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VIDEO: Ducks Put Out The Flames
By Julius Choi
The Anaheim Ducks came into Wednesday’s contest against the Calgary Flames as winners of two of their last three games. With the lone loss coming against Calgary last Friday. After both of them missed the last four games due to injury, Ryan Getzlaf and Nick Ritchie returned to the lineup. The goaltending showdown was between Ryan Miller and David Rittich.
With the Anaheim Ducks eliminated from playoff contention and the Calgary Flames focusing on staying healthy for a long postseason run, there was no sense of urgency seen from both teams. This does not mean that there wasn’t any action, however, as the Ducks put pressure on David Rittich with three quick shots on net out of the gate. This ultimately allowed Anaheim to open the scoring just five minutes into the period. Sam Steel, while stationary in the left faceoff circle, played give go as Jakob Silverberg and Rickard Rakell were cycling along the board. Steel fired a no doubt one-timer on the second pass from Rakell for his fifth goal of the season. Then about two minutes later, 21-year-old Max Jones operated well deep in the Calgary zone, skating behind the net while protecting the puck away from Calgary’s Oliver Kylington. When Jones felt his defender lose his balance, he quickly made a U-turn for a shot that surprised and trickled past Rittich to extend Anaheim’s lead 2-0. This didn’t faze the Flames as they responded with a counter-attack orchestrated on a cross-ice pass by Austin Czarnik to Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau then quick tapped the puck to the center of the ice where a streaking Derek Ryan was dancing in the slot before scoring on a backhand on Ryan Miller.
Although Anaheim’s 2.35 goals per game average are ranked 31st in the league, the Ducks have found much of their offensive footing in the second period this season. Prior to tonight’s game, the team scored 68 goals in the middle frame. Anaheim focused on carrying the momentum they had in the first into the second and proceeded in the process, outshooting Calgary 12-10. There was only one goal that was scored and it came from no other than center Ryan Getzlaf. There were no signs of wear and tear as Getzlaf gained zone entry while his linemates went to the bench for a change after a penalty kill and winded a shot past Rittich to reestablish the two-goal cushion. The tally was the captain’s 14th goal of the season.
The shot counter from both teams simmered down as the Ducks and Flames didn’t reach double figures in shots on goals. There were no goals scored in the last twenty minutes of action but Anaheim had its opportunities when Max Jones drew a hooking penalty from Michael Frolik for a power play. Miller didn’t see many shots come his way as he stopped all five shots faced in the final frame, coming up with 25 saves on 26 shots to secure a 3-1 win for Anaheim. The Ducks had a successful night in the faceoff circle, winning 64% of their draws compared to Calgary’s 36%.
There was a lot of open ice for both teams to operate, making the game a prime candidate for a high scoring game but there were only a modest four goals scored between the two teams. By picking up a tripping minor in the first period, Nick Ritchie picked up his team-leading 64th penalty minute of the season. He wasn’t drafted by the Ducks to provide top-line scoring but rather to provide physical presence and grit which he has done rather well. After being on the losing end in his last four starts, Miller had a good showing in net tonight demonstrating his patience and awareness for the puck. Getzlaf logging 13 minutes of action was a good sign for the 33-year-old as he focuses on strengthening his core in the offseason. Anaheim’s penalty kill unit was the key to victory tonight as Calgary failed to score on five power plays. The Flames are now 1-for-34 on the man advantage in their last 11 games.
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April 4th, 2019