When a monkey wearing a diaper drops the ceremonial first puck of a hockey game, you know you’re in for a show. The Anaheim Ducks celebrated Anaheim Angels night with just such an occurrence, and the little dude threw the puck right down flat on the ice between the waiting centers, including Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks, whose Angles-uniform bobble head was the night’s giveaway. It was a moment that was supposed to happen on Thursday, but for the game being postponed to Sunday evening. The Rally Monkey is the Anaheim Angels’ good-luck charm, in case you don’t follow MLB.
The game itself featured what was being called a “jersey flip,” or “sweater switch,” with the home team wearing white (as it used to be, and many feel it should be still). The Detroit Red Wings were the visiting team.
They didn’t play like visitors, nor like they were out of clothes despite their road trip extending a couple of days due to the aforementioned Covid postponement. Near the start of the game, Moritz Seider hit Troy Terry hard. Seider is the Wings’ icetime leader now, including notching power play time. He was on for nearly 25 minutes on Sunday, trailing only Robby Fabbri and Filip Hronek. The Wings were settled in early, perhaps hoping to avenge a loss the night before up in LA, a 4-0 game in which they were never close.
But the Ducks were also feeling frisky. Shortly after the hit on Terry, Nick Deslauriers whacked Gustav Lindstrom. This eventuated in fisticuffs and lots of penalty minutes for combatants Deslauriers (five for fighting) and Givani Smith (17 including an instigator and a misconduct). That power play led to the Ducks’ first goal.
For the Ducks, the goaltending was done by someone brand new. Lucas Dostal debuted in the NHL from Czech roots and made 33 saves to get the eventual win. He said afterwards that he had cried due to the incredible pressure he felt in trying to secure the win for his teammates. He allowed nothing by him in the shootout. During playing time, he didn’t face any early shots, but stopped a bit of a deluge late in the first period to get settled in.
”I didn’t feel nervous, to be honest,” Dostal said after the game. ”I felt so excited. I just went through and enjoyed the moment because it’s huge. You’re dreaming about it as a kid. It’s unreal. I’m so blessed.”
The Ducks opened the scoring early in period one. Trevor Zegras got the first one, the only goal of the period. The Wings put two past Dostal in period two, but Terry tied the game late in the middle period. Max Comtois got one to put the Ducks up 3-2 in the early third period, but the Wings tied the game, which went to overtime and a shootout.
Terry’s goal was a funny one that went in to the center bar behind the goalie and out again, with play continuing. He briefly reacted, then played on as there was no whistle. The horn sounded some time later with play still going on, a goal was awarded, and the clock was reset to just under two minutes to go in the period. This was Terry’s 22ndgoal of the year.
The Ducks took three shots in the shootout, the second one going in and the third, with Detroit not having scored on either of their first two. The winner came off the stick of Rakell, who swung wide right and put the puck back across the netmouth high into the far corner.
For the Wings, the top line was Raymond, Bertuzzi, and Larkin, but the latter was hurt in the first period and did not return. The team expects to know more as Monday goes on about his condition. His injury was listed as upper body.
As was noted, it was young players’ night for Anaheim. Terry, Zegras, and Max Comtois starred, Zegras notching a goal and an assist in the eventual 4-3 shootout win. Rakell, the shootout winner, also recorded to assists on the evening. Getzlaf got an assist to cap his bobblehead/monkey faceoff evening. He was playing his first game since returning from Covid Protocol.
Cam Fowler played an NHL career-high 35:11 and recorded one assist.
Anaheim forward Brayden Tracey made his NHL debut, recording one shot on goal in 9:21 of playing time.
The Ducks take on Pittsburgh at home on Tuesday. They then play back-to-back on the road against Minnesota and then Chicago on Friday and Saturday.
For Comtois, the goal was his first of the year, in 18 games. He had 16 in 55 games last year to lead the team.
The Ducks have a special Lunar New Year promotion going for January 22nd.