Ducks’ Vets, Rookies Come Up Big

The Anaheim Ducks held their annual Military Appreciation night on Friday, since it was, after all, Veteran’s Day. Prior to the start of the game, they had four soldiers repel down from the rafters with Wild Wing, the Ducks mascot, who frequently makes that entrance.  They also honored many members of the different military branches throughout the night, including giving brand new homes to three men who had been injured in combat.

The Ducks’ opponent for the evening was the Vancouver Canucks, who came into the game with a two-game win streak, including a 3-2 victory over the Ducks’ cross-town rival, the Los Angeles Kings, the night before. On the other hand, the Ducks had been struggling to snap a six-game losing streak, with two of the losses coming in extra time.

In an effort to turn their performance around, the Ducks, players and coaches, held a meeting to discuss their recent on-ice troubles and how they could possibly get back in the win column.

Coach Randy Carlyle mentioned, “We asked them to demonstrate more will in the hockey game because we felt that we haven’t demonstrated to the level that this group is capable of. We felt that there was more that they could give and we were finding ways to self-destruct.”

The Ducks came out strong in the first, but despite numerous chances for both teams, the first period ended scoreless.

However, a mere twenty-five seconds into the second period, Saku Koivu, a veteran NHLer and seasoned Duck, scored only his second goal of the season, putting the puck into the net of Roberto Luongo and giving the Ducks their first lead in four games, since going up 1-0 in the first period against the New York Rangers on November 3rd.

At 11:04 in the period, Aaron Rome elbowed Ducks rookie Devante Smith-Pelly in the nose, causing him to bleed profusely onto the ice. Rome was given both a ten-minute game misconduct and a five-minute major for elbowing.  This gave the Ducks five minutes to score as many goals with the man advantage as they possibly could and it served them well.

At 12:45, Andrew Cogliano, who the Ducks acquired from the Edmonton Oilers this past summer, received a spot-on pass from Bobby Ryan and netted it, giving the Ducks a two-goal lead and a couple minutes later, Corey Perry, the reigning NHL MVP, added yet another power play goal to the tally, getting assists from linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne.

Looking at the bright side, Smith-Pelly claimed, “It got us two goals. Anything you can do to help, I guess.”

Another couple minutes after the Perry goal, at 17:22, despite the expiration of the power play, Ducks rookie Peter Holland, playing in only his third NHL game, scored his first NHL goal, giving the Ducks a cushioned four-goal lead.

“I don’t think I could feel my legs when it went in the net,” Holland exclaimed. “It was pretty cool. I kind of decided that I want to do it again. It was pretty special and something I’ll never forget. To score it on Luongo, one of the best goalies in the league, that adds to it as well.”

Vancouver was able to muster up three goals in the third period, two from Jannik Hansen and one from Kevin Bieksa, but was unable to complete the comeback and the Ducks came away with a 4-3 victory.

“We had to get the monkey off our back,” Carlyle declared. “We got the two point and we’ll move forward.

The Ducks will continue their home stand on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

GAME NOTES

Bobby Ryan’s assist on the Cogliano goal was the 100th of his career… With his assist on the Perry goal, Teemu Selanne moves into sole possession of the 24th spot on the all-time points list and 46th in all-time assists.

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