Both the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets came into this one with patchwork defensive pairs. As one would have expected, there were shots to be had and many chances to score. Fortunately for the Ducks, they scored a little bit (a lot bit?) more. A lot of goals to cover, so let’s dive in.
The Ducks were down quick in this one as Nikolaj Ehlers notched his 6th goal on the season just 55 seconds into the game. Jets dman, Jack Roslovic, caught the Ducks a bit deep on the forecheck and moved along a beautiful outlet pass from Tucker Poolman. Poolman entered the Ducks zone then scooted along a backhand pass to a streaming Ehlers who ripped it over John Gibson’s right shoulder. Jets up 1-0.
The second goal of the game was a historic one for the good guys. Cam Fowler notched his third goal on the season which also happened to be the 61st of his career. This goal moved him ahead of Scott Niedermayer (ever heard of him?) for the franchise lead in goals by a Ducks defenseman. The goal was set up by a nice zone entry play by Cam and Jakob Silfverberg. Silf received a pass from Cam at the blue Winnipeg blue line. Silf carried the puck in and dropped it back to Fowler who followed his initial pass into the Jets zone. Adam Henrique then provided a semi-screen for Cam who roofed the puck just over Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck’s left shoulder. Score tied up at 1-1.
The third goal of the game was courtesy of Jets captain Blake Wheeler. Wheeler received a
beautiful, close quarter pass from turnover from John Gibson who was behind his net looking to lead the breakout. Gibby has improved playing the puck this season. Whether its been knocking down dump-in attempts or getting involved with a simple little pass play that keep the puck flowing through the Ducks defensive zone, his improvement has been noticeable. But this situation was noticeable for the wrong reasons. Gibby collected the puck behind his net, hesitated a bit as his options were closed, and then tried to force a short pass to Duck dman Jacob Larsson. Larsson couldn’t corral the puck allow for Wheeler to pick up the trash and sneak by Gibson before the goaltender could make the save. This was Wheeler’s 4th goal on the year. Jets would carry this 2-1 for the remainder of the first period.
The Ducks started off the second period in the best possible way. Ryan Getzlaf scored his 6th goal of the season just 38 seconds in. Forced to take a face-off in the Winnipeg zone, Max Comtois drew back to his left hand side and forcing the the puck right to the Ducks captain. In one motion, Getz received the puck and ripped on net beating Hellebuyck clean over his glove. That was Comtois’ 4th point in four games (2G, 2A). All tied up again at 2-2.
Not to be outdone by the captain, Adam Henrique joined the goal scoring party by tipping home his 8th of the year with 13:43 remaining in the period. The Rickard Rakell-Jakob Silfverberg-Adam Henrique line was doing the thing it had been doing all year—controlling the puck and generating chances. Ricky fended off a Jets player, then banked a pass to Josh Mahura at the point. Mahura slid a pass over to Silf who then wristed it towards the net. Uncle Rico had moved to the slot as if to say, “If coach would have put me in, we would have taken state”. Just kidding. Rico moved to the slot then tipped the puck against the grain and over a sliding Hellebuyck’s blocker. 3-2 Ducks.
But just thirty or so seconds later, the Jets and Nikolaj Ehlers would answer back. Ehlers was in the right place at the right time when he was able to flick home a rebound for his second of the game and 6th on the year. I may have over simplified this goal as it was a nice goal by Ehlers, but we have a lot more goals to get through. All tied up at 3-3 again.
The Ducks and Troy Terry did not waste their time in regaining the lead. With 12:05 remaining in the period, Josh Mahura was able to catch the Jets on a line change by feeding a perfect tape to tape pass to Terry. Terry received the pass and found a breakaway. He able to walk in and wrist the puck above the pad/below the blocker for his 2nd on the season. Ducks back up 4-3.
It would not be a goal scoring party if Elite 1C Derek Grant didn’t show up right? With 10:50 left to go in the period, Grant was able to score his 2nd on the season. This was an odd one to say the least, but as they say in baseball, “A swinging bunt hit looks like a line drive in the boxscore”. Nicolas Deslauriers threw the puck on net from below the left face off circle. It bounced off of Hellebuyck and into the air in front of the net. Grant being the Elite 1C that he is, drove towards the net and the puck ended up bouncing off of him and into the back of the net for the goal. The video review confirmed what we all knew—that was Derek Grant cannot be stopped. Good goal. Good Grant. Hellebuyck pulled.
Ducks carried the lead at 5-3 to close out the second. Wild stuff, but dare I say... FUN!
Winnipeg notched the first goal of the third to make it 5-4 Ducks. Troy Terry turned the puck over in the neutral zone which led to a Jets two-on-one. Winnipeg center Bryan Little drove up the right side toward the net and fired a slap shot that beat Gibby’s glove. This was Little’s 2nd goal on the year. Upon first review (maybe multiple reviews), Gibby probably would want this one back. But in his defense, a back checking Josh Mahura got a piece of the puck as it left Little’s stick which caused it to change course and flutter a bit.
But alas, Carter Rowney ended up being the closer in this one. He notched both his 3rd and 4th goals on the year to close out the game and the Jets.
The first of his came with just 3:49 left in the game. Ducks were able to push the puck out their zone. Derek Grant moved it along and it slid past everyone leading to a Rowney break away. Rowney was able to beat Laurent Brossoit five hole. Ducks up 6-4.
His second goal was by way of the empty netter. Captain Getz shoveled a back hand pass to center ice where Rowney was able to fire into the empty net. Ducks 7-4 and that was all she wrote.
This one was sloppy. The Ducks are missing Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Ondrej Kase, but good on them to start off the home stand with a win. There were multiple ties, lead changes and moments where things were not going the Ducks way, and yet they pulled it off. Are wins like this ideal? Probably not, but they are fun.
BY THE NUMBERS
Total Shots on Goal – DUCKS: 28 JETS: 40
5v5 CF% – DUCKS: 41.67% JETS: 58.33%
5v5 High Danger Chances For – DUCKS: 9 JETS: 9
5v5 xGF – DUCKS: 2.26 JETS: 2.18
**All stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
**Score card courtesy of hockeystatcards.com
1) Josh Mahura - Three assists in his first game with the Ducks this season.
2) Nikolaj Ehlers - 2G and 1A for the Jets forward. He was everywhere. Ducks should trade for him (just kidding... kind of).
3) Cam Fowler - Now how the franchise record for goals by a Ducks defenseman.
**Tip of the helmet to John Gibson. He would have been my fourth star. 4 goals against is not normally star worthy, but he made some big saves in the third and stopped a few he probably shouldn’t have. All hail Gibby.
The Ducks will play the Vancouver Canucks at 7PM PST at Honda Center on Friday 11/1.