John Gibson made 23-of-24 saves and Jakob Silfverberg led the Anaheim Ducks to a convincing 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, who played about two competent periods of hockey tonight before completely falling apart in the third.
Despite giving up three power play opportunities and getting outshot 14-8 in the first period, it would be the Ducks who would get on the scoreboard first on their own man-advantage. After collecting the puck in their own zone, Anaheim methodically worked it into the Colorado zone and up the left-hand boards. Jakob Silfverberg, who had played since the last Avalanche matchup, received a pass from Nick Ritchie and took a poor-angle shot toward the net. Calvin Pickard, however, was either unprepared, expecting a centering pass or forgot his technique because the puck snuck in short side to give the Ducks an early 1-0 lead.
The next goal would come early in the second period when Rickard Rakell was left wide-open on the far post after some effective Ducks cycling. One of two things happened: either Francois Beauchemin got caught chasing or Tyson Barrie failed to switch. Whatever happened, it led to a fairly easy tip-in goal for the Ducks to give themselves a two-goal lead.
Mikko Rantanen would provide Colorado’s first glimmer of hope, starting with an impressive defensive pressure in the neutral zone, forcing Hampus Lindholm to make an ill-advised centering pass. Mikhail Grigorenko then stole the puck and moved it back up to Rantanen, who had gotten a head-start up ice. After a quick hesitation, he picked his spot and fired a wrist shot past goalie John Gibson to draw the game within one.
Jakob Silfverberg would extend the Ducks lead in the third with his second goal of the evening. The play started with a grade-A chance by Nathan MacKinnon in the Ducks’ end (and unfortunately a grade-A+ save). Beauchemin got caught pinching up as Anaheim controlled the puck and started through the neutral zone and followed that up with a totally useless back check. Andrew Cogliano made a nice centering pass and Silfverberg did his part to put the Ducks up 3-1.
Unfortunately, it would only get worse from there.
Korbinian Holzer, who may have my favorite first name in the league, scored his first goal of the season, firing a shot from the point that deflected off Andreas Martinsen and past Pickard to make it 4-1. A few minutes later Cam Fowler would do something similar, scoring his 11th goal of the season and extending the lead to 5-1. Fortunately the clock ran out after that.
The Avalanche fall to 13-31-2 on the season, which last I checked was positively abhorrent. They will travel up to Los Angeles to take on the Kings tomorrow night in what is sure to be another disappointment.