Anaheim Ducks Lose Lead, Comeback to Beat Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in Shootout

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Nov 20, 2014; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano (7) celebrates his goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack (31) (not pictured) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks looked to get a win before heading back home to Honda Center for a three game homestand. The team had gone 1-1-5 in its previous five games, including blowing a two goal lead to the Calgary Flames in the third period Tuesday before losing 4-3 in the shootout. This was a game of great significance for Ryan Kesler, as he returned to Vancouver for the first time since being traded to the Ducks on June 27th.

Despite the lapses in play that have become common during this stretch for the Ducks, the team prevailed 4-3 in the shootout over the Canucks. The game went almost exactly the same way as the game in Calgary did, with the Ducks blowing a two-goal lead, falling behind, tying the game late, and going to a shootout. This time, however, the Ducks would prevail, staying atop the Pacific Division and Western Conference with the win.

The Ducks would strike very quickly, getting on the scoreboard just 37 seconds into the game. Jakob Silfverberg tried shooting the puck on net, but had his initial shot blocked by Luca Sbisa, who Anaheim traded to Vancouver as part of the Kesler package. Silfverberg tried to get another attempt on net, and it fell to Andrew Cogliano, who snapped a sharp-angle shot past Eddie Lack to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. The goal was Cogliano’s third of the season and second in his past three games after only scoring one goal in his first 18 games.

The Ducks would then extend their lead to 2-0. Ryan Getzlaf gave a pass to Patrick Maroon while entering the offensive zone, and Getzlaf just beat Sbisa in the middle of the ice to receive the pass back from Maroon. Getzlaf then hoisted a backhander past Lack at the 13:10 mark of the first period. The goal was the sixth for Getzlaf on the season, and it gave the captain his team-leading 18th point of the season, while Corey Perry got an assist to move into a tie for second in total points on the team (16).

However, the Canucks would storm back in the second period. It started at the 3:08 mark of the second period. Zack Kassian battled with Sami Vatanen along the wall, and Derek Dorsett got to a loose puck. Dorsett passed to a wide-open Bo Horvat, who one-timed the puck past Frederik Andersen to cut the Canucks deficit to 2-1. The goal was the first career NHL goal for Horvat, who was drafted ninth overall in the 2013 Draft with the selection the Canucks got from the New Jersey Devils in the Cory Schneider trade.

At the 11:18 mark of the second period, the Canucks would tie the game at two. A delayed penalty to the Ducks gave Vancouver a six-on-five opportunity. Chris Tanev rushed into the zone on the six-on-five, and he got to a rebound off a Daniel Sedin one-timer. He gave the puck to Alexander Edler, who passed the puck to Jannik Hansen at the circle to the right of Andersen. Hansen blasted a one-timer past Andersen, giving the Canucks no need to go on the power-play. The goal was Hansen’s fifth of the season, but the Canucks were not finished.

30 seconds later, the Canucks struck again. Henrik Sedin got to a puck in the corner and made a pass to his brother, Daniel. Daniel then dished the puck to an open Radim Vrbata down low, who skated across and put a backhander past Andersen to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead at the 11:48 mark of the second period. It extended Vrbata’s goal lead to nine, while the Sedin twins both got their 20th point of the season, maintaining their point-per-game pace this season. The Ducks gave up three goals in a period to lose a two goal lead, just as they did Tuesday in Calgary.

However, the Ducks would respond as they did in Calgary with an equalizer in the third period. Vatanen fired a shot from the point, and Getzlaf tipped it in the direction of Lack. Matt Beleskey, who was put with Getzlaf and Perry in an effort to juggle the lines and get production, was at the front of the net, and he battled with Tanev before eventually getting a backhand past Lack to tie the game at three with 8:08 left in the game. Beleskey scored his ninth of the season 21 games in, matching his nine goals scored last year in 55 games. Vatanen, with an assist, retook the lead for second on the team in points (17).

In Calgary, the Ducks eventually lost the game in the shootout 4-3. In their first meeting with Vancouver this season, the Ducks lost a lead before losing to Lack in the shootout. Once again, this game would go to a shootout, giving the Ducks five shootouts in their previous seven games. Perry would go first, and he waited for Lack to go down before flicking a backhand over the goaltender to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Nick Bonino, the other player the Ducks included in the Kesler package, was stopped by Andersen’s right pad. Kesler went next for the Ducks, who was stopped by the blocker of Lack. Vrbata stepped up for the Canucks, but he lost control of the puck and never got his shot attempt off. Silfverberg, with a chance to end it, went with his signature wrister high glove, and he won the shootout and game for the Ducks.

Despite the winning result, there are concerns over the team. The Ducks have not won a game in regulation since November 2nd against the Colorado Avalanche (2-1-5), with both wins coming in shootouts. In three of those five overtime losses, the Ducks never trailed until the overtime or shootout winner. The team, although it sits atop the Western Conference with 29 points, has not played a strong full 60 minute game since the 6-5 shootout win over the Kings last Wednesday. The Ducks were held to under ten shots on goal in each period of regulation, including a meager four in the third period when they needed an equalizer.

However, the maddening part is that the effort is there in spurts: the Ducks controlled the first period and didn’t give easy chances to Vancouver. In the overtime period, the Ducks had a 54 second shift in the offensive zone, keeping the Canucks players out on the ice for about 80 seconds and holding them in. The Ducks immediately spent the next 37 seconds in the offensive zone as well. They can control play, but at times, they fail to do so, resulting in blown leads.

Here are my three stars of the game.