Goal Box

CAM FOWLER, DUCKS — BEST IN CLASS (SCREEN)

2017-05-24T11:17:20+00:00 May 24th, 2017|Goal Box|

CAM FOWLER, Ducks
BEST IN CLASS — SCREEN

The Ducks went down, but they went down valiantly.

If ever a team played a perfect game while still losing, it was Anaheim last night at Bridgestone Arena. With the Predators home crowd in full Rocky Horror midnight-showing mode, Anaheim thoroughly dominated Nashville in each zone and on the shot clock, but not, of course, on the scoreboard.

The 6-3 final score was inflated once again by the spate of empty-net goals which continue to throw scoring columns out of whack. Not counting the two empty-netters, the Ducks outshot the Predators, 41-16. They killed a five-minute penalty off in the first period without allowing a shot on goal with a gun to their head, having already fallen behind, 2-0. And they overcame a 3-1 third period deficit in this most hostile environment before allowing the game-winner to Colton Sissons following a power play of their own.

In fact it was this power play which seemed to throw Anaheim out of its rhythm. Even after Cam Fowler tied the game with 11 minutes left on the third period clock, the Ducks continued to roll through the neutral zone time after time, like waves cresting at the blue line before pounding their way to the front of the Nashville net. But once the Ducks tied the score it was almost as if they took a moment to reflect on their achievement rather than pressing with the same urgency that put the Predators on their heels the entire game.

The letdown led to a blown coverage in their own end, allowing Sissons (more…)

RICKARD RAKELL, DUCKS — BEST IN CLASS (FINAL MINUTE)

2017-05-06T21:13:02+00:00 May 6th, 2017|Goal Box|

RICKARD RAKELL, Ducks
BEST IN CLASS — FINAL MINUTE

There are countless remarkable things to comment on from the Ducks miraculous comeback win against Edmonton last night.

In a spring where 2-goal leads regularly turn to dust, Anaheim raised the bar to 3-goal deficits with under 3 and a half minutes left in the third period. What’s more, all three goals came with their goaltender John Gibson pulled for an extra skater.

It was a 10:45 start on the east coast. The Oilers scored three goals in the first 12 and a half minutes of the second period and maintained that 3-0 lead through the first 16 minutes of the third period. And this is why play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert hit the perfect note when Rickard Rakell tied the game with 15 seconds left by exclaiming, with both incredulity and irony, “Are you watching this!?!”

The Ducks did not get to that point with any sense of inevitability. Before finally breaking though on Cam Talbot, they were turned aside 18 times by the Oiler goaltender in the third period. But they saved their best for last, and cashed in three of their final four shots on goal in the frantic closing minutes.

The first two Anaheim goals came on bombs — Ryan Getzlaf from the left point and Cam Fowler from the very top of the high slot. But Rakell’s goal was pure bodies-strewn-everywhere madness.

Fowler retrieved a puck that was skittering its way out of the zone and spun around while launching a despearation heave at the Edmonton net with 21 ticks remaining on the clock. Like the other goals, this one made it on goal through traffic, but Talbot was able to block it with his pads. Corey Perry was first on the rebound, but in too tight to do anything other than pound it off Talbot’s pads again.

By now, five of the six Oilers, including Talbot, were rimming the crease — and only two remained upright. The puck was consequently (more…)

RYAN GETZLAF, DUCKS — A MESSIER-ANIC COMPLEX?

2017-05-06T21:30:53+00:00 May 4th, 2017|Goal Box|

RYAN GETZLAF, Ducks
A MESSIER-ANIC COMPLEX?

Ryan Getzlaf might not have guaranteed a win in the Orange County newspapers against the Oilers last night, but much else about his performance reprised Mark Messier’s famous Game 6 against New Jersey in the 1994 semifinals.

First there’s the obvious physical similarities. Getzlaf has a regal bearing to him and like Messier wears his hair elsewhere than on his head. His upright skating posture and silky presence on the ice belie the fact that he has the heart of a lion. He exudes the Divine Right of Kings. (Before jumping down my back, Anaheim fans — would you prefer that he exuded the Divine Right of Ducks?)

Cosmetic comparisons aside, the stamp Getzlaf put on last night’s critical Game 4 in Edmonton also bore a striking resemblance to Messier’s singlehanded dismantling of the Devils 23 years ago.

With New York one game away from heartbreaking elimination in a year they were finally expected to win the Cup, Messier promised a win to the city and went out and collected a hat trick in a 4-2 win in New Jersey. The Rangers, of course, would advance, and indeed win the Cup.

Getzlaf has never played for another NHL team. His career goal total is relatively modest (236 in 861 regular season games), but he’s a plus / minus demon at +145 and only once has dipped into negative territory in his 12 years in the league. In the playoffs he averages a point per game — above his regular season numbers.

Last night, a la Messier, he had a hand in all four Ducks goals during their spine-tingling 4-3 overtime win. Two goals and two assists. And unlike Messier — no empty netter to pad the legend.

His glorious set-up of Jakob Silfverberg’s one-timer for the game-winner 45 seconds into OT topped an incredibly clutch performance all evening.

Anaheim got in an early 2-0 hole and looked dead in the water when Getzlaf snapped one home from just above the left circle early in the second period. Three and a half minutes later he spotted Rickard Rakell unattended below the right circle and got him a cross-crease pass that Rakell buried to tie the game.

