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Ducks vs. Red Wings: MORNING THOUGHTS

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These young Ducks keep finding ways to win.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks hosted the Detroit Red Wings to kick off their season home opener Monday night and were looking to tie a franchise mark with their third straight victory in three games. The Red Wings were simply looking for their first win of the season. The Ducks would be without another veteran piece in Ryan Getzlaf, which meant yet another rookie would make his NHL debut. Isac Lundestrom would get the nod, at just 18 years old, to join fellow rookie forwards Max Comtois, Sam Steel, Troy Terry, and Kiefer Sherwood. As expected with such a young lineup, there were mistakes made with untimely turnovers and sloppy puck handling. However, as has been the case so far in the young season, Ducks netminder John Gibson was able to calm the rookies’ nerves and keep the game close for a possible comeback, which is exactly what happened.

Gibson didn’t have to stand on his head as he did in Arizona, but he did make key stops when needed. Gibby only faced 21 shots but was able to convert 19 of them. Through three games he has stopped 91 of 95 shots. Also in the overtime and shootout he was stellar, denying all Red Wings opportunities.

- Coach Randy Carlyle on John Gibson’s performance this season.

Anaheim would find themselves trailing early as a defensive breakdown in the first period would allow Detroit to get on the board first. Detroit would control most of the play as they displayed the better puck control and offensive zone pressure through the first and much of the second period. However, the Ducks would find an answer halfway through the second period when Hampus Lindholm deposited a perfect top shelf shot to beat Jimmy Howard.

The goal would energize both the crowd and the players as the game moved along. But kids will be kids, and Detroit would re-capture the lead with another strong push in the Ducks zone.

In the third period the Ducks legs seemed to come to life as they completely controlled the frame and had a 7-1 scoring chance advantage. Coming off a game the night before, Detroit’s skaters were visibly fatigued and Anaheim took advantage. Eventually, Jakob Silfverberg would tie it up with a great effort on a rebound initially created by Adam Henrique. Although he felt the goal was a “lucky” one, it showed that good things can happen when being aggressive in the offensive zone and not giving up on a play.

- Silfverberg on his third period goal.

The overtime frame would provide some exciting action for both clubs as the ice was wide open and each team had their chances to put it away, but ultimately it would be decided in a shootout. It was interesting to see Carlyle’s choices for the shootout as he picked Rickard Rakell, Troy Terry, and Sam Steel to lead things off. Troy Terry would rise to the challenge and score his first shootout goal in a Ducks uniform. He would find the five hole to beat Howard and give the Ducks their third consecutive victory. Known for his choice of the five hole during the shootout in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship for team USA, it was fitting that he would use the same move.

BEST AND WORST

Best:

John Gibson as usual.

Worst:

Anaheim’s inability to get opportunities on the power play. The Ducks were 0-3 with the man advantage, and their first two power plays combined for less than a minute of action as they were cut short due to unnecessary penalties. Their third opportunity didn’t provide much action either, as the team was never able to sustain control and had trouble cleanly moving the puck. For the Ducks to have success against stronger and more skilled opponents, they need to clean up their passing and be more aggressive upon entry into the offensive zone.

Best:

Cam Fowler. Although he didn’t appear on the score sheet, Fowler’s aggressive play was a constant throughout the game. With the Ducks missing core veteran pieces from the forward group, Fowler took it upon himself to jump up into the zone several times to help spark some offense. He showed some great puck handling and skating ability which could have easily resulted in a Ducks goal.

Worst:

Lack of information on Ryan Getzlaf’s injury. With the team already facing numerous injuries to significant members, not having any word for the captain’s possible return is concerning. One would have to think that if it was a minor injury, information would have already been provided about his recovery time. Add in the fact that it was a non-contact injury, and fans can begin to fear the worst as time passes.

Best:

Max Comtois. Just another game, just another point. Comtois now has two goals and one assist in three career games.

Worst:

The league not allowing the Ducks to wear the throwback jerseys for the actual game. Those old threads looked great during warmups, but stop teasing us old-time Duck fans and let the kids wear them during the action. I thought it was 1993 all over again.

Seriously, how sweet does Gibby look in the old uni?

Three Stars Of The Game

  1. John Gibson
  2. Troy Terry
  3. Hampus Lindholm/Max Comtois