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The Anaheim Ducks fell short against Florida Panthers to open their four-game homestand last night, losing 2-1.
The game marked Rakdo Gudas’ first matchup against his former team, while at the other end, ex-Duck Anthony Stolarz got the start.
We saw a relatively even first stretch of the opening period to start the game, as John Gibson had to make a few good saves early, before the Ducks started generating shots throughout the frame. However, in the back half of the frame, Eetu Luostarinen managed to take a pass from Anton Lundell to beat Gibson, opening the scoring. Then after almost the entire final few minutes of the period were spent in Anaheim’s end following the goal, Oliver Ekman-Larsson took a pass to beat Gibson, extending the lead to 2-0.
Ryan Strome did have a breakaway opportunity to get Anaheim on the board early in the second period, but was denied not once, but twice on good saves from Stolarz. The Panthers really controlled a lot of the second frame from there though, with Anaheim being badly outshot, and while Adam Henrique had a great chance on another breakaway for the Ducks later, this time shorthanded, Stolarz came up big again.
Anaheim did have a power play opportunity afterwards but couldn’t get much going, and went on to be outplayed through a lot of the frame, remaining down by two through 40 minutes.
However, with another power play opportunity midway through the third period, Frank Vatrano managed to bury a rebound after a couple good chances for the Ducks, to pull the game back to within one. Then only minutes later, Jakob Silfverberg took a puck around the net, and after a stop by Stolarz, the play was reviewed to see if the puck crossed the line. While it seemed like there was a clear overhead shot of the puck fully across the goal line on its edge, it was called no-goal, and the Ducks remained down.
Anaheim did continue to press from there and put together a very good end of the third period while trying to tie it, but came up short and fell 2-1.
I don’t often comment much on officiating or reviews because more than anything, it’s out of a team’s control. The calls will be what they’ll be, and a team just needs to play their game regardless, because we know there are going to be inconsistencies. But how that wraparound was determined to have not crossed the line is really hard to comprehend.
It ended up making the difference in the game, and all evidence points to that being a goal.
Looking at the game as a whole though, once again, the Ducks waited until the third period to start playing. They were outshot 29-19 through the first 40 minutes, before outshooting Florida 16-6 in the third period.
If the Ducks were able to play the first half of their games with the same urgency they usually play in the back half, they’d be a pretty dangerous team.
On a side note though, Anthony Stolarz played great at the other end for the Panthers. He wasn’t going to have a spot in Anaheim with John Gibson and Lukas Dostal in the mix, but it’s good to see him having success elsewhere.
Regardless, there are positives to draw from the game, with how well the Ducks played in the third period, yet again. They’ve got three more games on their homestand, with their next game coming tomorrow against the St. Louis Blues.
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- The Anaheim Ducks have entered a new era
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