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Ducks Earn Point In OT Against The Avs
By Michael Walters
The Anaheim Ducks returned home to face the Colorado Avalanche to start their final home stand. The Ducks announced just prior to the game Max Comtois suffered an upper-body injury and will not play the remainder of the season. Anaheim also recalled Drew Helleson, who made his NHL debut. Scott Harrington was out with an upper-body injury.
Lukas Dostal got the start in net and Olle Eriksson Ek was the back up. John Gibson has been dealing with an illness this past week. Pavel Francouz got the start in net for the Avalanche.
The Avalanche scored first just over halfway into the opening period. Valeri Nichushkin got the puck in the slot and passed it to J.T. Compher at the side of the net. Compher whiffed on the first attempt, but then made good on the second one scoring to make it 1-0 Avs.
The Ducks then got into penalty trouble giving the Avs four power plays in the first period. The Avs hit the post and/or crossbar a total of three times. Anaheim somehow survived and was only down 1-0 after the opening period.
The Avs extended their lead late in the second period. Rantanen scored with a backhand shot in the slot. Dostal was screened on the play.
About a minute later in the game, the Ducks got on the board with a goal by Frank Vatrano. Trevor Zegras made a backhand pass to Vatrano in the slot and he one-timed the puck over Francouz for the goal.
Anaheim then tied things up with a goal by Adam Henrique with about two minutes left in the period. The Avs turned over the puck at center ice and Adam Henrique was sprung on a breakaway. He scored backhanding the puck five-hole. The teams were tied up at two after two periods.
In the third, the Ducks scored twice to make it a 4-2 lead. Vatrano scored his second of the game as he took a wrist shot through traffic. Francouz got a piece of the shot, but it still trickled in behind him.
About two minutes later, Derek Grant through the puck at the net. Brett Leason tried to tap the puck it, but Francouz blocked the attempt. However, the puck ended up deflecting off Sam Girard and into the net for the score. Leason was given credit for the goal.
The Ducks then got in penalty trouble again taking three penalties in a row. The Avs would score on two of the three man advantages. Mikko Rantanen scored on a one-timer from the right face-off circle. Nathan MacKinnon then scored a similar goal from the left face-off circle on another power play.
Bonus hockey would be needed as the teams were tied at four at the end of regulation. In overtime Frank Vatrano was called for a questionable interference penalty and the Avs would score the game winner on the power play. MacKinnon would one-time the puck from the slot area to give the Avs the victory.
This was an entertaining contest that saw the momentum shift a few times. The Avs came out strong in the first period and built a 2-0 lead early in the second period. The Ducks then responded with four straight goals to make it 4-2 in their favor early in the third. The Avs would then respond with three consecutive goals including the game-winner in OT.
The Ducks played well enough to win, but penalties really hurt Anaheim down the stretch of this game as the Avs scored their last three goals with them man advantage. Anaheim was shorthanded eight times, yes eight times, in this contest. The Ducks need to play more discipline hockey.
Drew Helleson looked solid in his NHL debut. He had two shots on goal and one hit. He didn’t look out of place and hopefully can be a main stay for Anaheim.
Zegras is the first player to record 40 assists since Ryan Getzlaf had 50 in the 2017-18 season.
Cam Fowler has played 66:10 of game time in the last two contests.
The Ducks are third in terms of draft position. They have two more points that Columbus and Chicago, who both have three games left to play. Anaheim has two games left in the season.
The Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday at 7 PM.
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April 10th, 2023