What we learned from the Ducks’ 4-3 win over Colorado
The Ducks, for the third time in four games, rallied to not only force overtime, but win in the extra period. Their 4-3 victory over Colorado on Sunday at Honda Center was pivotal because the Avalanche are one of the teams jockeying with the Ducks for precious few playoff spots. Here’s what we learned:
Ryan Miller has been everything the Ducks hoped for and more. When the former Vezina Trophy winner was signed to a two-year, $4 million deal last summer, the club was looking to provide the oft-injured John Gibson with a reliable backup. Gibson, 24, has been terrific, but he’s been forced to leave games already in progress six times this season (in addition to missing many more contests).
Miller, 37, has never been a backup, so entering games in relief is new to him, but he’s answered the bell and was again steady in net Sunday. Gibson was run over by Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog in the first period and it was Miller who took over beginning with the second period.
Miller faced 21 shots and allowed two goals, including a perfect third period, to outduel Jonathan Bernier, who was Gibson’s backup last season. With Gibson’s status uncertain, Miller could be counted on over the last three games to push the Ducks over the finish line into the playoffs.
“That’s a veteran player there,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “He wasn’t rattled by the situation. He just goes in and does his job. That’s why you pay for that experience.
“He was calm and cool even though they scored two goals. He held us in there and made some stops for us. He allows you to get your feet underneath you.”
Andrew Cogliano is now finishing his breakaway chances. The diminutive winger creates plenty of them, but early in the season, he wasn’t converting when he was all alone in front.
Lately, it’s been a different story. Jakob Silfverberg sprung him for a first-period breakaway and the Masterton Trophy nominee skated around to the far post, held on to the puck, waited for Bernier to meet him out, then buried the sharp-angle try. The move was similar to the one he used against the Detroit Red Wings last month.
Later on, Cogliano chipped it into the zone and beat his man to the puck and simply flung it at the net. Ryan Kesler was there to bury it and force overtime.
“Goals come and go,” said Cogliano, who has 10 on the year. “The point of my game is being consistent and playing the right way. When I get the goals, you get that extra bonus. But I don’t change how I play.”
Ondrej Kase has star potential. The Czech Republic native is just 22 years old, and playing in his first full season in the NHL, he’s just beginning to scratch the surface of his potential.
Midway through the game, he swapped places with Corey Perry and played on the top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. And it was Kase who scored the game-winner in overtime with nifty toe-drag to bring him within one of the 20-goal plateau.
“He’s a special talent, we know how good he is and how good he can be,” Kesler said. “That’s the stuff he does, he does something stupid (in a good way) every night.”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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