The Anaheim Ducks hit the road for the first time this season, making Detroit its first stop. While many have the Detroit Red Wings finishing at the bottom part of the league, they were off to a 2-0 start without one of their young, budding stars Andreas Athanasiou. Would the Ducks ride the wave from the previous two games? Or would the Red Wings’ top line be too much to contain?
The Ducks’ fourth line drew the start for this game, showing how much trust HC Dallas Eakins has in their ability to start the game off right. Just as Brian Hayward was sharing his thoughts on this line starting, fan favorite Nick Ritchie sent a cross ice pass a few feet behind Josh Manson. The puck took an unfavorable bounce right to none other than Anthony Mantha for the first scoring chance of the game less than a minute into the game. Fortunately John Gibson did John Gibson things to make the save.
The barrage of shots and pressure continued as the Ducks defensemen simply couldn’t control the puck, causing crucial turnovers that led to quality chances for Detroit. Again and again, Gibson stood tall making save after save keeping the game 0-0 after the first period. The Red Wings led the period in shots (11-7) and quality scoring chances. Similar to the season opener, the first period was forgettable.
A couple minutes into the second, Dennis Cholowski went off for hooking and the Ducks saw their first chance on the power play. Notably, Rickard Rakell swiftly carried the puck into the zone and passed it off to Troy Terry. Terry dropped the puck to Cam Fowler who sent a wrist shot on net through five different bodies. The puck managed to squeak through and dropped right in front of Jimmy Howard. Rakell and Jakob Silvferberg both took a swing at it but to no avail.
Halfway through the period, the Ducks were able to apply consistent pressure for an extended period of time, winning all the puck battles. A tired Detroit defense was waiting for a miracle, and they got one. Devin Shore waved his hand for someone to replace him, but just as he was approaching the blue line (and Ritchie coming on), Hampus Lindholm passed him the puck, earning them a too many men bench penalty. It was a great sequence of hockey leading up to that, though, but the momentum gained was quickly lost as the Red Wings went on the man advantage.
Nearly 40 minutes into the game, the Ducks couldn’t gain possession of the puck, which led to some extended pressure in their own zone. With six men on the ice for a delayed penalty, one shot rang the post, but eventually the Red Wings broke through with a one-timer by Filip Hronek giving them a 1-0 lead with five seconds left in the frame. As much as giving up a goal in the last few seconds can be demoralizing, a part of me thinks that if it was bound to happen, I’d rather it be at that point instead of on a power play to start the third. Just me? OK LET’S MOVE ON.
The pace of this game was insane from the start. It did not bode well for my stress levels.
With the Ducks down 1-0 heading into the locker room, the opening of the third we would finally allow fans to see what this team was made of and how Eakins and other leaders would spark something in them. The Ducks gained possession early and Lindholm hit Rakell with a pass as he was speeding into the Wings’ zone. Rakell launched a shot just catching the shoulder of Howard. Mike Green was sent off for hooking giving Anaheim another opportunity to get their special teams rolling. Adam Henrique gave a short pass over to Fowler who again launched a shot that got through a couple bodies. Howard left a juicy rebound off the left pad and Henrique dove to get a stick on the puck toward the open net. But once again, they couldn’t get on the board.
Tyler Bertuzzi was being a little lazy with the puck when Ryan Getzlaf came hounding him (there’s his first mistake!). Getzlaf did his signature drop pass to Silfverberg who waited patiently as Lindholm entered the zone. Lindholm shot the puck on net as Getzlaf and Rakell charged the net. Somehow, someway, the Ducks got a bounce off Howard that Rakell put away. Tied game 1-1.
Five minutes later, Brendan Guhle sent a shot from the point through a crowd of bodies. The puck hit someone in front leaving a bouncing puck right in front of Howard. Ritchie did a great job getting a soft touch on the puck to his backhand, thereby potting the go-ahead goal. Ducks up 2-1!
But wait! Mere seconds later, Detroit was once again careless with the puck around Getzlaf. He stole the puck and sent it to Shore down the side. Shore hit a streaking Silfverberg with an amazing backhand pass. Silf did his thing and picked the top corner. Ducks up 3-0.
The Ducks fought off Red Wings with the extra man for the final two minutes and seal the win, 3-1.
Three Stars of the Game
- John Gibson - Gibson stood tall way more than he needed to. This game had blowout written all over it, but with some great athleticism and a couple posts, Gibson turned heads in a great game. You can imagine what the score would have been with an average NHL goaltender.
- Jakob Silfverberg - Finally had his breakout game. Let’s hope this leads to much more!
- Ryan Getzlaf - He struggled early in this one, but his efforts led to a couple of Anaheim’s goals. And apparently, the captain gave an inspirational speech to keep the team calm and to fight through the adversity. Leadergrit.
Next game: Thursday, October 10, 2019 against the Pittsburg Penguins at 4:00pm.