But it was his third point of the night — the goal which put the Ducks up 3-2 in the third period — which had that little mystical touch that will be long remembered if Anaheim survives the series.

Following a rebound that caromed into the low slot in front of Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was preparing to clear the puck when Getzlaf’s stick came crashing down on his from around his backside. The force of Getzlaf’s chop was enough to (more…)

RICKARD RAKELL, DUCKS — BEST IN CLASS (1-on-2)

2017-05-06T21:37:48+00:00 March 23rd, 2017|Goal Box|

RICKARD RAKELL, Ducks
BEST IN CLASS — 1-on-2

Entering last night’s game, the Ducks and Oilers were dead even in points and games played in the ultra-competitive Pacific Division. Their game on the ice was nearly as tight in the third period, when Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell freed himself from a blanket of Oilers players and gave the Ducks a two-goal lead that would hold up in the end.

Rakell received a pass at the Oilers blue line with a 3-on-2 building for Anaheim with each team down a man in the penalty box. The Edmonton defense pair were in good shape to prevent a rush at the net, so Rakell pulled up just before reaching the top of the left circle. He drifted into the center of a diamond of Oiler defenders and made his way to the slot. After trying to feed a streaking teammate, the puck caromed off a Duck skate back on to his stick.

But a broken play is catnip to the elusive Rakell. He took control of the puck again in the high slot on his forehand, seemingly smothered by two Oilers. When he moved the puck to his backhand, the two Edmonton players overskated him. But he was a little far out to let loose with a backhander at the net, so he shifted the puck once more to his forehand, thoroughly discombobulating the defenseman, who had by now adjusted to Rakell’s backhand.

Now, with a clear shooting lane, Rakell lifted the puck over goaltender Cam Talbot from between the hashmarks. It rang off the post, but continued to the back of the net.

And appropriate for this frantic Pacific race, just as the puck went in by the slimmest of margins, so too Anaheim would win, 4-3.

3/22/2017 vs. Edmonton

COREY PERRY, ANAHEIM — 10, 9, 8 . . . GOAL!

2017-02-13T16:42:26+00:00 February 11th, 2017|Exclude From Main Feed, Goal Box|

COREY PERRY, Ducks
10, 9, 8 . . . GOAL!
  • Wrist Shot
  • Slot
  • Unassisted
  • Screen
  • Final Minute
  • First Period
In spite of an uncharacteristically low goal count from Corey Perry this year, the Ducks find themselves in their accustomed spot near the top of the Pacific Division.

Perry, who has a 50-goal season under his belt in 2010-11 and 110 goals over the previous three seasons, has scored just 11 times this season while not missing a game. But, as you’ll see here, his vaunted confidence has hardly been dented. And, in truth, he’s having a very fine season as a playmaker. His 28 assists represent his fifth best total since coming into the league in 2005 — and there’s still 26 games left.

With time running down in the first period against Buffalo, however, Perry determined he was the Ducks best option.

Perry took possession of the puck in the far right corner of the Sabres zone, and he wouldn’t relinquish it until seven seconds later it was in the Buffalo net.

His journey took him all the way behind the end line to the opposite corner, encountering token resistance along the way. Then with six seconds remaining in the period, Perry sliced through the left circle, with two Sabres failing to strip him of the puck. And then a neat little bubble opened on the ice.

Nobody was within 10 feet of the Anaheim right winger as he cruised to the top of the left circle with 4 seconds remaining on the clock. Just as he finally felt some pressure as he entered the high slot, he whipped a hard wrist shot under a leaping Ryan Getzlaf and between the pads of Buffalo goaltender Robin Lehner.

Perry’s tour of the Sabres end of the ice resulted in the only goal of the first period and sparked the Ducks to a 5-2 win in Buffalo.

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2/9/2017 vs. Buffalo.
Highlight available at NHL.com.

BRANDON MONTOUR — FIRST NHL GOAL

2017-02-13T16:42:29+00:00 January 17th, 2017|Exclude From Main Feed, Goal Box|

BRANDON MONTOUR, Ducks
FIRST NHL GOAL
  • Slap Shot
  • One-Timer
  • Right Circle (Upper, Outside Dot)
  • Screen
  • First Period
Nice when your first career goal comes much as you might have imagined it.

Of course it has to be a slap shot. And a one-timer would be nice. Shall we beat the goaltender in the most difficult spot possible? Sure, why not. Put me down for one 7-hole. And why don’t we also put our team ahead in the game while we’re at it.

Should Brandon Montour of the Ducks have wished for any of this, he would have gotten all of it. And in just his sixth NHL game — certainly far ahead of schedule for a defenseman.

Teammate Jakob Silfverberg made it all possible for Montour by floating a soft pass out from below the end line to a streaking Montour, who showed no reticence in blasting a slap shot from the middle of the right circle, even with three bodies standing directly between he and Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop. The shot navigated that narrow channel before whizzing between the arm and side of Bishop to give Anaheim a 1-0 first period lead.

Montour celebrated with high animation, circling behind the net on one skate while fist-pumping and then crashing the back boards, mouth wide open and whooping it up.

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2/4/2017 vs. Tampa Bay.
Highlight available at NHL.com.