For the second night in a row, the Anaheim Ducks were on the losing end of a 2-1 tilt. Playing a back-to-back, there was bound to be some tired legs, but the Ducks did well to generate their chances as they outshot the Edmonton Oilers. Where they lacked was their ability to get to the rebounds and second chances.
Kevin Boyle, who hadn’t played since the return of Ryan Miller, played really well for the Ducks once again. Anaheim was caught out of position defensively, surrendering the first goal of the game. That lead was doubled at the start of the 2nd period on a delayed penalty against the Ducks. Carter Rowney would cut the deficit later in that period and the Ducks would really start to put the pressure on from there. A late goal for the Ducks being called off would be the final dagger as they just couldn’t figure out how to get another past Koskinen.
With this loss, the Oilers leap-frog the Ducks with Anaheim dropping to second to last in the West.
Ducks opened the period by not allowing Edmonton a shot on goal until halfway into the period. Unfortunately Anaheim couldn’t convert any of their own shot attempts and Edmonton was able to break the 0-0 score first.
Brandon Montour failed on a clearing attempt, recovered by Andrej Sekara. Sekara got a shot through and the Ducks were out of position to play a rebound. Josh Currie got a couple attempts at the puck and was finally able to beat Kevin Boyle with a backhand.
Edmonton would get an extra attacker very early on with a delayed penalty coming against the Ducks. The Oilers wouldn’t need a whistle though as they converted with the delayed penalty active. Sam Gagner would tip a shot from the point and Boyle, who was being screened in front, never saw it.
It took some time but the Ducks would bring it back within one after a nice play by Nick Ritchie. Ritchie won a puck battle along the boards and cut in on net. He then sent a pass across to Carter Rowney who was able to tip it in. Rowney would take a puck up high later in the period and wouldn’t return.
Ducks got a great chance to start the period. Sam Steel found Corey Perry down below the net. Perry quickly chipped the puck into the slot to a sneaking Cam Fowler. Fowler took the shot but Larsson was just able to get in front a block it with a skate.
With 3 minutes remaining in the game, Draisaitl went off for a high-sticking penalty giving the Ducks their best chance to tie the game. Despite controlling the zone for most of the power play and getting some quality chances, the Ducks couldn’t get anything through.
The Ducks pulled the goalie for the final 90 seconds and immediately began pressuring. With half that time remaining, Adam Henrique received a pass in close and quickly released a shot. The initial shot was blocked but Perry was able to bang in the loose puck. Unfortunately it was called off with the referee claiming Henrique interfered with the goalie. It was reviewed but the call on the ice stood. The Ducks couldn’t get anything more done in the remaining time and the Ducks lost 2-1.
Best and Worst
Best - Getting the chances. The Ducks had some really great scoring chances during this one, and it’s something they can build off. Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry were a large part of those chances as they were playing without their captain and centerman. The young guys were contributing on plays and looked ripe for taking on bigger roles next year. Overall, the bounces just weren’t going the Ducks way. They just need to keep working at it and build that confidence.
Worst - Leaving the front of the net open (on both ends). There were some glaring scoring opportunities the Ducks left on the doorstep. In ability to get to the puck in front of the net played a big role in not being able to get the tying goal. However the bigger concern was the play in front of their own net. The Oilers got multiple chances where the Ducks defense was either late to getting to the net forcing Boyle to make a big save or the Ducks failing to really gain control of the puck forcing players into making a bad play or a clearing attempt. It cost them a goal in the first period and nearly cost them a few other times in the game.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Carter Rowney
2. Kevin Boyle
3. Nick Ritchie
Ducks will be back in action on Monday as they travel to take on the Vancouver Canucks. Puck drops at 7pm PST.