On Monday night, Dec. 21, 2015 the Anaheim Ducks scored first, but then gave up three straight goals and eventually lost 5-2 to the New York Islanders in front of a crowd of 13,578 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Ducks struggles continue as they remain in last place in both the Pacific division and overall in the Western Conference. Last season, this team came within one win of playing in the Stanley Cup Final. That was then, this is now.
Against the Islanders, the game did have a rather auspicious beginning. Ducks forward Carl Hagelin who has struggled to find his rhythm, seemed to have some extra jump. Playing on a line with Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano, Hagelin wound up scoring the first goal of the game at 6:52 of the first period. At that point, the Ducks had momentum and were carrying the play, but the second half of the period was a different story.
As the first period wore on, the Islanders began to find their legs and turned the momentum in their favor. At 14:54, Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck scored from in close to even the score at 1-1. It appeared as though that was how the period would end, but then came a 43-second span which sealed the fate of the Ducks.
There was exactly one minute left in the first period, when defenseman Travis Hamonic blasted a shot through a screen and past Anaheim goalie Frederik Andersen. With just 17 seconds left in the period, Isles forward Brock Nelson scored to push the Islanders lead to 3-1. New York outshot Anaheim 11-7 in the first period.
The Islanders top line of John Tavares, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome gave the Ducks trouble all night long. In the first period, the trio accounted for one goal and three assists. Ducks Goaltender Frederik Andersen was pulled after the first period, and John Gibson replaced him for the balance of the game. The Ducks did outshoot the Islanders 12-8 in the second period, but neither team scored.
In the third period, it appeared as though the Ducks might make a game of it, when defenseman Josh Manson scored at 7:32 to trim the lead to 3-2, but any comeback hopes were short-lived. Just 2:02 later, New York forward Anders Lee picked off defenseman Hampus Lindholm’s attempted clearing pass, and his linemate Josh Bailey put the loose puck into the Ducks net. Just minutes later, Anaheim defenseman Sami Vatanen had a golden opportunity to score, but his shot through a sea of humanity in front of New York goalie Jaroslav Halak, rang harmlessly off the goalpost.
Trailing 4-2 with just under three minutes remaining in regulation time, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau elected to pull Gibson in favor of an extra skater. The result was an empty-net goal by islanders forward Matt Martin at 17:27.
With his team trailing 5-2 in the waning moments, Anaheim forward Mike Santorelli had two chances to put the puck into a wide-open corner of the New York net, but could not score. Santorelli’s failure to convert, was very much a microcosm of the Ducks’ season thus far.
Ducks notes – The team now has a record of 1-2 on the four-game road trip which will conclude on Tuesday night, Dec. 22 with a game against the New York Rangers. Having played 32 games in the 2015-16 season, the Ducks have an overall record of 12-15-5 and are the lowest scoring team in the NHL, having have scored just 60 goals thus far. The Ducks next home game will be on Sunday, Dec. 27 when they face the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dec. 21, 2015 – Anaheim Ducks vs New York Islanders. Final score: NYI 5, ANA 2. Final shots on goal: NYI 31, ANA 29. Power play: NYI 0/3, ANA 0/1. Three Stars of the game: 1) John Tavares – NYI, 2) Cal Clutterbuck – NYI, 3) Brock Nelson – NYI. Goaltenders: NYI – Jaroslav Halak, ANA – Frederik Andersen/John Gibson.
Ducks forward line combinations:
Ducks defense pairings: