Final Score: Ducks, 5 – Hurricanes, 3
The Ducks improved to an NHL-best with 43 wins, 14 losses, and 5 overtime games with a whopping 91 points, and still holding the top spot in the entire league. The Ducks served to be rude hosts to the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday, March 2nd in Anaheim, defeating them and making that their fifth straight loss since the February Olympic break.
The Ducks started strong and dominated the entire first period, both defensively and offensively. The first 2-minute penalty of the night went to Cam Fowler for hooking against Hurricanes’ Jeff Skinner. Corey Perry had the first wrist-shot goal of the night at 6:39 into the first period, assisted by Dustin Penner and Ryan Getzlaf. This goal made for Perry’s 31st total goal for the current 2013-2014 season. At 13:38, Francois Beauchemin fired a beauty of a slap-shot past Cam Ward, which was assisted by Dustin Penner and Corey Perry. At 16:26 of play in the first period, Corey Perry fired a wrist shot past Ward, which was assisted by Cam Fowler. Andrew “Iron Man” Cogliano had quite a few nice breakaways during this period and was able to utilize his speed, but couldn’t seal the deal. In return, at 19:19, Eric Staal of the Hurricanes earned a 2-minute penalty against Cogliano for boarding. Rookie Frederik Andersen made a total of 12 saves during this first period up against the big guns of Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal, Riley Nash, Jay Harrison, Jiri Tlusty, and John-Michael Liles. The Ducks did well taking command over the two penalty kills against them during this period and were able to move the puck around and score those first three goals of the game. The Ducks made good use of the ice and played from all four corners. They passed and played the puck extremely well during this first period. This momentum seemed to set the tone and tempo for the rest of the game.
A 2-minute penalty started off the second period excitement at 2:56 involving Nick Bonino hooking against Riley Nash. However Andrew Cogliano was able to score a nice short-handed wrist shot, which was assisted by Saku Koivu at 3:31. At 6:55, Saku Koivu earned a 2-minute penalty due to interference on goalkeeper Cam Ward after a hairy situation that had a lot of players down on the ice. Daniel Winnik came to play, once again, and had quite a few opportunities to score during the period, yet didn’t make it up on the boards. The shots on goal increased to 20 for the Ducks and 16 for the Hurricanes towards the middle of the second period. At 8:35, Drayson Bowman of the Hurricanes served a penalty for too many men on the ice. At 8:47, Jakob Silfverberg made a wrist shot that was assisted by Kyle Palmieri. If you weren’t keeping score, that made for a 5-0 lead for the Ducks, which allowed for the fans to get free wings from Hooters up to 24 hours after the game! It was following this goal, trouble seemed to be brewing for the Anaheim bench. At 10:44, Kyle Palmieri earned a penalty for hi-sticking against Brett Bellemore. Then, at 13:40, Eric Staal earned a penalty for roughing against Francois Beauchemin. At 15:20, Andrej Sekera of the Hurricanes, scored a wrist shot; assisted by Ron Hainsey and Riley Nash. The score board showed: Ducks 5, Hurricanes 1. The second period ended with Jakob Silfverberg earning a penalty for hooking against Alexander Semin at 17:21. The rest of the period involved the Ducks’ possessing the puck and clearing it from their offensive zone. Even though the Ducks retained their 4-goal lead towards the end of the period, they showed some fatigue and slack in their defense. Ben Lovejoy had some big hits, though he did not stop the Hurricanes’ offense from gaining moment and shots on goal.
With the start of the third period, the Ducks seemed to have lost their momentum and focus. There were quite a few moments where the Ducks’ players were flat faced on the ice because of getting tangled up with the opposing team. Tempers flared at 7:43 between Brett Bellmore and Patrick Maroon, earning them both five-minute majors for fighting. The Hurricanes demonstrated more drive and determination, which resulted in two additional goals at 11:29 and 18:55. At 11:29, Patrick Dwyer scored a wrist-shot, which was assisted by John-Michael Liles and Nathan Gerbe. At 16:09, Hampus Lindholm earned a penalty for hooking against Jiri Tlusty. Then at 18:55, Alexander Semin scored a wrap-around-the-post wrist-shot without an assist. The period ended with Eric Staal earning a high stick double minor penalty at 19:19 against Saku Koivu. The Ducks weren’t able to utilize this power play and just cleared the puck from their defensive zone. Even though the Ducks won this contest, making for their third straight win, their third period performance lacked the skill that a first-place team is capable of. It appeared that the five goal lead went to the Ducks’ heads and they lost sights of how to finish a game strong. The shots on goal conclusion for the teams were 52 for Carolina and 34 for Anaheim, demonstrating the point that I made that the Ducks lost momentum and Carolina wanted to rock (them) “like a Hurricane” (sorry, I had to do that one!)
NHL Three Stars of the Game (official):
- Corey Perry
- Francois Beauchemin
- Cam Fowler
My Three Stars of the Game:
- Corey Perry
- Francois Beauchemin
- Frederik Andersen
I believe that Frederik Andersen deserved the third star of the game over Cam Fowler be cause of his performance in the net. Cam Fowler did not play to his full potential on Sunday and failed to help protect the goal and support Andersen several times.
Our Anaheim Ducks will take on the Montreal Canadians (34-21-7, 2nd place in the Atlantic) on Wednesday, March 5th at 7 p.m. PT at Honda Center.