Anaheim With an Explosive First Against Vancouver

Bri Repetto

Anaheim With a Strong First Period:

It was apparent that captain Troy Terry didn’t want to waste any time establishing a lead for the Anaheim Ducks. Taking the path in front of the net, he got his stick on the shot by teammate, Hampus Lindholm, to deflect the puck right over Vancouver goaltender, Thatcher Demko, establishing a 1-0 lead 57 seconds into the game.

Photo Credit: Anaheim Ducks Instagram

Following suit, Anaheim left wing, Nicolas Deslauriers, gave the Ducks a two-goal lead just under four minutes into the game with another deflection that went over the right pad of Demko. The Ducks didn’t stop there though as Rickard Rakell made it 3-0 to finish off the first.

Anaheim’s ability to get on the boards wasn’t just their main achievement. They played a tight defensive game that reflected back on the stats sheets as the Canucks were only allowed two shots on goal the entire the period. Match that to the fact the Ducks not only got eight shots but scored on three of those.

“I thought all four of our lines did a very very good job, I thought our D were good. Gibby [John Gibson] was good when he needed to be.” Stated Coach Dallas Eakins in his post-game interview with the Anaheim Ducks.

Anaheim moved into the second and got two more by Demko before he was pulled for Jaroslav Halak; at that point the Ducks went 5-0 unanswered.

Hope Not Lost for Vancouver:

Once Halak got into net, it seemed to change things around for the Canucks in the second. Tanner Pearson was the first to get one across the blue line and then Elias Pettersson made it 5-2 about eleven minutes later.

This was the period where Vancouver started to get more pucks to the net and gained more chances for scoring opportunities. After all they did manage to finish off the second 18-11, so at least nine shots were better than their two in the first.

Penalties were not their friend in this game, however. They took five too many which caused two power play goals for Anaheim.

J.T. Miller’s penalty in the first was not an ideal one to take at all and should been avoided. Miller was called for slashing on defenseman Jamie Drysdale who actually got the assist on said power play goal that pushed the Ducks up 3-0. Having finished off the game at 7-4, if Vancouver could have reduced their amount of time in the box, number one that would’ve taken away two power play goals and two they would have had more time at full strength to get pucks in front of the net themselves.

Clearly tonight’s game was Anaheim’s to take, but in future matchups Vancouver has the potential to take home the win themselves. They need to focus on staying out of the box, tightening up their defense, and just making the most out of their chances in front of the net.

First Star of the Game Zegras:

Everyone has heard of Trevor Zegras. To some he is the face of the NHL right now, and rightful so. The 20-year-old has been making moves and creating plays that the like of which has never seen. Flash back to his assist on the goal with Sonny Milano where he flipped the puck over the net for Milano to bat in. The man may be considered a “rookie,” but he definitely plays like a vet.

Zegras and Milano Pull Off the Incredible:

Tonight against Vancouver, he put up three points on three assists. For a time, he was considered to have scored the sixth goal for Anaheim, but after the game it was reviewed and went to Adam Henrique. Nonetheless, his presence is certainly felt out there on the ice, and it is apparent that he is putting in the effort to help his team succeed.

Photo Credit: Anaheim Ducks Twitter

During the penalty on Quinn Hughes in the second, Zegras was right in front of the net getting shots off. One went off a player’s skate and another almost went in, as Demko looked behind him thinking the same thing.

That being said, there’s a lot to watch out for when it comes to him and his style of play. I’d say to give him a few more years to become a household name, but the way I’ve heard his name been floating around lately, I’d say he already is.

Big Change from Last Season For Anaheim:

Coach Eakins and lot of the players talked about the comparison from this time last year to now. Last season, they didn’t have much or any chance to make the playoffs and were basically playing off their regular season. This season, the story is completely different.

Every game they win is one closer to a playoff spot for the Ducks and they are certainly fighting for the opportunity.

Nic Deslauriers stated, “Every game is a must win, this one especially.” Then Coach Eakins said, “At this time last year, it wasn’t fun we were out of it, and we were dying to be able to play for something.”

Currently sitting in the third wild card spot, Anaheim is three points away from Nashville who hold the first spot and two points from Los Angeles at number two. Looking ahead in the schedule, they face off against San Jose, who they have yet to play against so far this season. Then after that, the Ducks face the Kings who they narrowly beat in a shootout back on Nov. 30.

It will be interesting to see how they face against these two teams, but also how they are able to finish off their regular season. There is still quite some time left for the Ducks as their last game is scheduled for April 29, but despite this, landing a playoff spot would be monumental for the organization as they haven’t been in since 2018.

Follow on Twitter: @RepettoBri

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