You would think a team that didn’t make it to the playoffs and had nine months off may start off the season slower than their opponent who made the playoffs, have been the President trophy recipient in back-to-back seasons and were playing in front of their home crowd.
This game is one of many shockers that’ll happened during this shortened NHL season.
The Anaheim Ducks opened their season on the road against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Cory Schneider got the nod in net for the Canucks as the team is currently experiencing issues with goaltending.
This game so happened to be my first Ducks’ highlight while working at Fox Sports. You can say that I was feeling the added pressure as my co-workers knew how monumental this game and highlight was for me. Before the puck dropped I noticed some unfamiliar faces on the Ducks’ roster. I finally put a name to the face on the newly acquired Bryan Allen and I learned about Rickard Rakell, Jordan Hendry and most of all Daniel Winnik – Hendry was filling in for a flu-stricken Cam Fowler.
As the first period led on, Winnik opened the scoring with his first goal debuting as a Duck. It was a innocent looking shot that found the back of the net behind Schneider. His second goal coming early in the second — which gave the Ducks their second lead — came off of a 3 on 2 from Saku Koivu. Winnik without a doubt, made his presence known on the third line.
A couple minutes later, the Ducks struck twice within a 11 second span with one goal coming off of the power play from Corey Perry and then an even strength goal from Kyle Palmieri shortly after. The Ducks tallied three unanswered goals, which chased Schneider out of the game as the Ducks got five passed him. Roberto Luongo was then the goalie between the pipes and had a chance to be the hero in Vancouver if he somehow miraculously pulled off a win.
Late in the second, Ducks with the extra man, Teemu Selanne put one past Luongo and basically deflated whatever hope was left on the Canucks’ bench. The goal tied Selanne with Phil Esposito for third all-time in power play goals with a whopping 249. In the third, Alexander Edler was able to buy a goal for his team, but moments later Selanne answered which moved him up to the sole 18th spot in the NHL’s all-time points list with 1,410. The game ended in a 7-3 Ducks’ win.
Granted this is the first game of the season, but there are several positives coming from this game. First, the Ducks’ were able to get production from their newly acquired Sheldon Souray — who registered a power play goal in the 1st — and Winnik who got a pair of his own. Both are contributing to the team early on. Secondly, we saw production out of the first three lines and the scoresheet was spread throughout the roster with five different scorers. Third, Jonas Hiller was on top of his game with a few timely saves when the game was still close. Fourth, Selanne reminded us why he is nicknamed “The Finnish Flash” as he once again proved that he is still a perennial athlete at the age of 42 with his 2 goals and 2 assists in the game. And lastly, the Ducks were 3 for 3 on the power play which is not only perfect but is a sign that the Ducks are clicking enough to find the back of the net. A formula that may just be lethal with the extra man.
All and all, you could say that I left work a very happy girl tonight.
For more information throughout the season follow me on twitter @m_drinnenberg and on Facebook here.