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Ducks @ Oilers: MORNING THOUGHTS: In The End, Only The Scoreboard Matters

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Anaheim steals a couple of points to remain in playoff contention.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Edmonton Oilers Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to tune into the Ducks game last night before the third period, or randomly check the score on your phone as I did, you would have been disgusted at the results. Anaheim did themselves no favors in the first two periods of Sunday night’s game coming out completely flat and letting the Oilers push them around to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the second period.

However, us Ducks fans know our team likes to make us suffer and can sometimes make the improbable possible. Also, there’s just something about the Oilers and third periods that brings out the “magic” in these Ducks. Just refer back to last year’s 3-goal deficit game in the playoffs. So naturally when I hesitantly checked for an update hours later, I wasn’t completely shocked to see that the Ducks had not only comeback to tie the game but had also managed to win it in overtime.

Something must have clicked for them during the second intermission or perhaps there was a lot of screaming and yelling to wake the guys up. Whatever it was, it translated on the ice and onto the scoreboard.

Anaheim absolutely dominated in the third period, and it was Edmonton who looked to be “turtling” as they were completely outplayed and outshot. Throw in a couple weird deflections and some of that “magic” and the Ducks were able to steal a point for the second game in a row and send the match-up to overtime.

In overtime, the Ducks played keep away while Connor McDavid was on the ice and Rickard Rakell alongside Hampus Lindholm charged through the neutral zone putting the Oilers back on their heels. Lindholm was able to make the only shot of the period count completing the incredible comeback which put the Ducks two points into third place in the Pacific.

Best and Worst

Best - Third Period Performance. The Ducks outshot Edmonton 22-6 in the third period and for the game, they only had a 38-32 shot advantage. The Ducks need to use this period as an example from here on out of how being aggressive can pay big dividends and help ensure a playoff spot. It’s funny how good things can happen when you put the puck on net.

Best - Corey Perry. Perry has been having himself a decent season considering how much criticism he typically receives. He’s third on the team in overall points and in his last five games he has four points ( 2 goals, 2 assists ). He’s becoming more aggressive down the stretch and flashing that vintage pesky Perry play in front of the net. It’s good to see him getting some dirty goals which can only help the offense if they’re to obtain a playoff spot.

Best - John Gibson. The man, the myth, the legend. It’s been said far too many times this season, but the Ducks wouldn’t be in a position to make the playoffs this season if not for his stellar performances in net. Even though he allowed 4 goals in last night’s game, most were due to defensive lapses and excellent cross-ice passing from Edmonton.

Worst - First two periods. The Ducks came out flat for the first two periods. Although they survived the first period with a 0-0 tie, that was largely in part to the heroics of John Gibson our savior. Gibson is only human though, and when you are thoroughly outshot 14-4 in the middle frame on the road, only bad things can happen. The below image perfectly represents the Ducks at that point in the game.

“We’ve played a couple of games in the last little while where we seem to be in some sort of a funk. We think we’re working and we’re not working; our passing is not on, we’re not playing fast enough. We’re not physically and emotionally involved in the game, and tonight was two periods of that. For whatever reason, they decided that was enough and they went out and executed and played to a much higher level and forced our will upon the opposition, and we were rewarded.” -- Ducks coach Randy Carlyle

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Adam Henrique - 2 goals
  2. Corey Perry - 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. John Gibson - 32 saves

The Ducks will travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks Tuesday, March 27th, at 7:00PM PST.