In one of the most entertaining games of the season, the Ducks made sure to finish off their homestand in thrilling fashion. With the game on his stick, veteran winger Jakob Silfverberg scored the game-deciding goal in the fourth round to give the Ducks a 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Rangers at Honda Center on Saturday afternoon.
Often times the difference in a game comes down to special teams. Today, the Ducks scored twice on the power play, including a game-tying goal from Hampus Lindholm with under two minutes left on the clock. A once stagnant power play has come to life over the past three games, with goals in each.
"We know we've been playing some good hockey lately," said Lindholm. "It's been going that way the last few games, I feel like. We've been playing good and outshooting teams, but haven't really gotten those pucks going in for us. We stuck with it tonight and it shows that if you just keep going, night in and night out, game after game you can get rewarded."
The victory improved Anaheim's record to 14-15-4 (32 points). New York fell to 16-12-4 (36 points).
With the win, the Ducks have earned points in four straight home games (3-0-1) and seven of the past nine (6-2-1) against the Rangers dating to March 9, 2011.
Prior to the game, the Ducks spoke of the importance of finishing this homestand on a winning note with a crucial four-game road trip on the horizon. Today, they collectively rose to the occasion despite long odds just 3:59 into the game when they found themselves down two goals. Mika Zibanejad scored just 10 seconds into the game, and then Artemi Panarin doubled the Rangers' lead. It didn't look good at the time, but the Ducks never gave up.
They cut the deficit in half at the 8:53 mark of the first period when Silfverberg got a piece of Hampus Lindholm's point shot on the power play for his team-leading 12th goal of the season. The goal gave the Ducks life heading into the intermission.
Video: NYR@ANA: Silfverberg taps in Lindholm's feed for PPG
"I think even tonight again we did a lot of good stuff and it came down to the last minute to tie it up, and then obviously win in the shootout," said Silfverberg. "You never really know what's going to happen. Obviously, a nice two points for us heading out on the road and getting some confidence."
It took just 62 seconds into the second period for the Ducks to effectively erase what was once a two-goal deficit when Erik Gudbranson hammered a shot from the blueline into a wide open net with Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist out of position.
Video: NYR@ANA: Gudbranson catches Lundqvist out of the cage
After Zibanejad gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead 1:14 into the third, the Ducks kept fighting. Awarded a power play in the closing minutes of regulation, the Ducks didn't let it go to waste. Trailing the play, Lindholm tied the game with 1:46 left in regulation with a slap shot from the high slot that sent the Honda Center crowd into a frenzy. It marked his first goal of the season, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Rickard Rakell earned the primary assist on the goal, giving him his career-tying third assist of the game.
Video: NYR@ANA: Lindholm pots PPG to knot the game at 3-3
"We're not going to have a parade yet on it," Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins said, on the team's power play. "I still think we've got lots of work to do there, but kudos to those young men. They've really taken a real interest in it, they're working together for their own solutions on top of ours and that's important, and great to see our team get rewarded by it tonight because we certainly needed it."
Overtime came and went with both sides coming close, but neither side broke through. John Gibson saved his best save of the game for overtime when he robbed Zibanejad of a hat trick with a point-blank save after the Rangers center deked his way into a scoring lane.
"You get down like that, it's easy for the goalie, you're down 2-0 and I don't think there's four minutes or three minutes gone on the clock yet," said Eakins, on Gibson's performance. "He dug in and right when he needed to be big, he was as big as a house and that really lifted our bench a number of times."
Ondrej Kase kept the Ducks alive with a clutch goal in the third round of the shootout. After Gibson denied Kaapo Kakko in the top of the fourth, Silfverberg sealed it with a backhander over Lundqvist's shoulder to give the Ducks a much-needed victory.
Video: NYR@ANA: Silfverberg beats Lundqvist to win SO
They'll embark on a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.