(photo credit: Dinur Blum)
It was known for a while that the Anaheim Ducks going up against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday wasn’t going to be just another game. Not only are some of the Ducks from Toronto, but many of the Maple Leafs players have had history with the Southern California team. So of course beating Anaheim was probably the only option since they heard that the Ducks were coming to town. With both teams having a good season so far, it was going to be a gritty, evenly matched night, but Toronto took the victory with a score of 6-2 and broke the Ducks’ recent winning streak.
The Ducks came ready for the first period against their old head coach, armed with a seven-game winning streak that was itching to keep going. Toronto’s Tyler Bozak opened up the scoreboard in the first at 15:12 and that was the only goal for the rest of the period. The Maple Leafs weren’t going to go easy on Anaheim for the rest of the night, as there was a lot of back story and an ongoing streak for them also on the line.
Anaheim finally found their way onto the scoreboard at 13:13 in the second frame with a wrist shot by Sami Vatanen with assists from Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. This put them on the heels of the Maple Leafs even after Joffrey Lupul kept Toronto’s lead going. Things were looking good for the Ducks as they got the ball rolling. Both teams ended the period without another score, and the calm playtime was over to start the fight to the finish in the third.
The Ducks had a tough time during the third period to try to even get a few more goals or tie the game up. Getzlaf suffered a penalty for embellishment early in the period and the Maple Leafs had their chance to leave the Ducks in the dust. Toronto’s David Booth kept the lead going with a wrap-around goal at 4:37 then another goal came right after at 5:28 from Nazem Kadri. The night was over for Andersen and one of Anaheim’s all-time favorite goaltenders, Ilya Bryzgalov, was brought in to take his turn in the net. Kesler got the momentum going for the Ducks once again with a goal at 8:35, but it didn’t last for long after a power-play goal by Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel at 15:23. Kessel scored again at 18:17 to solidify the win with a final score of 6-2.
The night was full of frustrations and despite the loss, the Ducks will bounce back, probably with another winning streak anytime soon and are still one of the top teams in the NHL standings. Veteran Stanley Cup winner Bryzgalov will hopefully bring a new-found confidence that the goalies section of Anaheim needs. The Ducks will continue their 5-game road trip against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 18.