If you were looking for an exciting game from the Ducks, you probably should have stopped watching after the first period. Anaheim didn’t have much going on after the opening 20 minutes. However, the important part was the Ducks did what was necessary to get the win over the Minnesota Wild.
The Ducks would see the return of Josh Manson, who had missed the last 19 games. With him back in the lineup the defensive pairings actually looked respectable. He also played a key role in helping the Ducks penalty kill looking as good as it did, keeping the Wild 0 for 5 on the man advantage.
After going up early in a dominant opening period, the Ducks struggled to keep the throttle down. John Gibson allowed a soft first goal and seemed to give the Wild enough life to start pushing back. After tying the game, both teams looked offensively barren. With no one scoring in overtime, the Ducks headed to their first shootout of the season. Rickard Rakell scored the go-ahead goal, and Max Comtois sealed the deal on his first NHL shootout attempt.
Anaheim took the lead early on after Rickard Rakell scored his 9th goal of the season. Sam Carrick, who was called up from the Gulls, put a shot on goal as he entered the zone. rookie Minnesota goalie Kaapo Kahkonen gave up a rebound and Jakob Silfverberg was the first to it, making a quick pass across for Rakell to bury it into an open net.
RAK ATTACK!— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) December 11, 2019
Silfverberg sets up Rakell to get the @AnaheimDucks on the board!#LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/g3XLDcxCci
Devin Shore almost made it 2-0 on a point blank attempt. Hampus Lindholm made a nice move to get down low and draw in the defensemen. He then sent a cross ice pass to an open Shore who wasted no time shooting it. Kahkonen wasn’t even sure if he made the save but the puck did end up under him.
Matt Dumba would. then get called for interference on Derek Grant, giving the Ducks the first power play of the game, and it didn’t take long for them to convert. Cam Folwer got the puck up high and fired a wrist shot top corner. The Ducks had a ton of traffic in front and the puck got through unchallenged.
CAM FOWLER WITH THE ONE-TIMER! @AnaheimDucks • #LetsGoDucks pic.twitter.com/7gb5oFpKtk— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) December 11, 2019
Past the halfway point, the Wild would get their chance at the power play after Carter Rowney got called for interference away from the puck. The Ducks would continue to dominate defensively however, not allowing a single shot and keeping the Wild to just one shot overall.
In the dying seconds of the man advantage, Eric Staal was hit along the boards as he entered the offensive zone. The offside official was unable to get out of the way and Staal ended up colliding with the referee, falling to the ice immediately. After some time he was able to get to his feet and be helped off the ice but wouldn’t return.
Just a few minutes later, Korbinian Holzer took a tripping penalty that gave the Wild a power play to end the period, but the Ducks once again completely shut down the their offense and allowed zero shots on goal.
The Ducks closed out the period with some pressure, outshooting the Wild 14-1 and hearing the home crowd boo their own team.
Anaheim got their first real offensive opportunity of the period after Dumba got called for tripping. During the man advantage, Rakell made a nice toe-drag to split the defense and get a chance. The Ducks got a few more good looks from the point but couldn’t convert this time. Kahkonen looked much steadier handling shots and gave up fewer rebounds compared to the opening frame.
Despite the lackluster offense (four shots to this point), the Wild got on the board after John Gibson allowed a soft goal. Ryan Hartman sent a wrist shot on net after entering the zone. Gibson must’ve taken his eye off it as he initially got in front but watched as the puck trickled past him and in.
Lindholm got called for a holding penalty late in the period allowing Minnesota to actually get some pressure on the powerplay. The likes of Ryan Donato and Jason Zucker got some chances from the point and in tight, but Gibson stood tall and kept the Ducks up after two periods to help make up for the soft goal earlier.
The Wild were able to even the game up after Gibson decided my fantasy goalie stats aren’t important. Zach Parise won a puck battle down low and fed it to Ryan Donato, who shot it short side from a bad angle. Gibson was in position, but just wasn’t looking in the right spot and didn’t get his shoulders up to make the save.
Anaheim got a crucial opportunity after Dumba took yet another penalty. This powerplay looked much more like the power plays earlier this season - slow moving and lacking any real threat.
A big WTF moment came later as the Ducks got a glaring opportunity. Rakell and Silfverberg forced a turnover and moved in on a 2-on-1, but Rakell slowed up and gave a back pass instead of taking the shot or passing to Silfverberg. Just flat out confusing.
Minnesota got a power play opportunity with less than five minutes remaining in the period after Lindholm got his helmet knocked off and didn’t make his way to the bench in time. The new rule this year states a player that loses his helmet on the ice must either exit the ice or retrieve and replace his helmet on his head, or be assessed a minor penalty.
The Ducks were able to kill the penalty off, but the rest of the period lacked much offense as the buzzer sounded and we headed to overtime.
It didn’t take long for the Wild to get a partial breakaway. Donato had a step on Getzlaf, but he disrupted the play, getting a tripping call in the process. Anaheim essentially went down an extra man after a stick break on the penalty kill, but the Ducks managed to kill it off.
The Ducks looked horrendous on their offensive effort but were able to waste enough time to bring the game to a shootout.
Parise - Came in slow with the dangles, tried to go five-hole but Gibson had him beat.
Rakell - Came in wide and moved cross-net. Made a quick fake, brought it backhand-forehand to roof it.
Fiala - Skated in with some speed on Gibson but lost the handle on the puck sending it wide.
Comtois - Also entered with some speed, made a quick forehand move but pulled it backhand and had Kahkonen beat to seal the victory for the Ducks.
Best and Worst
Best - The Ducks looked strong defensively. They only allowed one shot on net in the entire first period, and despite allowing more shots throughout the game they didn’t give the Wild many opportunities to take control.
Worst - It pains me to say this but John Gibson could’ve been better. His first goal allowed should have never gone in. Just a complete mental lapse. The second goal, while better, was from a pretty bad angle and Gibson lost sight of the puck which allowed Donato to go high on him. The game could’ve been 2-0 Ducks had it not been for those goals.
By the Numbers
Shots on Goal – ANA: 33 MN: 24
5v5 CF% – ANA: 63.16% MN: 36.84%
High Danger Chances For – ANA: 6 MN: 3
Three Stars of the Game
3. Cam Fowler
2. Maxime Comtois
1. Rickard Rakell