The Anaheim Ducks are beginning to become something of a curiosity. They were not projected to do too much this season, yet they rolled into Colorado on Wednesday Feb 6, and beat the Avalanche 3-0 for their fourth straight win. The Ducks now lead the Pacific division, and are second place overall in the Western Conference.
The game - Despite how the Avalanche may be playing at any given point, it is always tough to play in the mile-high air of Denver. The Ducks seemed to have plenty of jump as this game began. Rookie forward Emerson Etem had earned a few shifts with the top line in the latter part of Monday night's win over San Jose. Coach Bruce Boudreau must have liked what he saw, because this game, the 20 year old Long Beach, CA native played the whole game with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on the Ducks top line.
The first period was fairly evenly played, but the difference was the play of Ducks' rookie goalie Viktor Fasth. He stopped all 10 Avalanche shots. On the other side, Semyon Varlamov was not particularly sharp to start the game. He allowed the Ducks to score on a Sheldon Souray slapshot from the blueline at 6:20, which beat him between the pads. Varlamov did not appear to be screened, he just did not close the pads quick enough. The Avs netminder did seem to settle in after that, but then he was the victim of an unfortunate play in the crease. With Anaheim on a 5 on 3 power play, Teemu Selanne carried the puck down the right wing boards in the Colorado zone. He spotted Saku Koivu in the slot, and attempted to pass the puck to his waiting teammate. Greg Zanon was defending the play, and when the pass came across, the Avs defenseman tried to intercept it. Instead, he was not able to cleanly control the puck, and as he reached back to regain control, he inadvertently pushed the puck right onto the waiting stick of Koivu, who scored from point blank range at 15:39. Shots on goal at the end of the period favored the Avs, 10-8. Ducks led, 2-0.
The home team came out with a renewed energy in the second period, and virtually owned the first five mins. Continued strong play from Fasth, kept the Avs off the scoreboard. The Ducks then took advantage of a break midway through the period. Saku Koivu absorbed a big hit just outside the blueline, but was able to get the puck to Daniel Winnick. Winnick found Francois Beauchemin in the high slot, and the defenseman buried the shot, at 10:45 to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead. Anaheim then closed out the period by dominating the last five mins of play. Though the visiting team put up another goal, they were again outshot, this time by a margin of 10-7.
The Avalanche again had some quality scoring chances in the third period, but again Fasth was equal to the task. It wound up being a scoreless third period. Ducks were outshot 11-5.
Final score: Ducks 3, Avs 0
Shots on goal: Avs 31, Ducks 20
Power Play: Ducks 1-2, Avs 0-1
Game winning goal: Sheldon Souray
3 Stars of the game:
#1- Koivu (Ducks)
#2 - Fasth (Ducks)
#3 - Souray (Ducks)
Sheldon Souray now has 4 goals, and got his second straight game winning goal.
The hustle of Andrew Cogliano is affecting other teams. He has now drawn four obstruction penalties in the past 2 games.
Cam Fowler missed his second straight game with an "upper body injury".
Ducks record is now 7-1-1
Ducks line combinations:
Ducks defense pairings:
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