The Anaheim Ducks decided last night that the tank wasn’t as important as continuing to ensure that the Flames can’t win at Honda Center. To really drive the point home, the Ducks played arguably their best game of the season as far as shot metrics go.
Controlling 63.29% of the shot attempts, 67.44% of the scoring chances, and 67% of the high danger chances gave them a 3-1 win on goals from two kids and their father.
The first period saw the kids continue to give us excitement for the future with a one-timer goal by Sam Steel off an extended and dominating shift from him and his line mates, Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg.
Max Jones doubled the lead through sheer hard work and his developing ability to maintain control of the puck. Circling around the net with one hand on the stick and the other driving away the defender, Jones got into a good shooting position and muscled the puck past Flames goaltender David Rittich.
The Flames cut the lead in half on one of the very few defensive lapses of the game when Derek Ryan got in on an odd-man rush and deked out Ryan Miller for the goal.
After missing the previous four games with back spasms, Ryan Getzlaf announced his return with authority on a “I’m Ryan Getzlaf and here’s that great shot I rarely use” play. After killing a penalty in the defensive zone, Carter Rowney got the puck to Getzlaf for a chance going the other way. The captain faced off with the defenseman one on one, where he faked, leaned to the side, and got Rittich off his angle. Snap. 3-1.
The Flames never really challenged at any point, as the Ducks continued to put shot attempt after shot attempt towards the Calgary zone, making the Albertans look like they were just ready to end the season and start the playoffs.
The win elevated the Ducks to eighth from the bottom of the league, jumping over the Edmonton Oilers with every other team below them having a game in hand.
The season finale is Friday against the LA Kings in a riveting matchup between two teams who probably just want to get out on the golf course sooner rather than later.
Best & Worst
Great auditions for the kids: Murray has told everyone that nothing will be handed to anyone next season; that the kids up right now are still trying out for regular spots on the team this fall. They’ve been impressive in that time, with the latest displays from Steel and Jones showing the bright future ahead of this team.
Captain Dad is back: Back spasms can often carry an uncertain future for athletes, depending on their cause (see one Patrick Eaves). With Getzlaf returning to the lineup and scoring, however, the captain showed that he was just fine and could still be one of the most dominating players on the roster.
I didn’t win anything at Fan Appreciation Night: Honestly, other than the one defensive breakdown on the Derek Ryan goal, there wasn’t much to complain about last night. Which is why I’ll be sad I didn’t win any free things last night at the game. At least we got a cool poster out of it.
3. Max Jones
2. Carter Rowney
1. Ryan Getzlaf