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The Anaheim Ducks extended their winning streak to five games last night, opening their homestand with a 4-3 overtime win against the Arizona Coyotes.
With Ryan Strome as a late scratch due to an illness, Bo Groulx came back into action to center the third line, while Max Jones played with Leo Carlsson and Troy Terry, and Trevor Zegras moved down to play with Mason McTavish and Frank Vatrano. Lukas Dostal got the start.
Anaheim got off to a quick start, opening the scoring only about four minutes into the game on a power play, with Troy Terry firing a nice shot past Karel Vejmelka. Then only a little later just as a Ducks’ penalty was expiring, Pavel Mintyukov came down ice on a rush and hit the post on a backhand shot with a great individual effort, before Terry buried the rebound for his second goal of the game.
However, the Coyotes responded quickly, as J.J. Moser got a pass to Lawson Crouse in front of Anaheim’s net, and Crouse beat Lukas Dostal to cut the lead to one. Then only a few minutes after that, Logan Cooley got behind Jackson LaCombe and took a pass to go in on a partial break, lifting a shot over Dostal to tie the game.
The frame ended at 2-2, and while it was an entertaining period, the Coyotes were getting the better of the chances at even strength for the most part.
Anaheim had a bit of trouble staying out of the penalty box in the first half of the second period, but were able to do a pretty good job limiting chances on those Coyotes power plays. However, with only five minutes to go in the frame, Lawson Crouse managed to get to a rebound in front and beat Dostal, giving Arizona their first lead of the game. While they were only down a goal, the Ducks looked a little sluggish and lacked much of a spark at even strength through 40 minutes.
Anaheim then had a power play in the first few minutes of the third period, but really didn’t get anything going at all. However, just afterwards, the Ducks did generate some offensive zone time, where Troy Terry took a shot that redirected in off Leo Carlsson’s stick, tying the game.
The Coyotes pressed right afterwards to take back the lead, but a series of key saves from Dostal (and some luck from the post) kept the game tied. Arizona did have the momentum still through some of the third period, but that seemed to shift a bit when Frank Vatrano threw a bit hit on Sean Durzi. Anaheim pressed from there with a couple chances, but couldn’t convert, and after neither side could break the tie, the game continued to overtime.
In the extra frame, Troy Terry had a golden opportunity to secure both a hat trick and a Ducks win, but was denied by Vejmelka on a breakaway. However, Terry got another opportunity a little later, taking a great pass from Mason McTavish on a 2-on-1 and made no mistake to beat Vejmelka, giving the Ducks their third overtime win of the season.
Obviously, it’s a huge win against a team in a similar spot, and the Ducks continue to roll with their five-game win streak.
At the same time, this may have been one of weaker performances of the year. The Coyotes were generating the better chances at even strength and using their speed to create opportunities, while the Ducks often only seemed to be getting the best of their chances on power plays.
That said, I can now walk back my words from last article talking about Troy Terry’s slow start, with the winger scoring a hat trick and four points in the win. Terry had six shots on goal last night, compared to five shots over the last three games combined, and was Anaheim’s MVP last night.
Meanwhile, Mason McTavish extended his point streak to six games by setting up the overtime winner, and now has four goals and nine points over that stretch. Pavel Mintyukov is also already at seven points in the first 10 NHL games of his career, and almost single-handedly created Anaheim’s second goal of the game.
At the same time, Lukas Dostal put together another good game, winning the goaltending battle and coming up with some difficult, timely saves. Without him, the Ducks don’t win that game.
Also, while I’ve talked about the majority of Anaheim’s lineup over past articles to this point, and how impactful the young talent and offseason additions on the blue line have been, two other depth players I’d like to highlight are Brett Leason and Urho Vaakanainen.
Leason has really solidified himself at the bottom of the forward group as a high-intensity winger with a bit of scoring upside, and made a few good defensive plays last night. As members of the forward group return from injury, Leason should retain his spot in the lineup. Meanwhile, Vaakanainen has been really solid in Jamie Drysdale’s absence, and fits in comfortably as a defense-first presence on the bottom pairing. Obviously, neither is solely driving the team’s success and each is in a limited role, but both have been good complementary pieces that won’t get a ton of credit amongst bigger names.
So while it wasn’t Anaheim’s best performance, there were bright spots nonetheless, and it’s a big win to keep pushing further past the .500 mark. The Ducks will now have a break until Sunday, when they host the Vegas Golden Knights.
OTHER ARTICLES FROM NOVEMBER
- Ducks carrying momentum after perfect road trip, have opportunity in West