A barrage of chances in the final minutes had the Anaheim Ducks looking hopeful, but in the end they couldn’t get one more past Ben Bishop as they fell 2-1 to the Dallas Stars. It was a rough start for the Ducks, going down extremely early and allowing another goal in the opening period. They managed to crawl back to within one and made a stout effort throughout the third but couldn’t get lucky.
The loss brings them to three in a row and now has them at 0-2 on their road trip and 6-5-0 on the season. After a great start no one was expecting, Anaheim is beginning to fall back down to Earth. They seem to have lost that scoring touch just a bit, scoring just one goal in each of their three losses.
In addition to the loss of the game, Anaheim seems to have also lost two of their players. Josh Manson and Ondrej Kase both exited the game and wouldn’t return. Manson made contact with a Stars player as he entered the offensive zone and Manson’s knee bent awkwardly before he crashed into the boards. He needed to be helped off the ice and it looked as though he could be out for an extended period of time. Ondrej Kase’s injury didn’t look as serious, with him colliding with a Dallas player at center ice. However, given Kase’s concussion history, I wouldn’t be so sure about his condition.
One of the main story lines, as I’m sure everyone knows, was the fact Corey Perry would be facing the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since signing with the Stars in the offseason. It certainly was a bittersweet feeling seeing him take the ice opposite of the Ducks and wearing the Dallas green. He would finish the game with 4 shots but no points. It should be noted that Andrew Cogliano, traded to the Stars last year, assisted on the first Dallas goal.
Dallas got out to the lead early, scoring on their first show of the game just a few minutes in. Rookie Denis Gurianov got in with a backhand shot and roofed it over John Gibson’s left shoulder. The chances didn’t stop there for the Stars to begin the period. Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin got up on an odd man rush causing Jakob Silfverber to take a penalty.
During the penalty kill, the puck got loose in front of the net and during the battle for possession, Rickard Rakell came in and took an an additional penalty, causing a 5-on-3. Fortunately for the Ducks, they’re able to kill the full penalties with minimal trouble.
Manson would take his fall in the back half of the period causing Coach Eakins to change up the defensive lines. Now paired with Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Guhle catches his skate on the ice and tumbles as Gurianov gets in and scores an identical goal to his first one.
Anaheim seems to have figured out the second period this year because yet again they came out strong, getting a really good shift from their top line, tiring the Stars and causing Alexander Radulov to take a tripping penalty. Anaheim was able to capitalize with one second remaining on the power play, just their second power play goal of the year.
Sam Steel had speed and made a great offensive zone entry. He carried the puck deep and made a perfect cross-ice pass to Nick Ritchie. Andrej Sekera of the Stars was able to get part of his stick in front of the shot but the puck went straight to Maxime Comtois who tapped it in for his first goal of the season.
Both teams traded possession for the remainder of the period without either team generating any extended pressure. That was until the end when Max Jones used some strength to get a chance in close, drawing a penalty. The Ducks would put some good pressure with the extra man but couldn’t convert before the period ended.
The Ducks would begin the period with some time still left on the man advantage but they couldn’t capitalize. Hampus Lindholm had to become a defensive juggernaut with Manson out. Probably best shown early in the third. The Stars got a turnover and looked to form a two-on-one break. Lindholm, like the elite defenseman he is, spotted it and quickly closed the gap on the puck handler to disrupt the play.
John Gibson also looked back to his unbeatable self as he was called upon to make several huge saves. He started with a slick glove save on Seguin while being screened. Not long after, Guhle would get caught up on the forecheck and it lead to a breakaway chance for Radek Faska. Faska made a quick shot but Gibson stoned him. Faska would get another chance on the next entry but this time got beat by the crossbar.
MASSIVE save here by John Gibson. pic.twitter.com/Ut4W0470gJ— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 25, 2019
Anaheim began to put on some good pressure, quickly winning the puck back in the neutral zone a couple times to keep the offensive going. Fowler and Comtois both got slap shots off from the point, while Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Grant got chances in close but the puck just wouldn’t sit flat for the Ducks.
Gibson went for the bench with just over two minutes remaining in the game and the Ducks turned on the heat. Getzlaf had back to back bombs put on net with Rakell and Ritchie getting chances at the rebounds. Anaheim dominated the final minutes, getting four or five good looks but couldn’t get the one they needed past Bishop.
Best and Worst
Best - John Gibson didn’t have the start he would’ve liked, but finished the game very strong. He wouldn’t allow another goal after the first period and pulled off some highlight saves at various stages of the game. He bounced back well from his outing in Nashville and seemed to get back to his dependable self.
Worst - The Ducks aren’t scoring goals. As previously stated, they’ve only scored one goal in each of their last three games. As seen in the three game losing streak, it’s difficult to win games when you score just one goal. It’s not like they haven’t got their chances either. They just aren’t getting the puck luck right now it seems and they need to figure it out.
In addition to the goal scoring troubles, losing two keep players would be a massive hit to the Ducks. Manson was seen leaving the locker room on crutches so it’s likely he’s out for at least a few games. Kase’s status is less known, but it’s never a good sign to see a player leave the ice and not return to the game.
By the Numbers
Shots on Goal — ANA: 30 DAL: 29
5v5 CF% — ANA: 47.67% DAL: 52.33%
Scoring Chances/High Danger Chances For – ANA: 16/5 DAL: 23/9
Three Stars of the Game
Maxime Comtois - Hopefully this breaks him loose and he starts scoring at a higher pace.
Corey Perry - Because I said so.
Anaheim will have their next chance to right the ship on Saturday when they head to the mile high city to take on the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drops at 6pm PST.