Anaheim Ducks Rebound, Edge Dallas Stars 2-1 in Overtime

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Oct 31, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Nate Thompson (44) is congratulated by his teammates after he scored the game winning goal in overtime against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Anaheim beat Dallas 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks were looking to put a loss against the St. Louis Blues the night before behind them in their return to the American Airlines Center for the first time since April 27th, 2014, when the Ducks eliminated the Dallas Stars from the 2014 playoffs. Just as Game 6 went into overtime after 60 minutes, this contest went to the extra period after regulation. That playoff game in April ended on the Ducks’ first shot on goal in overtime, a Nick Bonino wrister that sent the Ducks into the second round.

This game was the same for Anaheim. On the first shot on goal for the Ducks in overtime, Corey Perry sent a blast from the point that was redirected by Nate Thompson past netminder Kari Lehtonen halfway through the extra session. The goal was the first for Thompson since being acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning on the eve of free agency, and it gave the Ducks a 2-1 victory in Dallas to improve the team’s record to 9-3-0, including 2-1-0 on this road trip.

Anaheim opened up the scoring with 3:15 left in the second period. Francois Beauchemin beat Tyler Seguin for the puck one-on-one and banked a pass to a streaking Perry during a 4-on-4. Perry charged in and blasted a slapshot from the circle off the post and in to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Just before the play, Alex Goligoski had a great chance to score on the 4-on-4. Multiple bodies had amassed in front of netminder Frederik Andersen and created a screen, while the net was open on one end. However, Goligoski pushed the shot wide, and almost immediately after, Perry converted. The goal gave Perry ten goals on the year, making him the first player this season to score double digit goals.

However, it was Dallas who made the comeback in the third period this time. As the Stars’ sixth power play expired, Ryan Garbutt made a pass to defenseman Trevor Daley, who flared a cross-ice feed through three Anaheim players to an open Antoine Roussel, who tipped the puck past Andersen to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:27 left in the third period. The goal was Roussel’s fourth of the year, and he is continuing to have a good season as a secondary player for Dallas.

Anaheim played a very good game Friday after not playing at their best in St. Louis the night before. The Ducks played hard on the puck, forcing the Stars to commit 14 giveaways while having 13 takeaways on their own on the night. The Stars’ poor puck control was a reason the Ducks killed all six Dallas power-play opportunities and had multiple shorthanded opportunities. The Ducks held the Stars to nine shots on goal through two periods, including a measly one chance in the second period. That chance came on a Cam Fowler turnover to Colton Sceviour, but Andersen made the stop. Dallas only had the nine shots on goal despite having five power play opportunities after 40 minutes.

Andersen was excellent, stopping 21 of 22 shots to improve his record to 7-1-0 with a 1.60 GAA and .941 SV%. He was not tested too much, as the Ducks limited the Stars’ opportunities on net until the third, when the Stars registered 11 shots on goal.

The Ducks got Patrick Maroon back in this contest, and he was placed on his usual spot on the top line. Maroon did not really play much: he logged 14:55 of ice time, but 4:16 of it came on the Ducks’ four power-play opportunities. However, his biggest strength was a recurring theme throughout the lineup on the night: winning puck battles. The Ducks were coming out of the corners with the puck, really controlling the tempo against Dallas and keeping the Stars’ speed in check, an element that defines Dallas and breaks games open for them.

Each team’s top line was also somewhat neutralized tonight. Lindy Ruff matched his top line of Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, and Seguin against the line of Andrew Cogliano, Ryan Kesler, and Devante Smith-Pelly. The Ducks’ trio held Benn, Spezza, and Seguin to one shot on goal apiece and finished with a -3 rating, as opposed to the even net rating of the Kesler line. However, Ruff also matched the line of Roussel, Cody Eakin, and Garbutt with Maroon, Ryan Getzlaf, and Perry. The Ducks’ top line also only got one shot on goal apiece, but Perry’s one shot was turned into a goal. This trio finished with a +1 net rating, while the Eakin line finished with a net rating of +2.

This was a physical affair, with the teams combining for 45 hits. Benn started the affairs by smashing Sami Vatanen into the boards early. Erik Cole also gave Maroon a welcome back into the lineup by standing him up.

As always, here are my three stars for this game.