On Tuesday night, Dec. 22 the Anaheim Ducks scored first, but mental errors cost them as they wound up losing 3-2 in overtime to the New York Rangers in front of a roaring crowd of 18,006 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Ducks scoring woes continued, as they scored two goals or less for the eighth straight game. The worst part about this loss, was that despite only scoring twice, this could well have been a victory were it not for two unconscionably egregious turnovers in the defensive zone.
The first turnover occurred late in the first period. The Ducks were leading 1-0 when defenseman Josh Manson tried a beyond-risky pass up the middle of the ice, from behind his own net. Rangers forward Derick Brassard, who was cruising through the high slot in front of Ducks netminder John Gibson, picked off the ill-advised pass and put it into the Anaheim net at the 17:50 mark. The shots on goal in the first period, were an economical 8-5 in favor of Anaheim.
The second period was scoreless and cautiously played, as each team registered just five shots on goal. In the third period, it was Ducks forward Jiri Sekac who made a horrible play which led to the second Rangers goal. It was a very similar situation to Manson’s, but the Sekac pass was intercepted by New York forward Mats Zuccarello. In the end, it was again Brassard who benefited. He took a pass from Zuccarello and put the puck past a helpless Gibson at 2:55.
The Ducks trailed 2-1 as the game went down to the final minutes, but they did catch a bit of a break. Anaheim forward Rickard Rakell skated into the Rangers zone and launched a shot from the left faceoff circle. Rakell’s wrist shot deflected off the stick blade of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and went over the shoulder of goalie Henrik Lundqvist, to tie the score 2-2 with 2:54 remaining in regulation time.
In the 3-on-3 overtime session, another gaffe by a ducks player, led indirectly to the game-winning goal. This time it was an untimely substitution as Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg. A tired Silfverberg attempted to change on the fly, but left in his wake, was an outnumbered attack by the Rangers. Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler wound up having to commit a holding penalty to avoid giving the Rangers a prime scoring chance.
In the end, Fowler had only delayed the inevitable. Zuccarello scored a power play goal to end the game at 2:37 into the extra session. On this night, the Ducks were their own worst enemy.
Ducks notes – Anaheim now have a record of 12-15-6, which puts them in last place in both the Pacific division and Western Conference. The loss drops the Ducks record to 0-5 in overtime contests this season; they are 1-1 in games which have gone to a shootout. The NHL will now have a holiday break, with play resuming on Dec. 26. The next Ducks game will be a home game on Sunday, Dec. 27 vs the Philadelphia Flyers. The start time for the game at Honda Center in Anaheim, is 5:00 pm PT.
Dec. 22, 2015 – New York Rangers 3, Anaheim Ducks 2 (OT). Final shots on goal: NYR 22, ANA 19. Power play: NYR 1/5, ANA 0/4. Three Stars of the game: 1) Derick Brassard, 2) Mats Zuccarello, 3) Rickard Rakell. Goaltenders: NYR – Henrik Lundqvist, ANA – John Gibson.
Ducks forward line combinations:
Ducks defense pairings: