Category Archives: Ducks

Kings Draft Vilardi & Ducks Re-Sign Eaves

June 23, 2017

The Kings took steps toward helping their offensive woes on Friday by drafting Gabe Vilardi with the #11 pick in the NHL Draft.

Vilardi is a 6’3, 203 LB center from Kingston, Canada.  Last season he scored 29 goals and 61 points in 49 games for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.

The 17-year-old was rated as high as the fourth best player in the draft according to some publications, but fell out of the top 10 due to some of his perceived skating deficiencies.  However, the Kings were impressed with Vilardi’s big game abilities.  He impressed them with seven assists in Windsor’s four-game victory over Erie in the Memorial Cup final.

“We found that on the biggest stage, he took it to another level,” Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa said of Vilardi. “We were looking to upgrade our skill, and it’s a package of a big kid with just incredible skill set and he’s a winner.”

Vilardi will attend the Kings development came in El Segundo next week.  Although he will likely not be a part of the Kings roster this upcoming season, some are projecting him to be a part of the Kings team by the 2018-2019 season.

Meanwhile, the Ducks did not have a 1st round pick in Friday’s 1st round.  However, they re-signed winger Patrick Eaves, who they acquired from the Dallas Stars for what turned into this year’s first round pick after advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

Eaves signed a 3-year $9.45 million contract with Anaheim.  He scored 11 goals in 20 regular season games following the trade to Anaheim.  He also added two goals in seven playoff games.  However, he suffered an ankle injury during the 2nd round against Edmonton, knocking him out of the remainder of playoff action.

His contract includes a no-movement clause as well.  Eaves would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but liked what he saw in Anaheim.

“Being in that locker room is something special. I noticed that on day one,” said Eaves.   “I’ve played with great players, great people …There was something different.”

Rounds 2 through 7 of the NHL draft will commence on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.

Kings & Ducks Lose D-Men in Expansion Draft

June 21, 2017

The Kings and Ducks both lost defenseman in the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday night.  The Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Brayden McNabb from the Kings, and Clayton Stoner from the Ducks.

In addition, the Ducks traded defenseman Shea Theodore to Las Vegas, and in exchange, the Golden Knights agreed not to select Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson.

Under the Expansion Draft rules, Las Vegas was required to select at least one player from each of the 32 NHL clubs.  However, since some teams had trouble deciding which players they wanted to protect from selection, they made trades with Vegas, like the Ducks did, sending them additional players so other unprotected players could not be selected.

In the case of the Ducks, they were forced to leave talented defenseman Vatanen and Manson unprotected, caused by having several players on their team with no-movement clauses, which forced them to protect those players.

Stoner was injured for much of last season, and carried a cap hit of $3.25 million.  That’s a big win for Anaheim.  However, Theodore was a promising young defenseman that needed to be traded in order to prevent the loss of two very talented young defenseman.

In the case of the Kings, there were several players who were candidates to be selected by Vegas such as forward Trevor Lewis, Kyle Clifford, Nic Dowd, and possibly even Dustin Brown.  However, the Golden Knights chose the young, hard-hitting defenseman McNabb.

The loss of McNabb gives the Kings an additional $1.8 million under the salary cap.  Although the Kings can bear the loss of McNabb’s talent, they were likely hoping a higher salaried player like Brown would be taken.

Predators Eliminate Ducks & Reach Final

May 22, 2017

Colton Sissons scored a hat-trick, including his 3rd goal with 6 minutes left in regulation, as the Predators knocked off the Ducks 6-3 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.  Nashville eliminated the Ducks for the second year in a row, and advanced to their first ever Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

“Our effort was there and we were a desperate hockey club right from the opening faceoff, and we didn’t quit until they scored the second empty-net goal,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Ducks trailed 2-1 heading into a wild 3rd period.  Sisson scored his 2nd goal of the game 3 minutes into the period, after relentlessly chasing after a puck in the slot, then backhanding it past Jonathan Bernier.  With John Gibson sidelined with a hamstring injury, Bernier got the start, but only stopped 12 of the 16 shots he faced.

