What would be the only memorable thing a NHL player could do on their 22nd birthday? If you’re Kyle Palmieri on the Anaheim Ducks, celebrating your 22nd birthday meant scoring 2 goals against a stacked Minnesota Wild roster.
Oh, the irony in sports.
Last night, the Ducks took on the Wild at the Honda Center. Two nights prior, the Ducks came off a well earned point in San Jose; a game where they blatantly were the better team. Last night proved the same, but this time the Ducks got the win. With stellar performances by their second line.
Again, goaltender Viktor Fasth got the nod to start as he reaped the benefits of another victory. In his two games played, Fasth has faced 48 shots and only allowed 3 against; all goals at even strength. It’s good to know that when he’s in net, the team hasn’t allowed a power play goal — something the team has struggled on tremendously. The only blemish on Fasth’s performance was the softy he allowed five hole from Marco Scandella. Fasth easily should’ve had a shutout under his belt now.
The main headlines to focus on in this win were the new second line and special teams. Coach Bruce Boudreau — widely known for shuffling his lineup — did so again tonight and it paid off. This time he elected to have Palmieri-Bobby Ryan–Teemu Selanne on the second line and boy did they get production from them.
Selanne helped set up both Palmieri goals: one was a result of the Finn breaking up a pass intended for Zach Parise in the neutral zone, and giving it to Ryan. Ryan’s fancy move around the defender fooled goalie Niklas Backstrom, so he feathered the puck to Palmieri and he one-timed it into an open net. In the third period, Selanne took it behind the net and put it out front for another Palmieri goal. Ryan solidified the win with a slapshot on the power play.
Overall, the Ducks out worked their opponent for the second straight game and they accomplished that feat as a result of puck control, great goaltending and special teams. The Ducks managed the puck possession for the majority of the game as they played consistent hockey for 60 minutes. Miraculously, they only allowed one extra man advantage in the first period and the Wild didn’t convert and the Ducks had two chances on the power play and finally got one through. Also, Daniel Winnik and Saku Koivu had their chances, but tonight wasn’t there night to shine it was the birthday boy’s turn.
On a night where the Ducks only gave up a pair in penalty minutes, Palmieri got bumped up to the 2nd line on his 22nd birthday he scored 2 goals which was the difference in the game. I guess good things do come in pairs.