Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

One of the toughest things to do in sport is to beat a team twice in a row. Look for the Oilers to bring it from the drop of the puck. Arguably the fastest team in the NHL, these Oilers can really bring it.

Job 1 tonight isn’t to survive the attack. You may hear or read such nonsense advanced in broadcast or print media. Job 1 is to match the Oilers intensity. Do this, compete, and the rest will take care of itself. As we were reminded last night, our Ducks are a pretty good hockey team when they compete.

Our Ducks can clinch the Pacific Division crown and second seed in the Western Conference with a win. While it’s too soon to think about the playoffs, mainly because our first round opponent has yet to be determined, we won’t.

Keys to the Game

As mentioned, compete. Match the Oilers intensity from the get go. The challenge here is for our Ducks to keep their feet moving. You compete with the Oilers by skating with them.

Don’t look ahead. Focus on the play in front of you. Wednesday’s game against Vancouver is televised in Canada and on the NHL Network in the USA but that’s no excuse to look past these Oilers.

Second, smart positional play. Two guys deep in the offensive zone with a 3rd man high. Oilers are so quick in transition you committing 3 guys low in the offensive is the sure-fire way to get burned by giving up odd man attacks.
Force the Oilers outside in neutral zone. True their only goal came from the outside but it was their only goal because they were forced to the perimeter the entire game. In our zone every player must keep his body between his check and Jonas Hiller. We can’t let them get behind us.

Finally. finish scoring chances. Jeez Louise, from passes to nowhere, to shooting wide to hitting posts on empty nets our Ducks are having trouble putting the puck in the opposition net.
Yes we won last night but we had as much trouble scoring on an empty net as we did when Dubnyk was between the pipes.

Expecting Nick Bonino to replicate his performance might be a bit much to expect.

It’s been a quite a season for Bones. He unceremoniously caused the demotion of Teemu Selanne off the first unit PP. He settled the depth lines. It may not be long before Coach reunites the Bonino-Ryan-Selanne line. My hunch is that the second act will be far more successful than the first.

These Ducks could accomplish something very special this season. In dispatching the Stanley Cup champion Kings, our Ducks had to beat not just the Kings, they had to overcome some bad officiating, their own demons, an unfavorable schedule and an injury that reduced them to five D-men for the final two periods.

This was a night when even a good showing would have been accepted and excused by most paying customers.

Just two weeks ago our Ducks found themselves in a very similar situation. On that night our guys gave in to their base instincts and Vancouver made them look like goofs on their way to 5-0 win.

Like the Canucks, Kings came out attempting to dictate the tempo and dominate physically. Even in the eye of this Ducks fan, Kings earned a territorial advantage in play throughout the game. Our Ducks didn’t let them do much with it. Our guys dove in front of shots. They matched the Kings physically, tying them up and moving them out of harms way.

Ducks took an early lead on two goals from Nick Bonino. Suter yanked Quick and replaced him with Bernier. Kings responded with assists from B market officiating and came back to tie it up. Dustin Brown on a PP and Jared Stoll wristed while falling away just 34 seconds later.

Ryan Getzlaf went to the Kings net to bury one as our Ducks skated off the ice leading 3-2 after one period of play.

Kings would tie it up 3 more times but would never lead before our Ducks pulled away in the third.

Nick Bonino buried another to complete his first career hat trick. It was another night when our Ducks got significant scoring from an unexpected source.

It was a night of a few Ducks firsts. Emerson Etem earned his first NHL points assisting on each Bones’ first two goals. It was also Double E’s first multi-point NHL game.

Teemu Selanne’s EN goal moved him ahead of Doug Gilmour for 16th place on the All Time Points leaders.

As this blog has noted on numerous occasions, goalie stats are useless indicators. Jonas Hiller is not among the top 40 NHL goalies in SV% or GAA. He’s tied for tenth in wins with four.

And tonight, maybe for the first time since we traded Chris Pronger, this blogger saw reason for hope.

I was able to join the game with about 9 minutes to go in the 3rd. Caught some of the second on radio. Retired Hockey Mom needed a couple of cortisone shots for a fibromyalgia flare-up. Major owie.

