Anaheim Ducks Hold On, Edge Flyers in Shootout

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Oct 14, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) carries the puck into the zone ahead of Philadelphia Flyers right wing Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (78) during the first period at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a dominating win in Buffalo against the Sabres, the Anaheim Ducks arrived in Philadelphia for the back end of a back-to-back. The team was not well tested in Buffalo, winning 5-1 and outshooting the Sabres 44-12. Because of the relatively easy manner in which the Ducks won, the team was expected to be somewhat fresher than it would be in a normal back-to-back situation.

That was not the case against the Flyers, as the Ducks had to stave off a furious rally by Philadelphia before coming out on top, 4-3, in the shootout.

Right before the end of the second period, Philadelphia had come back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game after Wayne Simmonds banged home a greasy goal on the Flyers’ third power-play of the period. However, Ryan Getzlaf zipped in a pass to Matt Beleskey, who netted a backhand to give the Ducks the lead with 17 seconds left in the period.

The Flyers, however, kept coming in waves in the second and third periods. Philadelphia outshot the Ducks 29-13 in the final two periods and seemed to perpetually have the puck in the Ducks’ defensive zone. Eventually, the Ducks conceded in the third, as a Hampus Lindholm clearing attempt hit the stick of Ryan Kesler and ricocheted back into the defensive zone. Michael Del Zotto fed the puck to Jakub Voracek, who went around the net and put a backhand past Frederik Andersen to tie the game at 3 apiece.

The Ducks did start strong, however. The team was assertive early, testing goalie Steve Mason, who stopped 25 of 28 shots. Tim Jackman opened the scoring by pouncing on a rebound off a shot by Francois Beauchemin, netting a backhand over Mason, who had no time to react to the second attempt. The team then extended its lead to 2-0 a few minutes later, with Devante Smith-Pelly redirecting a Lindholm shot a few seconds after the Ducks’ second power play had expired. Both power play units had moved the puck well during the two minute sequence, and that great offensive sequence helped lead to the second score.

However, the Flyers were roaring in the second period, and it started after Kesler and Nicklas Grossmann got their skates tangled and Grossmann took a hard tumble into the boards. The Ducks also did themselves no favors taking three minor penalties in the second period alone. Philadelphia cashed in on two of the chances, including a 5-on-3 where Mark Streit blasted in a shot off a feed from Claude Giroux that made it 2-1. On the third minor, the power play ended with a mad scramble in front of Andersen, which resulted in Simmonds’ 5th goal of the season. The puck deflected off Beauchemin right onto Simmonds’ stick, who pocketed the shot into the open net.

Andersen was sharp for the Ducks, and he got the nod in both games of the back-to-back after only facing 12 shots in Buffalo. Andersen was tested far more than he was on Monday, but he stopped 39 of 42 attempts and picked up his third consecutive win after foiling three of four attempts in the shootout (Voracek, Matt Read, and Sean Couturier). Jakob Silfverberg and rookie William Karlsson scored for the Ducks in the shootout, with the Swede beating Mason in the 4th round to give the Ducks the victory.

Again, it’s time to name who I believe were the Ducks’ three stars in last night’s game.