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The Anaheim Ducks suffered a road loss against the Vancouver Canucks tonight, falling 8-5.
The game opened with a fight about three minutes in, with Nathan Beaulieu and Dakota Joshua dropping the gloves. While Anaheim looked alright in the first few minutes, Vancouver ended up taking over much of the frame. The Ducks ended up with a late power play though and Troy Terry capitalized, taking a pass from John Klingberg after an entry to walk in and beat Spencer Martin. However, Vancouver evened the game with a power play of their own late in the frame, as Bo Horvat tipped in a point shot from Quinn Hughes with under 20 seconds to go in the opening period.
It was a pretty slow start to the second frame without much action early, but Vancovuer capitalized midway through the period, with Tanner Pearson fending off opponents in front to beat Gibson in-close with a short-side shot. Then four minutes later, Bo Horvat found J.T. Miller in front with a nice pass, as Miller scored on the open net to double Vancouver’s lead. The Ducks did get one back before the end of the frame though, as Trevor Zegras found Ryan Strome who beat Spencer Martin before he could get set, cutting the lead to one through 40 minutes.
We then saw a wildly high-scoring third period, which opened with Vancouver completely outplaying the Ducks early on. Dakota Joshua managed to get back Vancouver's two-goal lead, winning a battle along the boards, before heading to the net and burying the loose puck. The Ducks then challenged for goalie interference, lost the challenge, ended up with a penalty, and Andrei Kuzmenko scored on the ensuing power play, quickly making it a 5-2 game.
However, Max Comtois got one back for Anaheim soon after, cutting to the net on a partial breakaway and backhanding the puck over Martin. Then a little later, Trevor Zegras found a lane on a power play to score, cutting the lead to one. However, Vancouver shut down any potential comeback right after, with Kuzmenko tipping Tyler Myers’ point shot through Gibson for his second goal of the period. Then only two minutes later, Kuzmenko completed the hat trick, taking a pass from Elias Pettersson and beating Gibson for another three-goal lead. Max Jones did get one back for Anaheim after that but Bo Horvat buried an empty net goal late, leading to an 8-5 loss for the Ducks.
It was a rough one for the Ducks, being outshot 46-31 in the loss. They were outplayed through most of the night and gave up chance after chance in the third period.
It also marked another game where a goalie interference challenge didn’t go Anaheim's way though and it made a major impact on the game. Vancouver was able to take a three-goal lead on the power play after the challenge, rather than it being a one-goal game if the call was overturned.
A positive I’d draw from the game was that the Ducks didn’t quit and tried to battle back in the third period. The team is also scoring a lot more, with 15 goals over their last three games, which is great to see. While the Ducks aren’t necessarily a good team, they’ve been a lot more fun to watch over the past few outings.
Mason McTavish was also playing down the middle, which is a nice development. Playing him lower in the lineup at center rather than higher in the lineup on the wing should help him develop in his natural position while getting the benefit of a more sheltered role.
Obviously, the Ducks continue to to be pretty terrible defensively, allowing far too many quality chances on a nightly basis. It’s tough to tell how to feel about Gibson’s performance so far as well. He’s facing a ton of chances and is probably making a highlight reel save per game at this point, but is also allowing stoppable goals pretty consistently.
Anaheim now falls to 3-7-1 with the loss – they’ll be back in action on Saturday, when they face the San Jose Sharks once again.
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