silfverberg and Kesler combined to almost pick the top corner, but Reimer denied blocker-side. The Ducks then went on a power play due to a delay of game but with Gibson pulled the Panthers iced it when Derek McKenzie intercepted a pretty obvious point cross-ice pass from Vatanen and hit the empty net.
Anaheim will be back in action on Sunday at home against the Kings.