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Ducks Come Alive in the Third to Beat Colorado, 2-1

They fall behind to the last-place Avs before getting goals from Lindholm and Ritchie to win for the eighth time in the last 10 games

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

ANAHEIM - Though the Ducks have won a lot of hockey games this month, they certainly haven't all been pretty, and this one tonight was one of the less attractive ones of the season.

Anaheim let the last-place Colorado Avalanche hang around for nearly 2 1/2 periods - even falling into a 1-0 hole - before pulling even in the third and getting a late game-winner from Nick Ritchie in a 2-1 victory at Honda Center.  

After failing to get anything past Avs goalie Calvin Pickard for a good portion of the night, the Ducks finally tied it with 12:43 left in the game, on the power play, when a Hampus Lindholm point shot sailed through traffic and tucked under the crossbar. 

Video: COL@ANA: Lindholm rockets PPG, ties game in the 3rd

But the Ducks went nearly 10 minutes without a shot after that goal, ultimately jumping in front for good when Nick Ritchie picked up a puck nudged back by Ondrej Kase in the slot and sniped it over Pickard's shoulder with just 2:02 left.

Video: COL@ANA: Ritchie wires home go-ahead goal late in 3rd

The Ducks were able to hold that lead the rest of the way, notably when the Avs sent Pickard to the bench for an extra attacker.  

"It was kind of a broken play," Ritchie said. "Kase made a good pass. I was just in the slot and shot it through a bunch of guys."

The Ducks probably should have had an easier time with an Avs team that has the worst record in the NHL at 13-29-1 and has won just once in the last 10. Anaheim, meanwhile, won for the eighth time in its last 10 games and remained atop the Pacific Division at 26-13-9. 

Anaheim completely outplayed Colorado just one week ago, putting a 4-1 hurting on the Avs at Pepsi Center, but this one hardly resembled that affair, despite the Ducks tilting the ice in their favor in the early going and ending up with a 36-22 shot advantage. 

The Ducks had a ton of chances in the first, outshooting Colorado 22-3, but they couldn't cash in and appeared out of sorts for a good part of the second. That frame was significantly delayed about halfway through it when a pane of glass broke behind the Anaheim net and the Honda Center operations crew had trouble getting it replaced. The delay prompted the officiating crew to send both teams to their dressing rooms and start the second intermission early. 

The glass was ultimately locked in with just a few minutes left in the intermission, and the second period was started with 9:48 left on the clock. 

"There was a little bit of a delay, but we rallied around it," Ritchie said. "Ended up not being too bad, and it helped us out in the end."

Said Lindholm of the delay, "I just want to thank the fans for sticking with us and cheering us on. You just want to keep yourself warm. Going into the locker room, we just kept our bodies ready."

But less than four minutes after the second period resumed, the Avs scored the game's first goal, as a loose puck squirted across the crease to Gabriel Landeskog, who swiftly deposited it into the open net. 

At the conclusion of the period, both teams stayed on their benches while a dry scrape of the ice was initiated, with the third starting immediately afterward. 

"It helped us," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said of the delay. "We weren't playing very good in the second period. They were coming at us, and it broke up the period. It gave us an opportunity to reset ourselves. It did us a favor."

The Ducks made it tougher on themselves when Jakob Silfverberg left the game and never returned after hitting his head on the ice in that period, but they were able to tie it on Lindholm's third of the year and Ritchie's 11th of the year decided things. 

Anaheim heads to the road now for two games - Saturday at Minnesota and Monday at Winnipeg. The Ducks will host an NHL Centennial Celebration and Watch Party for that Saturday game at Honda Center, an event that will pay tribute to a century of NHL hockey and will feature the NHL's Centennial Fan Arena.

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