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The Anaheim Ducks lost the second game of their homestand last night, falling 4-1 to the Minnesota Wild.
Pavol Regenda was back in Anaheim’s lineup after being recalled from the AHL, as Adam Henrique had a baby on the way. Anaheim was also facing off against a former member of the team in Sam Steel, who signed with Minnesota this offseason.
The Ducks came out with a good first few minutes, but Minnesota started to generate some good chances soon after. John Gibson had to be sharp, stopping a breakaway for Kirill Kaprizov and some other opportunities, to keep the game scoreless through 20 minutes.
In the second period, Trevor Zegras scored an excellent lacrosse-style goal to open the scoring but it was called back due to an offside. Things got chippy after that, with Nathan Beaulieu fighting Connor Dewar and then a big scrum breaking out a little later. The Ducks did manage to open the scoring later in the period, as Frank Vatrano got the puck to Pavol Regenda on a rush, whose shot deflected off Calen Addison and past Filip Gustavsson for his first NHL goal. The lead was short-lived though, with Kirill Kaprizov deflecting in a pass from Matthew Boldy on a power play only a few minutes later to tie it before the second intermission.
Things fell apart for the Ducks in the third period though, beginning with Matt Dumba burying a puck alone in front to put Minnesota ahead. Anaheim got into a ton of penalty trouble right after that and Minnesota capitalized on an ensuing power play, with Kaprizov beating Gibson on a wraparound before he could even get over in time, extending the lead. Things didn’t get any better, as later in the frame, Gibson went behind the net to play the puck to Dmitry Kulikov, but Kulikov put a bad pass off the boards that bounced back off the net and out in front to Joseph Cramarossa, who beat Gibson before he could get back and set. Minnesota hung on from there, as the Ducks fell 4-1.
It was a pretty close game right up until the third period, where the Ducks were then completely outplayed. Anaheim took too many penalties and while they may have given up 16 shots in the final frame, the number of quality chances against was the bigger issue.
For the Zegras goal being called off: I can understand offside reviews being important in delivering fair and accurate calls, but they’re continuing to hurt the game more than help it. The Zegras goal is the kind of excitement you want to see in the sport, and it’s frustrating to see it called off like that. The rule is flawed when a team can sustain zone time and score long after their entry, but the goal gets called off because of that zone entry, which provided next to no advantage on that goal actually being scored.
Kevin Shattenkirk and Nathan Beaulieu also left the game with an injuries. We'll have to see what the update is and what this could mean for the defense group.
On a more positive, Pavol Regenda had a goal in his first game back up with the Ducks. It was questionable to send him down in the first place and go with seven defense instead for a stretch, so this was a welcome move.
Anaheim’s next game will come on Saturday, when they play the third game of their homestand against the Chicago Blackhawks.
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