The first period started off great for the Ducks. Max Jones made his presence felt early by effectively turning a puck battle into a semi-breakaway. He drove hard to the net which created a tight scoring chance whereby also drawing a slashing penalty against Panthers dman, Mark Pysyk. The ensuing power play began with a Ryan Getzlaf face-off win. The puck then cycled around the zone and back to Getzlaf at the point. He then threw the puck on net, which bounced off of Nick Ritchie’s shin and right to Devin Shore in the slot. Shore wasted no time and buried the shot to put the Ducks up 1-0. This was Shore’s 9th goal of the season and his 4th since being traded to the Ducks from the Dallas Stars.
The rest of the first was pretty well balanced between the two teams. Only other thing to note was Corey Perry being denied a gift of a goal by a well-timed stick lift by Aleksander Barkov. Jakob Silfverberg received a pass in the slot from Corey Perry. He circled toward the net and ripped a wrister directly at Florida goalie, Sam Montembeault. The puck leaked between Montembeault’s arm and leg pad then laid flat in the crease. Perry stormed to the net for the tap in only to have Barkov lift his stick knocking the net off the pegs in the process before the puck could cross the goal line.
The first period ended with the Ducks up 1-0 with the total shots being 9-9 between the two teams.
Florida got on the board early into the second period. Just seven seconds in, Barkov received a pass at the Ducks blue line. He then skated up the left hand boards and made a beautiful saucer pass to Jonathon Huberdeau who was flying down the slot. Receiving the puck, Huberdeau moved it over to his back hand and then passed it across the crease to a wide open Evgenii Dadonov for the tap in goal. This was a really nice play by Florida’s top line. Game tied 1-1.
With eight minutes left in the period, Getzlaf and Adam Henrique teamed up for the Ducks’ second goal. Getzlaf controlled the puck in the Ducks d-zone. The Captain and Uncle Rico were on the same page as they caught Florida dman Mackenzie Weegar, flat footed at the blue line. Getzy then flicked a beautiful little bank pass off the boards as Rico flew by Weegar. Henrique received the puck off the boards around the top of the Florida face-off circle, heel dragged (thank you Felix) around Aaron Ekblad and shot the puck underneath the arm of Montembeault for the score. This was Henrique’s 17th goal of the season and was Getzlaf’s second assist on the night.
Despite being outshot 18-8 in the second, the Ducks went into the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
The Ducks were outshot and out-chanced to heading into the third. This theme would continue as the Panthers were in desperation mode seeing as they needed a win in order to have a shot at the playoffs. But in walked John Gibson. We have not touched on his play in this one, but the third period was early season Gibby. He shut down all but one chance for the Panthers and gave the Ducks a chance to win.
The Panthers’ second goal was set up again by Jonathon Huberdeau. Huberdeau made a little move in the neutral zone and carried the puck into the Anaheim zone. Josh Manson was bumped slightly by Aaron Ekblad allowing Huberdeau to walk down the slot. Ekblad continued past Manson and sat all alone on the far side post. Hampus Lindholm got caught puck watching a bit and Huberdeau threaded the needle with a great pass right to the stick of Ekblad for the easy tap in goal. The game now tied 2-2 with 16:27 left to play in the third.
With 4:52 remaining, the Ducks entered the Florida zone. Ryan Getzlaf, Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell teamed up to win some puck battles in the corner. Maintaining possession, Rakell spun off his defender and was able to slide the puck to the front net right to Silf. In one motion, Silf is able to possess the puck and backhand it to the far left side of the net for the go ahead goal. This was Silf’s 22 goal of the season and 6th in his last 10 games. Ducks up 3-2.
The Ducks were able to fend off the Panthers for the remainder of the game giving them their 30th win of the season.
SOME NUMBERS FOR NERDS:
Shots on Goal – ANA: 22 FLA: 39
5v5 CF% – ANA: 38.24% FLA: 61.76%
5v5 High Danger Chances For – ANA: 13 FLA: 14
5v5 High Danger Chances Against – ANA: 14 FLA: 13
**All stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com
1) John Gibson
2) Ryan Getzlaf
3) Jakob Silfverberg
The Ducks will play the Winnipeg Jets at 7PM PST at the Ponda Center.
TANK STANDINGS UPDATE
Ducks now sit with the 5th worst record in the league with 69 (nice…) total points. The have a total of eight games remaining. Good news for “The Tank” is that all teams below the Ducks in the standings have games in hand meaning they have more chance for more points. They also have two more games against the Los Angeles Kings, so as fans, we will be treated to two more jack-offs. As much as I am on board with gunning for the highest potential pick, I must say it is a lot more fun watching the GMBM-coached Ducks. Their recent play should give Ducks fans hope for next season.