The Anaheim Ducks took on the New York Rangers Monday night in the latter game of a back-to-back set. The Ducks were hoping to extend their winning streak to four games as well as extend their road winning streak to seven. Unfortunately, they would falter late and come up short in a 3-1 defeat.
Both teams were in a deadlock after the first period as neither were able to find the back of the net. Both teams did a good job clogging the neutral zone and applying a solid forecheck in their respective zones. Anaheim finally opened the scoring at the 14:09 mark in the second period when Pontus Aberg banked a puck off of Rangers’ center Mika Zibanejad. Goalie Alexandar Georgiev had no chance to react and the Ducks took a 1-0 lead.
The Ducks would take that lead to the third period which has been uncommon during their recent time of success. However, fatigue from the long travel and having played the night before finally caught up to the Ducks; they would allow three unanswered goals in the period. Vladislav Namestnikov would get the Rangers on the board at 9:52 with a great one-timer to tie the game 1-1. The next goal would be the most devastating. The Ducks were able to get their fifth power play in the final minutes of the game, but Ryan Kesler would cough up the puck in the offensive zone allowing Namestnikov to beat him to the puck and move it up ice to Kevin Hayes. Hayes would squeeze the puck between the pads of Chris Johnson with 40 seconds remaining giving the Rangers a late 2-1 lead. The Ducks pulled Johnson on the ensuing face-off but Filip Chytil scored the empty-net goal with just 19 seconds remaining giving the Rangers a 3-1 lead and ultimately a victory.
Best & Worst
Face-offs - Anaheim won 64% of their face-offs in the game securing 32 of 50 opportunities. The success in the circle allowed them to keep the game close, especially during the final frame when the team lost all their energy.
Chad Johnson - Having been recently signed to replace an injured Ryan Miller, Johnson’s debut was a solid one. He stopped 21 of 23 shots and was even credited by the broadcasters as probably the better of all Ducks goalies at puck handling.
Third Period - Through two periods, the Ducks looked solid. Their defense protected well, they applying a good forecheck, and they moved quickly to the puck. Heck, they even had a shot advantage of 14-10 heading into the final period. However, they would lose all that energy in the final frame being outshot 14-1 and allowing in three goals. As well as the Ducks have been in third periods this season, they completely forgot to show up for this one.
Power play - The Ducks power play has been frustrating this season. In the month of December, the Ducks have only converted 15.7 % of their opportunities (3 of 19). They are currently 25th in the league with a 15.3 % conversion rate. The struggles with the man advantage really shined in the final seconds of this game, allowing a shorthanded goal. When the opposing team is generating goals and scoring chances with one less body, something needs to be fixed immediately.
Chad Johnson’s mask - Although Johnson was solid in his Anaheim debut, he looked very out of place having to wear his St. Louis Blues goalie mask due to his Ducks mask not being ready in time.
3 Stars of the Game
3. Ryan Getzlaf
2. Chad Johnson
1. Pontus Aberg
The Ducks will travel to Boston to face the Bruins Thursday, December 20th at 4pm PST.