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The Anaheim Ducks snapped a brief two-game losing streak last night, defeating the San Jose Sharks to end their five-game homestand with a win.
Prior to the game against San Jose though, the Ducks had another pretty winnable home game against the Philadelphia Flyers, where they ended up falling 6-3 after getting behind early once again. The Ducks were trailing 3-0 early in the second period, and while Leo Carlsson did provide a bright spot with his first NHL hat trick, the goals were in vain, as the Flyers recovered to answer after each one of the goals, on route to Anaheim’s second straight loss.
For as good as Anaheim has been, they continue to fall behind in most games and have to try to catch up. Against Philadelphia though, the team didn’t look as good defensively as they have been through a lot of the year so far, with some bad mistakes resulting in goals against. Especially facing a beatable opponent at home, it was disappointing, and there was a need for a good bounce-back against San Jose.
Facing the Sharks last night, Mason McTavish opened the scoring early, tipping in a point shot from Ilya Lyubushkin, to put Anaheim ahead only five minutes into the game. Then while Luke Kunin did tie the game later on in the frame, Frank Vatrano managed to reinstate Anaheim’s lead with a great one-timer on a power play, to give the Ducks the lead through 20 minutes.
Anaheim had some chances in the period to extend the lead (despite giving up some good opportunities themselves, including a 2-on-0), but it was the third period where the Ducks broke the game open with a pair of goals in just 49 seconds, from Mason McTavish and Radko Gudas. Anaheim then did a great job limiting San Jose to just six shots in the frame, as they locked down the win.
After a pretty disappointing loss to the Flyers the game before, the win over the Sharks was key to ending the homestand on a positive note. We saw a pretty dominant performance, with the Ducks outshooting San Jose 44-26, and while it did take until the third period (once again) for Anaheim to really secure the win, it was a nice bounce-back.
All members of the second line continue to be difference-makers for Anaheim, with each of of Mason McTavish, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Strome producing at above a point-per-game rate. Just McTavish and Vatrano alone have 18 goals combined this season.
To illustrate how important third period scoring has become for this team though: this season, Anaheim has 12 first period goals, six second period goals, and 23 third period goals. It makes for some exciting games, but it would still be great to see the Ducks able to really build some leads early on.
With Trevor Zegras out, the Ducks had Alex Killorn up on the top line, while Max Jones came back into action on the third line. Zegras has since been placed on injured reserve after missing the last two games, but hopefully, it’s not something that will keep him out overly long.
That said, the Killorn-Carlsson-Terry line is an interesting mix. While it may have less pure offensive skill without Zegras, Killorn is an extremely hard worker and while on the ice together over the last two games, the line outshot their opponents 13-7, according to NaturalStatTrick.com. It probably won’t be something long-term, but the Ducks are likely still deciding how exactly they’re going to use Killorn.
With the 8-6-0 record, the Ducks rank eighth in the Western Conference in points percentage. They’ll kickstart a road back-to-back tomorrow against the Nashville Predators, before facing the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Ducks carrying momentum after perfect road trip, have opportunity in West
- Ducks win fifth straight with overtime victory against Coyotes
- Ducks hand Vegas their first regulation loss, win streak now at six games
- Ducks’ six-game winning streak ends in shutout loss to Penguins
- The Anaheim Ducks have entered a new era