The Anaheim Ducks captured a much needed 2 points tonight in a great bounce-back performance after losing two in a row. This was the first game for the Ducks since the NHL trade deadline giving the Ducks a long stretch to rest and recover. It was also the return of our goalie and savior John Gibson, who had missed the previous three games due to injury. Lastly, it was the first game for Ducks newcomers Jason Chimera and Chris Kelly. Because two more 4th line players are clearly the answer to any and all of the Ducks struggles..
Shorties, breakaways, fights, sprawling saves, even some boring, sloppy play at times - this game had a bit of everything. Anaheim took half a period to get the tires rolling, but once they did it seemed to be all Ducks the rest of the way.
The Blue Jackets start out with a few out-numbered chances against the Ducks. Their best chance so far coming at the halfway mark when they got a partial breakaway shot off but Gibson came out aggressive on it and was able to glove it.
The Ducks began to get their legs moving, getting a chance of their own with Jakob Silfverberg trying to bang in a loose puck in front of the net, but Sergei Bobrovsky being able to fall on it.
Sonny Milano scored the first goal for the Blue Jackets with 6 minutes remaining in the first. A hard on net from the just above the faceoff dot hits off Gibson which causes a scramble in front for the loose puck. It slides over to Milano who has a mostly open net and he puts it in.
The Ducks tie it up shortly after however. Rik Rak Goal! Cam Fowler throws activates along the side boards and throws the puck on net. It deflects off Corey Perry’s skate and Bob can’t field it cleanly. Rickard Rakell picks it up above the crease and backhands it over Bob’s shoulder.
Period came to a close after the Ducks killed a penalty given to Chimera. Hit first penalty as a duck was a retaliation tripping call, so clearly he fits our system of taking bad penalties.
The Ducks get a powerplay opportunity early and get some good chances with Fowler and Brandon Montour getting a bang-bang opportunity on either side of the net but Bobrovsky is able to get across and make both saves.
Montour generates another scoring chance with a great set up. As the Ducks rush up the ice 3-on-2, Montour gets the puck and, as he looks to swing around the net, he feeds the puck to a waiting Ryan Kesler in the slot who gets a point blank opportunity, but it’s robbed by Bob.
Ducks soon after take another poor penalty as they were carrying the momentum. Most would think this is a time where the Ducks will sit back and Columbus will have all the chances. It didn’t quite play out that way though.
Pierre-Luc Dubois got a golden opportunity right off the faceoff but Gibson got the pad on it and it was cleared. As the Jackets began their breakout, a pass was missed at their own blueline and Andrew Cogliano got a breakaway opportunity which he snuck five-hole. He’s now one away from the Ducks franchise record for short-handed goals (held by Paul Kariya).
Don’t blink though, you might miss the second breakaway goal the Ducks delivered. The Ducks are able to get the puck as the final seconds of the penalty tick off and flip the puck deep to a streaking Josh Manson (fresh out the box) for another breakaway who also tucks it five-hole as he moves from right to left.
Chaos ensues as the players on the ice get into a scrum after the whistle. Anaheim is of course called for an additional penalty but it doesn’t turn into anything for Columbus.
Great opportunity for the ducks to extend the lead. Ondrej Kase and Antoine Vermette on an odd-man chance. Kase puts it on net from the right faceoff dot and Bob gives up the rebound. Vermette misses the first shot but is able to hit the breaks as the two Jackets defenders fly past him. He turns around to grab the puck and then turns and whips it just wide (of course).
The period starts out with Panarin giving a nice head-fake and cut in to freeze Francois Beachemin and causing him to slash Panarin to stop a glorious shooting opportunity. Beauchemin being out-skated and taking penalties against younger, more talented players. Weird, I know.
Cogliano got another short-handed breakaway but it turns out you can’t score 3 breakaways on the two-time Vezina trophy winner in one game.
After some back and forth, Cogliano gets another speedy opportunity. This time he has a player closing in so he cuts back along the side boards and hits Kesler who is sliding into the slot. Kesler fires it beating Bob but ringing the post
The teams take negating penalties to make it 4-on-4 for a pair of minutes. The Ducks playing strong defensively and able to generate a scoring chance toward the end with Kase getting a shot in the slot thats just barely saved by Bob’s blocker.
Ducks get their 4th on the board with 4 minutes remaining, courtesy of #4 Cam Fowler. There’s a 4 trend going on here if you didn’t notice. Adam Henrique drives in on the rush and circles toward the side board. He then passes to Fowler who is gliding in at the blue line. Fowler puts our a wrist shot and Bob is screened and can’t make the stop. 4-1 Ducks.
Columbus is able to answer with a screened goal of their own. Zach Werenski gets the puck at the point and has all sorts of traffic in front of the net. He sneaks a wrister past him as it’s able to avoid everyone in front and Gibson couldn’t see it.
Blue Jackets pulled the goalie for the extra attacker with two minutes left but couldn’t generate any more goals as the final seconds ticked and the crowds’ cheers echoed in the arena.
Ducks will take the ice again Sunday when the host the Chicago Blackhawks for the 1pm Matinee game at Honda Center.
Footage of the Ducks after beating the Blue Jackets and watching them fall out of a playoff spot while further solidifying their own spot.