The Ducks would rally at the 5 minutes mark after a creative chip shot from Chris Wagner, which beat Pekka Rinne top shelf.  2 minutes later, Cam Fowler tied the game on a slap shot from the blue line, which got by a screen Rinne.  Corey Perry had knocked down the Predators’ goaltender moments earlier, who scrambled to get back into the play, but could not make the save on the shot from Fowler.  The Predators asked for a review on the play, but referees ruled it a good goal, making the score 3-3.

Just over five minutes later, Sissons 3rd goal of the night came on a cross-ice pass from Calle Jarnkrok, allowing him to connect on a one-timer which got past the blocker of Bernier.  That would prove to be the game-winner.

Ducks forward Ryan Kesler was disappointed his team couldn’t keep it together after fighting back. “It definitely hurts worse when you play that good and you come back.  This team showed resiliency all year.  To give up a goal like that, it (bleeping) sucks.”

Trailing 4-3 with 2:33 left, the Ducks pulled Jonathan Bernier for an extra attacker, resulting in a 6-on-5 advantage.  However, Nashville would add two empty-net goals, one by Filip Forsberg at 17:38, the other by Austin Watson at 18:26, his 2nd goal of the game.

Watson and Sissons scored in the 1st period to make it 2-0.  Rinne made 38 saves to improve to 12-4 during this year’s post season.

Ondrej Kase scored his second career playoff goal in the 2nd period, pulling Anaheim within one heading into the 3rd period.

The Ducks outshot the Predators 41-18 for the game, but Rinne made some big stops throughout the night.  Anaheim was also 0-4 on the power play.

Both teams were missing their top scorers again.  Nashville was missing Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher, while the Ducks were without Patrick Eaves and Rickard Rakell.

“There’s a lot of fight in this room,” Ducks forward Corey Perry said.  “This one is going to sting for a while.  You got to give credit to them too.”

The Predators will play either the defending champion Penguins or the Senators beginning Monday, May 29th.  Meanwhile, Anaheim’s playoff run ends once again in disappointing fashion.


Ducks Beat Preds In OT To Tie Series

May 18, 2017

Corey Perry scored the game-winning goal with 10:25 remaining in OT, and the Ducks defeated the Predators 3-2  in game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.  Anaheim has now tied the best-of-seven series at 2-2 after Thursday night’s game at Bridgestone Arena.

Perry sent the puck towards the net, from near the goal line, which initially appeared to bounce off of Nate Thompson and into the net.  The goal was initially credited to Thompson.  However, upon further review, the puck bounced off of P.K. Subban’s stick and past Pekka Rinne for the game-winning goal.

The Ducks got the win despite a nightmare 3rd period.  Trailing 2-1 with 1:51 remaining, Rinne went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker, giving the Predators a 6-on-5 advantage.  With 36 seconds left, Filip Forsberg knocked in a rebound past John Gibson to tie the game, ultimately sending the game into OT.

Anaheim began to melt down late in the 3rd period.  With a little over 5 minutes left, Kevin Bieska took a high sticking penalty, giving the Predators a power play.  With 4:38 left, Josh Manson took a slashing penalty, which gave Nashville a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:31.  The Ducks managed to kill off the two-man disadvantage, but they weren’t out of the woods yet.

With 13:33 left Subban drilled a slap shot past Gibson, cutting the Anaheim lead in 2-1.  The Ducks had managed to kill off an Ondrej Kase penalty moments earlier, but Nashville continued to gain momentum and eventually tie the game.

Gibson made 32 saves for the Ducks, who snapped the Predators’ 10-game home playoff winning streak.

The Ducks built a 2-0 lead on goals from Rickard Rakell and Nick Ritchie in each of the 1st two periods.

Rakell took a long pass from Cam Fowler while Nashville was in the middle of a line change.  Before any of the Predators could get close enough to Rakell, he fired a slap shot by Rinne with 11:30 left in the 1st.

Ritchie beat Rinne with a wrist shot from the right circle that got past the Predators’ goalie, who was screened by his own defender on the play at the 10:22 mark.

With the series tied, this is essentially a best-of-three series.  Game 5 will be back at the Honda Center on Saturday afternoon.






Preds Score Late to Beat Ducks in Game 3

May 16, 2017

Roman Josi scored late in the 3rd period on a power play goal, and the Predators defeated the Ducks 2-1 in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals at Bridgestone Arena.  Nashville leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Josi put home a rebound from the right circle after John Gibson made the initial save on a shot by Viktor Arvidsson from the blue line.  Gibson could not find the rebound, which allowed Josi to take advantage of an open corner of the net.  It was the Predators’ first power play goal of the series.

The Ducks held a 1-0 lead heading into the 3rd period, but Filip Forsberg tied the game nearly 4 minutes into the period.  Forsberg beat Sami Vatanen to a lose puck behind the Anaheim goal, then centered the puck to Ryan Ellis, whose shot was stopped by Gibson.  However, the rebound bounced back to Forsberg who was standing off to the side of the net, allowing him to put the puck past Gibson for his 6th goal of the season.  Gibson made 38 saves on the night.

The Predators had two goals that were waived off after Forsberg’s goal.  Officials waived off first a would-be goal by Colton Sissons at 6:25 and then Ryan Johansen’s goal at 6:33.

After a scoreless 1st period, the Ducks took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Corey Perry.  Perry  fired the puck from a sharp angle near the goal line, which bounced off Pekka Rinne’s leg and into the net.  It was his 3rd goal of the season.

The Ducks got off to a fast start, outshooting Nashville 8-4 to open the game.  However, the Predators took the next 11 shots and outshot Anaheim 40-20 for the game.

Anaheim had their own goal disallowed in the 2nd period.   Brandon Montour’s backhander got by Rinne, and it appeared the puck had cross the goal line.  However, the net came off its moorings at the same time with Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm crashing into it.  The goal was disallowed immediately.

Keith Urban sang the national anthem, and his wife, Nicole Kidman was in attendance.  Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was in attendance as well.

Game 4 of the series will be on Thursday night Nashville.




Ducks Rally To Beat Preds & Even Series

May 14, 2017

Nick Ritchie scored with less than 3 minutes left in the second period to put the Ducks ahead for good, and Anaheim defeated the Predators 5-3 in game 2 of their best-of-seven series on Sunday night at the Honda Center.  The series is now tied 1-1.

Ritchie fired a shot from the left circle, which appeared to glance off the mask of goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net.  The Anaheim forward also scored a game-winning goal four days ago, in game 7 of the Ducks series against Edmonton.

Rinne made 22 saves on the night for the Predators, but did not look nearly as sharp as he has throughout the playoffs.

Anaheim survived a frantic 3rd period push from the Predators.  Antoine Vermette added an empty-net goal to make it 5-3 with 44 seconds left.

The Ducks trailed 2-0 to start the game.  Ryan Johansen scored on a breakaway just 4:18 into the game, and then James Neal scored on a backhand shot into a wide open net in front of a screened John Gibson at the 8:32 mark.

However, the Ducks started to surge late in the 1st period.  Sami Vatanen blasted a slap shot past Rinne with 1 minute left in the 1st.

Just 39 seconds into the 2nd period, Jakob Silfverberg tied the game on a brilliant cross-ice pass from Rickard Rakell.  Silfverberg caught the Predators defense standing around, and found the puck on his stick with a wide open net to shoot in.

The Predators would regain the lead near the 8:00 minute mark of the period when Filip Forsberg tapped in a rebound after a wrap-around attempt by Viktor Arvidsson, which left Gibson scrambling to cover an open corner of the net.

However, Ondrej Kase tied the game with his first career playoff goal at the 10:41 mark.  Kase pounced on a rebound in front of Rinne, which slide underneath the goaltenders’ legs, and barely crossed the goal line.

Richie’s goal capped the thrilling 19-minute surge for Anaheim, which saw them score four goals.  The Predators hadn’t allowed four goals in any playoff game this season prior to Sunday night.

Gibson made 30 saves on the night, including withstanding a several flurries in front of the net by Nashville in the 3rd period.

Game 3 of the series will be in Nashville on Tuesday night.

Predators Beat Ducks in OT in Game 1

May 12, 2017

James Neal scored 9:24 into overtime, and the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-2 in game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  Nashville leads the best-of-seven series 1-0.

Neal took a cross-ice pass from P.K. Subban and fired a one-timer that deflected into the net.  The puck was redirected off the head of Anaheim’s Corey Perry, who was sprawling to block the shot, which then flew past goaltender John Gibson.

The Ducks had to deal with a very quick turnaround to play game 1 after defeating the Oilers less than 48 hours earlier in game 7 of their second round series.

Anaheim trailed 2-1 heading into the 3rd period, but Hampus Lindholm tied the game 2-2 after snapping a shot from the blue line past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Rinne made 27 saves on the night for the Preds.  He also repeatedly handled the puck very effectively around the net, and passed the puck quickly up to his defenseman and forwards, making it difficult for the Ducks to generate sustained pressure.

The Preds took a 2-1 lead less than 3 minutes in to the 2nd period.  Austin Watson fired a one-timer off a great cross-ice pass from Ryan Johansen, which deflected off of Sami Vatanen and into the net.  It was Watson’s first-career playoff goal.

Gibson made 43 saves on the night for the Ducks, including 14 in a busy 1st period.  Both teams traded goals in the first twenty minutes.  Jakob Silfverberg fired a snap shot that beat Rinne to the blocker-side.  The Predators tied it a little more than 7 minutes later on a goal by Filip Forsberg.  The Ducks turned the puck over, caused by the pressure of Forsberg, who tipped in a shot past Gibson moments later.

Game 2 of the series will be on Sunday afternoon at the Honda Center.  The Ducks will try to even the series before heading to Nashville for games 3 and 4.

Ducks Overcome Demons & Win Game 7

May 10, 2017

The Ducks finally snapped their streak of game 7 futility on Wednesday night.  Anaheim defeated the Oilers 2-1 in game 7 at the Honda Center, propelling them into the Western Conference Finals.

Nick Ritchie scored the game-winning goal 3:21 into the 3rd period.  He fired a wrist shot from the right circle, which snuck right under the arm of Oilers’ goaltender Cam Talbot.

Ritchie’s goal gave the Ducks their first lead in a game 7 over the last five years.  Anaheim had lost four consecutive game 7’s at home after leading a playoff series 3-2 dating back to 2013.

It was a tough start for Anaheim after Drake Caggiula forced Shea Theodore to turn the puck over right in front of the Ducks’ net, fluttering the puck past John Gibson, which gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead.

Gibson settled down after that.  He made 23 saves on the evening, and avenged his previous game 7 failures.

The Ducks tied the game at 1-1 at 8:55 of the 2nd period on a goal by Andrew Cogliano.  The puck was kept alive by Ryan Kessler on the play, after Talbot was out of position.  Cogliano slipped the puck past the sprawled goaltender, and Anaheim suddenly had the momentum.

The 2nd period was dominated by the Ducks, who regained their confidence.  Anaheim outshot the Oilers 16-3 in the middle frame, and had 11 scoring chances to the Oilers 6.  Despite the flurry of pressure, the score was still tied 1-1 after two periods.

After Ritchie gave the Ducks the lead in the 3rd, they still continued to control most of the play.  Gibson made a couple of saves late, including one on a deflection from Anton Slepyshev, and another on Leon Draisaitl.

Talbot made 28 saves on the night, and left the net in favor of an extra attacker with 2:06 left in the game.  However, the Ducks were content to repeatedly ice the puck, and the Oilers were unable to generate any scoring chances of significance.

The Ducks move on the the Western Conference Finals against the Nashville Predators, which will begin on Friday night at the Honda Center.






Oilers Crush Ducks To Force Game 7

May 7, 2017

The Oilers jumped out to a huge lead in game 6 against the Ducks, and this time, they wouldn’t give it back.  Edmonton hammered Anaheim 7-1 in game 6 of their 2nd round playoff series, tying the series 3-3, and forcing a game 7 on Wednesday night in SoCal.

Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick along with two assists, while Mark Letestu had two goals and two assists, and the Oilers had a 5-0 lead after the first period.

Zach Kassian and Anton Slepychev also scored for the Oilers, while Cam Talbot made 34 saves in the win.

