Now that the season is over for the Anaheim Ducks, it’s time to take a look back at the season that was their second consecutive Pacific Division championship. For now, I would like to take a look back at what I believe to be the best five games of the past season. A reminder, these are MY choices, you may disagree with a selection or two, but if you do, leave a comment explaining which game was one of your favorites and why!
Sunday, October 13th, 2013 – ‘Mighty’ Ducks defeat Ottawa Senators 4-1
How could I not mention this? This was one of the games I was looking forward to the most throughout the year. Not only was it retro night where the franchise brought back the eggplant and jade, but it was the return of Bobby Ryan to Honda Center. The fans did not have to wait long to see the former Duck return as this was just the fifth game of the year for Anaheim.
The Ducks came out and dominated this game from the get-go. They posted 24 shots on goal in the first and nearly matched that in the second when they post 21 shots on goal. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf both scored in the first period, but Bobby, of course, scored in the last minute of the period to make it 2-1. The Ducks got two more goals in the second period, including a second goal of the game from Perry and a goal from Nick Bonino. Jonas shut the door and the Ducks won 4-1. They broke their record for most shots on goal in a game by boasting a total of 56 shots on goal on the Sens’ net. Kind of an interesting note, among their 56 SOG, defenseman Sami Vatanen led the way for any one player with 7 SOG in the game. Only Ben Lovejoy and Bryan Allen did not register a SOG.
Friday, November 22nd, 2013 – Ducks defeat Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 (OT)
The Ducks peppered their opposing netminder in this game as well, but could not beat him until late in overtime. Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop had a 41-shot shutout going until just six seconds left in overtime. Ryan Getzlaf came storming down the left wing and unleashed a wrist shot that got kicked right back to him and he batted it back towards net. The puck kind of handcuffed Bishop and fell into the crease. The puck slowly was heading towards the back of the net, but Lightning forward Richard Panik dove over Bishop and batted the puck up the goal line. Then as Panik fell to the ice, his momentum pushed the puck over the line. Getzlaf proceeded to do an Eruzione-esque run on the ice to celebrate the overtime winner. This was a great goaltender duel between Bishop and Hiller, who put up 31 saves to earn the shutout.
Friday, December 6th, 2013 – Ducks defeat Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 (SO)
This was the third straight shootout for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller was able to deny all three shootout attempts he faced, and it wasn’t the easiest of opposition. Jonathan Toews shot first, than Patrick Sharp and then Patrick Kane. Not bad, Jonas. For the Ducks, they went 2-for-2 on their attempts. Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri both scored for the Ducks. The Ducks have had a lot of success over the last few seasons over the Blackhawks and this wasn’t the first shootout between the two lately. But, any win over Chicago, in Chicago, in a shootout, against Toews-Sharp-Kane, is an impressive win.
Sunday, January 5th, 2014 – Ducks defeat Vancouver Canucks 4-3 (OT)
The Canucks and Ducks certainly had a couple interesting match ups this season. Here, the Canucks got up to a 2-0 lead after the first period with goals from Ryan Kesler and Tom Sestito. The Ducks had the game tied by the start of the third with second period goals by Saku Koivu and Matt Beleskey. The Canucks, however, retook the lead early in the third with a goal from Kevin Bieksa. Although the Ducks outshot the Canucks by a large margin after the first period, the Ducks were still trailing with two minutes left in the third period. However, Bonino would get an open shot in the slot and beat Eddie Lack to tie the game with a minute and a half left. In overtime, Bieksa would get called for hooking Bonino who appeared to be in all alone on a breakaway, but a penalty shot was not called. On the resulting power play, Perry would beat Lack from just inside the left circle with less than a second remaining in regulation. One of many incredible comebacks and finishes from the Ducks this season.
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 – Ducks defeat Vancouver Canucks 9-1 (LOL)
This game was nothing like the previous game on this list. This one was a laugher. The Ducks set a franchise record for goals in a single game with nine. The Canucks pooled Eddie Lack after he allowed three goals on 13 shots. In to replace him was rookie Joacim Eriksson, making his NHL debut. It did not go very well. He allowed six goals on 31 shots. The blame was not entirely all on the goaltenders because the Canucks defensemen were absolutely awful. The Ducks totalled 44 shots on goal on the win and the power play went 6-for-11….yeah the Canucks lost their cool and began gooning it up after the game was well out of control. Only Cam Fowler, Dustin Penner and Tim Jackman did not register a point for the Ducks. Perry led the way with four points (2 G, 2 A). Teemu Selanne and Sami Vatanen both registered three points. This game went along way to the Ducks setting many team records.
Saturday, January 25th, 2014 – Ducks defeat Los Angeles Kings 3-0 (Outdoor Series @ Dodger Stadium)
And lastly, this game had to make this list for me. This game could not have gone much better for the Ducks. They got an early goal to take the lead, from Perry. They added an insurance marker from Beleskey later in the opening frame. They played great, shutdown defense until they could get an empty netter, supplied by Andrew Cogliano. Jonas Hiller earned the 36-save shutout in a very good performance, including a penalty shot save on Anze Kopitar. In a night where Wayne Gretzky delievered the puck and Vin Scully got the crowd going before the game, the Ducks stole the show and took their first ever Outdoor Game. Of course, after the game ended, the Kings neglected to shake hands and just skated off the ice, which upset the Ducks and their captain.
So, there you have it. These were my top five games of the year. Like I said before, if you think I missed a game or two, just leave a comment and explain why its better than one of mine. In any case, stayed tuned because we’ll have a lot of coverage of the offseason for you here at POAF, including some great draft and free agency coverage!
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