The Anaheim Ducks came into this game hoping to claim a winning streak of two, but to do that, they needed to get past the Minnesota Wild, who were opening up their season in Orange County.
The Ducks did a good job on the penalty kill early on, not really allowing the Wild to get any chances, right up until Frederik Gaudreau provided a nice individual effort to get right in front of the net with a quality shot, but was stopped by Anaheim goaltender Anthony Stolarz.
Stolarz stoned Kirill Kaprizov on a 2-on-2, shouldering it into the corner.
Once again, Stolarz continued to stop the Wild, this time forward Nick Bjugstad, who cut across and got a backhand off before getting stopped by the pad.
Brandon Duhaime, who played his first career NHL game, fired a backhand at Stolarz and got gloved. Anaheim’s goaltending was the story of the first period.
Max Jones, who returned after missing the first game with an illness, had a very noticeable first period. He didn’t get on the board, but he directed some shots to the net and looked very intimidating in his strides on the ice.
The referees missed a penalty late in the period after Kevin Fiala made contact with Stolarz — should have been a goaltending interference call.
Nicolas Deslauriers actually had a nice block from the point. He went to the bench in pain, but it looks like it was just a stinger.
Marcus Foligno and Jones dropped the gloves in the final frame of the first period. Foligno won the bout rather easily, however, it sent the Ducks to the power play due to Minnesota receiving an instigator penalty.
The first period finished tied at 0-0. The Ducks really didn’t get much offense going on, and were mainly watching the Anthony Stolarz show go on in their own end. The netminder finished the period saving all 15 shots, with a 0.92 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
Kevin Shattenkirk sent the puck over to Jakob Silfverberg, who cut around the net and caught Talbot lacking extremely early in the period. His wrap-around goal put the Ducks up 1-0.
Mats Zuccarello had a clear look all alone in the slot, but Stolarz once again kept it out, gobbling it up in his pads.
Ducks defender Greg Pateryn took a bad slashing penalty with 14:30 remaining in the period to send the Wild to the power play, but the Ducks managed to kill it.
Anaheim earned their own power play right after their penalty expired thanks to an interference penalty by Bjugstad. The Wild did a great job of clogging the slot on the kill, and the Ducks weren’t able to get much going from the inside. That’s not to say that there weren’t opportunities to score; there were, but they were all from the outside and far.
Duhaime went end-to-end and almost managed to put it five-hole on Stolarz, but just couldn’t get it past the goaltender, who had been on fire.
Silfverberg took a penalty with 3:48 remaining in the second, giving the Wild a chance to tie the hockey game. Minnesota’s tremendous passing game on the special teams, paired with a bad defensive lapse by Isac Lundestrom, who left his man unmarked, led to a goal from Kevin Fiala.
With 38.8 remaining, Victor Rask speared Max Jones in the midsection and gave the Ducks a power play that would drag into the third period.
Right before the end of the period, Silfverberg quickly retrieved the puck off of the faceoff and fired it towards the five-hole, but got stopped by Talbot to keep the score at 1-1 going into the third period.
With 16:19 remaining, defenseman Josh Manson took a penalty to give the Wild a chance to take their first lead of the game, but the Ducks did a solid job with the kill, and Stolarz helped to bail the team out a little bit, as well.
Ryan Getzlaf intercepted a rogue Wild pass and got a clear shot, but missed the net on a very good opportunity. It happened a little bit after Rakell missed the net too. The Ducks’ missed opportunities hurt them the majority of this game.
Mason McTavish had a great shift around the nine-minute mark, looking eerily similar to Silfverberg’s goal. He didn’t release it when he went around the net, therefore no goal came from it. The Ducks definitely gained some energy from that drive, though.
Jordan Greenway took an offensive zone penalty for hooking and sent the Ducks to the power play with a little under nine minutes remaining. Ryan Getzlaf had a rebound opportunity right in the crease but Talbot managed to direct it away with his pad to keep the game tied. That was the biggest chance of the power play, but the Ducks couldn't capitalize and the Wild kept the game tied.
Pateryn, who had a terrible game, took a holding penalty to give the Wild a power play with five minutes remaining in a tied game. Not good at all.
Deslauriers, who had himself a pretty solid game, got down to block a fanned shot and managed to take possession away from the Wild on the power play, great work by him.
Hampus Lindholm had a very clutch backcheck to stop Wild defender Matt Dumba from getting a clean shot off on a breakaway, a smart play from the veteran blueliner.
With 7.2 seconds remaining, Marcus Foligno scored to put the Wild up by a score of 2-1, and the visitors won the game.
- Anthony Stolarz absolutely played his heart out, it sucked to see him lose after such a dominant performance. He was the best player on the ice, saving 41 of 43 shots and putting up a .953 SV%, but he couldn’t come up with the most important save.
- The Ducks need more offense. Only five players recorded over a 0.25 xGF rating, there were only a handful of quality scoring chances on Cam Talbot, and they didn’t make it hard on Minnesota.
- Greg Pateryn probably should not be in the line up. It shows a lack of discipline to take two penalties in such a close game, not to mention a horrific 23.77 xG%. Maybe give Josh Mahura a chance?