The Ducks only goal came from Rikard Rakell, which came midway through the 2nd period.  It was a miserable night for the Anaheim goaltenders.  John Gibson was pulled after giving up 3 goals on 6 shots, just 8:30 into the game.  Jonathan Bernier didn’t fare much better, stopping 25 shots, but Letestu scored his first goal of the game when Bernier couldn’t find the puck that was sitting right in front of him in the crease.

“Stuff happens sometimes,” Gibson said.  “It’s my job and obviously I wasn’t good enough tonight as i want to be.  I just kind of let them down.”

Letestu 2nd of the game came on a one-timer over Bernier’s right pad for a power-play goal with 1:15 remaining in the first.

Draisaitl completed his hat trick on a give-and-go with Milan Lucic with 4:30 minutes left in the second period when Ryan Kesler was serving a roughing minor.

“You want to flush it but you gotta look at what you did wrong too.  There’s a lot of mistakes that we made tonight,” Andrew Cogliano said.  “Uncharacteristic mistakes and we deserve to lose that way.  You don’t see other teams giving up breakaways in the first 10 minutes of a hockey game to move on to the conference finals.”

The Ducks will be looking to end a streak of futility in game 7.  In the last four seasons, Anaheim has lost four consecutive game 7’s at home, ending their season.  In each of those four series, the Ducks have held a 3-2 series lead.  Anaheim was eliminated in the first round of 2013 by Detroit, in 2016 by Nashville, the second round in 2014 by the Kings, and the conference finals in 2015 by Chicago.

“Each year is a new year; each day is a new day,” Gibson added.  “If you look at the past, you don’t get anywhere.”

Edmonton’s last Game 7 was the 2006 Stanley Cup final, which they lost 3-1 at Carolina.  Edmonton is 6-3 in franchise history in game 7, and 3-2 on the road.  The Ducks are 2-6 in game 7 in their franchise history, and 1-4 at home.  The good news for the Ducks however is that home teams have won nearly 60% of game 7’s in the NHL.

It all goes down Wednesday night at the Honda Center.  The winner will advance to the Western Conference Finals to play the Nashville Predators.


Ducks Pull Off Stunning Comeback In Game 5

May 5, 2017

The Ducks pulled off the unthinkable on Friday night at the Honda Center.  Trailing 3-0 with about three minutes left, Anaheim rallied to score three goals to tie the game.  Then Corey Perry scored the game-winner in double OT to defeat the Oilers 4-3 in the pivotal game 5 of their second round series.  Anaheim now has a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Perry took a centering pass from Ryan Getzlaf at the 6:57 mark of the 2nd OT, and slid the puck past Cam Talbot, completing the miraculous comeback.

“Right to the net,” Perry said. “He had eyes up, and he had time, and I was yelling for that puck the whole way.”

The Ducks became the first team in Stanley Cup playoff history to force overtime or win a playoff game after trailing by three goals with less than four minutes left in regulation.

Anaheim pulled goaltender John Gibson with under four minutes to go in regulation, providing the Ducks with a 6-on-5 man advantage.  Getzlaf got the Ducks on the board with a slap shot from the blue line with 3:16 left.  Cam Fowler scored 35 seconds later with wrist shot from the blue line, which found the back of the net after getting past numerous bodies in front of the net.  Finally, Rikard Rakell put a backhand shot past Talbot, which got through another pile up of bodies in front of Talbot.

“That’s will,” said Getzlaf.  “We willed it through, and did whatever we had to do. We scratched and clawed at the end and found a way to get ourselves back in that game and give ourselves an opportunity.”

After a scoreless 1st period, the Oilers began to take control in the 2nd period.  Leon Draisatl scored 15 seconds into the 2nd period, which was his 8th goal in the last 10 games against Anaheim.  Connor McDavid made it 2-0 on a 2-man advantage at the 2:55 mark, batting the puck past Gibson after taking a pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  Drake Caggiula made it 3-0 after scoring on a 4-on-1 break.

Talbot made 60 saves on the evening for the Oilers, including a pair of big saves on Getzlaf early on.  The Ducks captain also missed high on a penalty shot in the 1st period.

Gibson made 35 saves for the Ducks, who have now won three straight games after losing the first two of the series at home.

The Ducks will try to close out the series on Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.  A win will send the Ducks into the Western Conference Finals, where they would play either the Nashville Predators or the St. Louis Blues.