In tonight’s game, the Ducks played against the Edmonton Oilers for the first time this season. After such a hard fought game last night against the Los Angeles Kings, the Ducks had to get right back on the ice in consecutive nights.
Before the game coach Bruce Boudreau prefaced that there would be a change on the defensive side of the puck. The change was that Sheldon Souray was scratched and that Toni Lydman and Luca Sbisa were on the starting line.
After playing multiple nights in a row, the Ducks came out flat at the start of the first period. Not only were they getting beat on face-offs but the Oilers were taking multiple shots on goal during a possession. At the ten minute mark in the first period, the Oilers outshot the Ducks 9-0.
“In the first ten minutes, they had three open nets that they missed,” Boudreau said about the first period.
Even though the Ducks were getting outplayed for part of the first period, they sharpened their game up and controlled the puck better. Not only was the puck control better but the Ducks were also staying out of the penalty box limiting the number of strong opportunities the Oilers had. During this season the Ducks are ranked ninth in the league in total penalty minutes and average 11.9 penalty minutes per game according to ESPN.
With eight minutes left in the first period, Ben Lovejoy took a slap shot that was saved by Devan Dubnyk but the puck had a big rebound. Radek Dvorak got the rebound with an open net and backhanded it in.
Dvorak about his goal, “We were putting pucks on net and Dubnyk was leaving nice big rebounds. I was just in the right spot at the right time.”
Before the start of the season, Dvorak was still not signed to any team and no one was willing to take a chance on the 36 year old. “Rick and Bob did a great job finding this guy at the last moment. He brings a wealth of experience and he can still skate,” said Bruce Boudreau.
When the first period came to a close, the Oilers were leading the Ducks in all major statistics but the Ducks were leading in the score 1-0. Going into the second period, the Ducks were on the power play thanks to a roughing penalty on Ladislav Smid.
During the second period, the Ducks had many opportunities to puck another goal on the board but failed to do so. The Oilers were very aggressive in the first period but in the second period they played on their heels. They only had three shots on goal compared to the Ducks 13 in the period. Also the Oilers had six minutes in the penalties, which put them on the defensive
Boudreau on the failure of the power play, “We are getting the chances and they are not going in and that’s all you can ask for.”
Going into the third period, the Ducks had a one goal lead and Jonas Hiller was stopping every shot that came near the net. Hiller and the defense were blocking multiple shots and laying hits to knock the puck loose.
Only a minute and 12 seconds into the period though the Oilers tied the game on a goal by Nick Schultz. Schultz took the puck off the boards and slapped it past Hillers right shoulder. Hiller missed played the puck and didn’t get his body in front of it.
The score being 1-1 after the goal, the Ducks needed to continue throwing more shots on goal and hoping for second opportunities. With a takeaway by Saku Koivu in the Oilers zone, this set up a shot on goal from Daniel Winnik which was saved by Dubnyk. Again there was a rebound and Dvorak was at the right place at the right time for the goal. This was his second goal of the night and third in five games. This proved to be the game winner for the Ducks.
Even with a relentless last gasp for the Oilers, they could not put the puck past Hiller. Edmonton pulled Dubnyk with a minute left and even with the extra man the defense stopped any chances the Oilers had.
This win brought the Ducks one step closer to clinching a playoff spot. A win on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche would ensure the Ducks a playoff berth.