On Wednesday night, March 16, 2016 in front of a light crowd of 15,400 at Honda Center in Anaheim, the Anaheim Ducks suffered a tough 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers. The loss, coupled with the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars the night before, left the Ducks four points behind the Pacific division-leading Kings, with just 13 regular season games remaining.
The game against the Rangers, was a rather tedious tight-checking affair. Shots on goal in the first period, were just 5-4 in favor of Anaheim. The home team did lead 1-0 after the first 20 minutes, thanks to a heads up offensive zone play by star forward Corey Perry.
As Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein attempted to carry the puck in front of his own net, Perry poke-checked the puck off his stick, and then fed the recently liberated biscuit to teammate Jamie McGinn who was cruising down the slot. McGinn put the puck past Rangers goalie Antti Raanta, at 14:03. For the moment, Klein was the goat, but by the time all was said and done, he would become the hero.
The redemption of Klein began at the 3:11 mark of the second period, when he ripped a shot past Ducks goaltender John Gibson to tie the score 1-1. The Rangers went on to outshoot the Ducks 9-7 in what was a somewhat more lively period, though checking remained tight. In the final 20 minutes, Klein would complete his journey to redemption.
The third period was just a tense as the first two. Both teams battled for space, with neither willing to give an inch. Overtime seemed an inevitability, until one game-changing rush by the Rangers. The Rangers broke out of their own zone and managed to get some speed through the neutral zone.
As they crossed the Ducks blue line, Klein jumped up into the play and headed to the net. Rangers center J.T. Miller fed the puck across to Klein who fought off a chek by Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm, and scored the game-winning goal with 6:41 left in regulation time. When it was all over, Klein was named number one star of the game.
Pacific division race: In the five games since their franchise record 11-game win streak, the Ducks have a record of just 1-3-1. With 89 points, the Los Angeles Kings lead the division. Anaheim is second with 85 points, and with 84 points, the San Jose Sharks are in third place. All three teams have 13 games remaining. As far as head-to-head matchups, Both the Ducks and Sharks will face the Kings one final time before the end of the regular season. On March 28, the Sharks have a home game against the Kings. On April 7, the Ducks will play the Kings at STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles.
March 16, 2016 – Final score: New York Rangers 2, Anaheim Ducks 1. Final shots on goal: NYR 23, ANA 23. Power play: ANA 0/0, NYR 0/3. Three Stars of the game: 1) Kevin Klein – NYR, 2) Josh Manson – ANA, 3) Jamie McGinn – ANA. Goaltenders: NYR – Antti Raanta, ANA – John Gibson.
Ducks forward line combinations:
Ducks defense pairing: