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Ducks @ Canucks RECAP: Ducks Fall Flat in Vancouver

Anaheim can’t capitalize on a favorable matchup, drop to second wild card spot.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

One team in this game is fighting for a playoff spot. The other team is shooting for the lottery pick. The answer should be obvious, but by the way the game was played you might not be so sure. The Anaheim Ducks looked sloppy start to finish as they drop this one 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. It was depressing to put it simply, as the Ducks failed to generate any sustained pressure against a great goaltending performance by Jacob Markstrom.

A night that was supposed to be highlighted by Troy Terry plays showing off his current skill and NHL potential, was masked by the Ducks looking sluggish and confused on how to produce offense. He did display some wonderful talent with a few individual plays on both ends of the ice. His strength was definitely shown in handling the puck under pressure and making smart plays.

The Ducks have 5 games remaining, most against teams they are fighting against for a playoff spot, and they pretty much need to win them all. But first, let’s break down tonight’s game.

1st Period

The opening period did not go in the Ducks’ favor as the Canucks were getting the chances early on. The two most dangerous chances came from shots right off the faceoff, from the point, with traffic and deflections in front. The Ducks were struggling to get in the right position to start.

The Ducks paid for their mistakes at the halfway point of the period. Daniel Sedin received a pass inside the right face-off. He spun around and fired the puck on net. Gibson was able to make the save but gave up a rebound to the opposite side, where Sam Gagner was waiting with no one around him. Gibson tried to get across but Gagner beat him high.

This woke the Ducks up a little bit and they actually looked like a hockey team for the rest of the period. The second line generated a good chance after the Canucks’ goal. Jakob Silfverberg won a puck battle behind the net and circled around to the slot. He put a nice wrist shot on net forcing Markstrom to make a good save.

Gibson took a hard shot off the high-chest and immediately looked hurt. Everyone panicked for a second! Even in distress, Gibson was able to stretch the pad and make a second save before calling for the ref to give him a whistle. He remained in the game however, so everyone can breathe relief.

Andrew Cogliano got a good chance late, and had been getting the best looks for the Ducks. A puck battle along the sides boards had the puck deflect out to Cogs, who was all alone in the slot. He tried to go top shelf but Markstrom got a piece of it.

2nd Period

The Ducks came out looking slightly better to start, which was pretty much a given based on how the first was played.

Ryan Kesler ended up being high-sticked and the Ducks got the first powerplay. Boy was it bad though. About ten seconds of it was actually spent in the offensive zone. Not long after, the Canucks generated a rush and Josh Manson ended up taking penalty.

The Ducks got their best chance of the game as the penalty expired. Ducks caused a turnover in the neutral zone and got a 2-on-1 rush. Ryan Getzlaf drew in the defensemen, then left a drop pass to Cogliano in the slot. Cogs got a good shot off but Markstrom got a piece of the glove on it.

On the other end of the ice, Gibson made another miraculous save (he does that) on Daniel Sedin. Henrik Sedin sent a pass-across to his brother Daniel for a one-timer. Gibson kicked himself across and barely got the end of his skate on the puck to push it wide.

A bounce off the boards, so bad you’d think we were at Honda Center, got the Ducks tied up. Francois Beauchemin threw the puck in deep along the boards. As Markstrom went around to play it, the puck awkwardly bounced right to the front of the net. Markstrom tried to get around in time but Cogliano was able to easily grab it and bury an empty net goal. Total lucky and undeserved? Maybe, but I’m not complaining.

3rd Period

The third period saw more of the Canucks. It only took three minutes for the Canucks to break the tie. The puck was shot around the net and given to Alex Biega. Biega fired the puck on net, which got tipped in. Although it looked to be a potential high-stick, after a short delay the refs decided not to review it.

Five minutes later, a blocked shot by Brandon Sutter turned into a foot race for a partial breakaway. Sutter went forehand-backhand on Gibson and beat him but hit the post instead with his first attempt. Gibson was left exposed and Sutter grabbed his own rebound and put his second attempt in.

Ducks ended up pulling the goal with three minutes left. They were able to generate some pressure and Rickard Rakell ended up being tripped to make it 6-on-4. The Ducks got some chances and had most of the pressure going, but couldn’t convert anything. With less than 30 seconds remainging, the puck was sent into the neutral zone and Sutter was able to hop out of the box and send it into the empty net.

With the loss, the Ducks fall out of the third spot in the Pacific and into the second wild card. Their Ducks will now finish the next (of their last 5) games at home. The next one being the most important one, as it’s against the Los Angeles Kings. Puck drops Friday at 7pm PST.

Good night everyone. Hope and dream of the Kings losing to the Coyotes Thursday night.