(photo: Dinur Blum)
The fight for the Pacific Division lead came down to the last straw Thursday night. After the loss against Calgary and former teammate Jonas Hiller, the Anaheim Ducks were bound and determined to beat the Vancouver Canucks. This game was especially important to former Canucks turned Ducks star, Ryan Kesler. In a shootout, the Ducks broke their losing streak against Vancouver 4-3.
The Ducks’ hunger for redemption showed in the first period. At Just 00:37, Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano came in with a wrist shot past Canucks goalie Eddie Lack with right winger Jakob Silfverberg and center Nate Thompson on the assists. Anaheim’s starting goalie Frederik Andersen who has been having a tough time over the last couple of games stepped it up tonight. He manged to keep out 10 shots on goal by the Canucks. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf scored a backhanded shot at 13:10 with his usual backups, left and right wingers, Patrick Maroon and Corey Perry. The first ended with the Canucks trailing behind the Ducks 2-0.
With a two to nothing lead going into the second, the Ducks were planning to keep it that way. Canucks started the period by charging into the Ducks zone but were quickly blocked out by Getzlaf and Andersen. Center Bo Horvat slipped one past Andersen at just 3:08 which now had Vancouver only trailing by one and at very early into the second. At 11:18, Vancouver right winger Jannik Hansen scored on Andersen with a slapshot. Just a few seconds later at 11:48 fellow right winger Radim Vrbata backhanded the puck and scored. The opening five minutes proved to be in the Canucks favor and the Ducks had to get the momentum back that they had in the first to keep their lead. The Canucks were finally the ones leading the Ducks along at 3-2.
The third period rolled around and it was all about the Canucks maintaining a lead over the Ducks or the Ducks coming in with some fast goals to either tie or start leading the game again. By the time that there was only 9:29 left in the game, both teams were managing to keep one another away from scoring. Things were starting to look brighter for the Ducks when the up and coming Matt Beleskey scored at 11:52 to tie the game with only 7:16 left in regulation. Both teams fought to the end with a final score of the third period at 3-3.
Overtime has been the norm for the Anaheim Ducks. Both Andersen and Lack held on during the entire OT period and were not ready to give up yet. Shootout time it is. Anaheim’s Perry went up first and scored. Former Ducks teammate Nick Bonino had his goal saved against Andersen. It was Kesler’s turn who had his shot saved and Canucks’ Vrbata missed. It was all down to Silfverberg who scored the winning goal for the Ducks.
Anaheim ended their away game trip with a fresh record and all mishaps put behind them. They will be playing at home against the Arizona Coyotes this Sunday.