With four new Anaheim Ducks skaters in the lineup post-trade deadline, the team played spoiler to the Edmonton Oilers attempting to hang on to a playoff spot in a tightly contested Pacific Division, winning in overtime 4-3.
Danton Heinen (acquired from the Boston Bruins for Nick Ritchie), Matt Irwin (acquired from the Nashville Predators for Korbinian Holzer), Andrew Agozzino (claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins) and newest Ducks legend Sonny Milano (acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Devin Shore) got acquainted with their new teammates in short order with all playing significant roles in last night’s victory.
Milano immediately endeared himself to Ducks fans with a goal on his first shot in Anaheim, getting to a lose puck and one-handing it over Oilers goaltender Mike Smith’s pad to give the Ducks an early 1-0 lead.
Jacob Larsson, who suddenly realized he had the skills to become an elite playmaker apparently, followed it up with a beautiful rush with possession into the offensive zone where he found Nicolas Deslauriers crashing the net. A perfect pass onto the left winger’s stick was one-timed into the net with the Edmonton defense completely broken down to make it 2-0 Ducks.
The second period saw Edmonton wake from their slumber and put the pressure on Anaheim. The new look top line of Connor McDavid, Tyler Ennis, and Andreas Athanasiou cut the lead in half after Athanasiou sent a pass to Ennis in front of Gibson. The puck neatly deflected off his stick and up into the top of the net. 2-1 Anaheim.
A scary moment for Anaheim reared its ugly head later in the period as Hampus Lindholm went crashing shoulder first into the boards after rushing to back check and catch an Oiler forward. Lindholm did not move for several seconds before doubling over on the ice in pain and eventually being helped off the ice by partner Josh Manson and the Ducks trainer. The Ducks announced in the third period that he would not return to the game with an upper body injury. We will report more information on the injury as we get it.
The third period saw the Oilers pull ahead after Duck-killer Leon Draisaitl one-timed a great pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to give them a 3-2 lead on the power play. Edmonton, with a suddenly lethal looking top-six with their newest acquisitions began to control play before the line of Kiefer Sherwood, Adam Henrique, and Danton Heinen got to the ice. Manson sent a puck down to Heinen on the goal line who caught Henrique streaking towards the net. He fed a perfect pass to Henrique who gave the Ducks the lead with one tap.
That lead wouldn’t last, as a Tyler Ennis shot that sneaked through Gibson’s pads and sat behind him was found first by Athanasiou sitting in the crease. He quickly finished the play to tie the game for Edmonton, giving the top line their second tally of the night.
Despite several behind-clenching moments with McDavid rushing the puck up the ice, Anaheim was able to hang on to get to overtime.
With one point each secured, overtime saw Anaheim control much of the possession at the beginning before McDavid was whistled for hooking Rickard Rakell behind the net. The 4-on-3 power play commenced, with some decent puck movement. New Duck Sonny Milano all but ensured his eventual number retirement in Anaheim by planting himself in front of the net and putting home a quick Henrique feed in front to end it and hand the Ducks a victory.
By The Numbers
3. Andreas Athanasiou
2. Adam Henrique
1. Sonny Milano
The Anaheim Ducks take on the Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins this Friday night at Honda Center. It’s not often we get to see two of the best hockey players on the planet visit the Ducks on back-to-back games, so make sure to get your tickets from Stubhub for Friday night’s game here!