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Ducks @ Coyotes RECAP: Ducks Don’t Mind the Desert

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Maxime Comtois scores again and Gibson get his first shutout of the season as the Ducks start the season 2-0.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Two games down, and two games won for the Anaheim Ducks. And once again, it was all on the back of John Gibson with the Ducks being outshot quite heavily again. How you win doesn’t matter though does it, as the Ducks do enough right to skate away with a win against the Arizona Coyotes and the two points for which they came.

1st Period

It didn’t take long for the Ducks to draw a penalty, as Marcus Petterson received a high-stick from Fischer. It took even less time for the Ducks to give up a golden opportunity to the Coyotes while on the advantage. Grabner received a pass in the slot and had a chance on an open shot but sent it wide. The Ducks went on to generate one shot with the man advantage.

Andrej Sustr made his official debut for the Ducks tonight, after being a healthy scratch against San Jose. With his debut came his first contribution to the Ducks, in the form of a two minute hooking penalty. The Coyotes looked far more deadly on the Power Play, however the John Gibson show continued (as it probably will all season) with Gibby making some key saves.

Ryan Getzlaf was able to make a block near the point, generating a breakaway opportunity as well as drawing a tripping penalty in the process. Unfortunately, Getz was gassed and not able to do much with his forehand-backhand going high over the net. The shortened power play yielded no results and the game remained tied at zero.

The rest of the period was rather uneventful until the final minute of play. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (completely uncovered) received a wrap-around pass across and looked to cash in on an open net. But he forgot John “who’s your daddy” Gibson was in net and wasn’t having it from OEL. Gibson kicked the foot out just in time and got a toe on the shot keeping it in front for the Ducks to break up. The first period ended with the Ducks outshot 11-5.

2nd Period

With the Ducks being obviously outshot during the first, the Ducks came out looking to even up the shooting. However they weren’t able to generate much for most of the period. The big issue was the Ducks were unable to stay in the offensive zone for extended periods of time. Most chances ended in one shot with a transition back to defense.

But the last few minutes was when things started to get exciting for Ducks fans. With a breakup in the Ducks defensive zone, Andrew Cogliano hit Kiefer Sherwood on an outlet pass, giving Sherwood the breakaway opportunity. He faked the backhand and tried to sneak it five-hole, but was unable to get it through as he then plowed into Raanta.

The Ducks liked the opportunity enough to adopt the stretch pass game plan for the final minutes which led to several Ducks getting attempts. One of those attempts finally paid off when Maxime Comtois was able to break the tie with 30 seconds remaining! As Comtois snuck behind the defense, Cam Fowler gained possession of the puck and quickly hit Comtois with a stretch pass. Comtois wasted no time streaking in from the left side and putting it five-hole on Raanta. This is now his second goal in only his second game in the NHL, both on breakaways.

The Ducks went into the 2nd intermission up 1-0 and closed the gap on shots, but still trailing 19-16.

3rd Period

Down by one, the Coyotes came out hard and had the Ducks on their heels. To make matters worse, a few minutes in, Getzlaf skated to the bench in clear distress. After jumping on the ice and starting a rush, he quickly pulled off the play and turned immediately for the bench. He headed straight to the locker room with an apparent leg injury and didn’t return.

As the Coyotes continued to pour on the shots, the Ducks only managed to get their first shot of the period at the 8 minute mark. Carter Rowney got a hard shot off from just inside the top of the right circle. Raanta couldn’t save it cleanly which allowed Sherwood and Rowney a few more wacks at it.

Shortly thereafter, Ekman-Larsson received another glorious attempt to beat Gibson. After getting the puck, he was given all day to cruise in and rip a wrist shot from 10 feet out. But it was Gibson who stoned him. (Unrelated, if you’re looking for something fun to do this Halloween, you could always dress up as Gibson and swing by OEL’s house.)

With heavy pressure in the Ducks zone with two minutes remaining, Silfverberg sent the puck over the glass putting the Ducks down a man. One minute later, Rowney got called for a high-stick, which means the final minute of the game would be spent with the Ducks on the wrong side of a 5-on-3. Fortunately, Gibson made several more flashes of the pads and the Ducks were able to clear as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

The Ducks next game is on Monday, which will be their home opener against the Detroit Red Wings. Puck drops at 7pm PST.

Sweet dreams everyone, except OEL, who will in fact be having nightmares about John Gibson.