At long last, a winning streak. The Ducks strung together wins for just the third time this season in dramatic fashion with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday afternoon at Honda Center. The Ducks pushed the game to the extra period with a Nick Ritchie goal with 16.2 ticks left, and then 31 seconds later, Rickard Rakell buried the game-winner.
Here’s what we learned:
The Ducks returned to their usual two goals per game, but they’re still creating plenty of chances
They had two great opportunities to take the lead early in the contest, but they simply couldn’t finish. First it was captain Ryan Getzlaf who was fed the puck alone in front. He tried to wait out goalie Mikko Koskinen, but the netminder slid to his left with Getzlaf, who eventually missed the net with his point-blank shot.
Moments later during the same shift, Ondrej Kase missed the net from the high slot.
The biggest missed opportunity of all came late in the game with the Ducks frantically attempting to find the equalizer. Adam Henrique fired a one-timer, and the puck squeezed past Koskinen. It dangled on the goal line, and as the Ducks tried to push it past, Oilers defenseman Kris Russell cleared it.
Rickard Rakell has been finding Grade-A scoring chances often lately, a sign that he’s ready to regain his finishing touch
The Ducks’ lone all-star last season racked up 34 goals during that campaign, but he potted just four entering Friday.
He snapped out of his nine-game slump in OT with a second-effort goal on the breakaway, and he’s hopeful it will spark him as the Ducks set out on a five-game road trip.
“It feels great any time you’re not scoring for a while,” Rakell said. “I knew I had scoring chances the last few games. Great feeling. Hopefully I can play a little bit more loose now.”
Jake Dotchin could be part of the solution on the injury-riddled backend
The 24-year-old made his Ducks debut Friday and looked right at home. He lends the Ducks a big-bodied defenseman (6 foot 3, 210 pounds) who loves to deliver punishing hits (he led the team with six).
Even when Hampus Lindholm and Cam Fowler are in the lineup, the Ducks still need a suitable third pairing. Luke Schenn and Andrej Sustr didn’t work out. Neither did rookie Andy Welinski, who was reassigned to San Diego. Marcus Pettersson was paired up with Dotchin, but even the Swede has been shaky.
Dotchin was waived by the Tampa Bay Lighting before the season after battling weight issues, but he might have found a new long-term home in Anaheim.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for about a month and a bit now,” said Dotchin, who played in San Diego while he waited for the call. “So for it to come true, it was pretty exciting. ... There’s still room for improvement in my game, and how I’m learning the system still, but I’m starting to get the hang of it a bit better each day.”