Ducks took a point out of the barn of one the NHL’s hottest teams tonight. Our guys took more from the Sharks tonight than any of Phoenix, Vancouver, Colorado, Edmonton and Calgary had done. For those looking for a measuring stick, there you go. What I saw was smart, accountable hockey. This team continues to impress with its ES dominance. Our guys also showed great discipline by limiting the Sharks to just two PP’s.

Matt “Homeboy” Beleskey who was just 2:45 away from his first winning goal since 2009-10 said, “If we bring that game every night, we’ll be in good shape.”

What our Ducks didn’t do was put the Sharks away when opportunities presented. Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan each had the game on their stick late in regulation time. We went 0 for 4 on the PP.

Every guy in that room knows we let one get away tonight. It’s not one you hang your head over though. It’s one you suck up and use to motivate yourself to the next level.

 

Ducks & Nucks played an even first period. Ducks took the first lead as newcomer Daniel Winnick opened the scoring. About seven or so minutes into the first period the Nucks started sending two players to the Ducks net. It paid off a couple of minutes later when Dan Hamhuis sent a blast from the point that Jonas Hiller never saw. Daniel Sedin took the lead at 11:23 when Daniel Sedin picked up some loose change in the low slot and went far side against a diving Hiller. That was the high point for Vancouver.

Ducks tied it up at 15:23 of the first when Teemu Selanne beat one of hockey’s best, Manny Malhotra on a face off and pushed the biscuit to Sheldon Souray who sent a blast through Schneider. Ducks had a 14-10 lead on face offs in the first.

Dan Winnick again opened the scoring in the second frame. It was beautiful tic tac toe play from Cogliano to Koivu to Winnick.

Two of our Ducks four new guys, Winnick and Souray had accounted for all of the scoring. Ducks best players stepped up and took over from there on out.

Corey Perry put our Ducks up by two when he picked up some loose change in front of Schneider. Kyle Palmieri put our Ducks up by 3 just 11 seconds later when he one-timed a Ryan Getzlaf setup for his 1st of the year. Getzlaf then setup Teemu Selanne on a cross ice pass after the lane opened when Nucks D Kevin Bieksa lost his stick.

Alexander Edler replied for Vancouver. Flash closed out the scoring with a wrist shot from about 20 feet that beat Roberto Loungo cleanly. Loung had replaced Schneider after the Ducks fifth goal.

Selanne’s four point night put on pace to rack up 192 points on the season.

Both teams played sloppily in their own end at times. The difference in this game was Jonas Hiller made some key saves at key times. Toni Lydman was brilliant breaking up 3 different Vancouver opportunities, one of which looked like a 3 on 1. he also led our Ducks D with 3 blocked shots on the night.

Ducks special teams were successful going 3 for 3 on the PP and 50% on the PK. The checking line of Koivu-Cogliano-Winnick outscored the Sedins 3-1. Our guys dominated the face off circle as Teemu took 4 of 6, Koivu 16 of 27 for 59% and Ryan Getzlaf won 54% of his face offs.

In post game interviews two goal scorer Dan Winnick gave credit to Coach Boudreau’s plan to roll four lines. Winnick said that everybody seemed fresher when they were called upon. Teemu Selanne said he felt good after his first game in nine months.

Notes: Ducks played without Cam Fowler who picked up that flu bug making its way  throughout the Southland. Ducks pressed 7th D-man Jordan Hendry into service. Vancouver is without two-thirds of its second line as Ryan Kesler and David Booth were unable to go.
Ricard Rakell centered the 4th line with Devante Smith-Pelly and Matt Beleskey on the wings. Ducks can keep Rakell up for five games before they have to decide whether to keep on the roster for the season. In a full NHL season Rickard could have been given a 10 game look. Overall he played well though the 4th line did get hemmed up in their own zone and got caught out there against the Sedin line a couple of times.
Peter Holland and Brad Staubitz were healthy scratches.

Ducks are off to Calgary for game against the Flames Monday.