The Anaheim Ducks kicked off the first half of back to backs by taking on the top team in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames. Many, including myself, did not expect this game to be particularly close, as the Flames have been rolling all year long and the Ducks are still working to find their legs under the new Bob Murray system.
The Flames jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the 2nd period off an unfortunate deflection in front of Ryan Miller, but the Ducks were able to answer later in the frame from a hilarious mistake by Mike Smith that left Derek Grant staring at a wide-open net. Unfortunately for Ryan Miller, another extremely unfortunate bounce on a 2-on-1 put the pass from Andrew Mangiapane right back onto his own stick and he was able to bury it behind Miller to give the Flames a late 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
All in all, it was a pretty damn good performance from the Ducks and was naturally rewarded with 0 points. I don’t mind the result, as the trade deadline is now just two days away and there are probably a lot of moves and changes to be expected by teams around Anaheim in the #Tankathon.
Best & Worst
Ryan Miller - The Ducks got another stellar goaltending performance from Ryan Miller last night, and despite the fact that he appeared to tweak his knee midway through the 3rd period, he still made some timely saves that kept the Ducks within a goal’s reach. Here’s to hoping there’s nothing serious with his knee.
Troy Terry & Max Jones - Troy Terry and Max Jones have spent a lot of time together with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL, and it shows. The chemistry they are able to create led to a number of scoring chances in front of Mike Smith. Max Jones had about three quality opportunities to get his first NHL goal, but Smith was able to keep each of them out. Keep the opportunities coming and the goals will start to flow.
Defense - All in all, the defense played really well against an offense that was second behind only the Tampa Bay Lightning in terms of goals scored and goal differential on the season. That was a tall task for a defense that has been struggling, and a 2-1 decision is not one to be ashamed of in that scenario.
3 Stars of the Game
3. Ryan Miller
2. Derek Grant
1. Max Jones