Ducks fall to Stars in close overtime battle, 4-3

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Despite a strong effort, the Ducks ended up on the wrong side of a back-and-forth battle.

The Ducks managed to end their three-game skid with a nice win over the Sabres and headed out to Dallas looking to keep the wins coming. The first period opened up with a goal for Dallas from Matt Duchene, but Anaheim was able to deliver the equalizer via Urho Vaakanainen’s first goal of the year. The second period followed the same theme, with Troy Terry giving the Ducks a 2-1 lead before Craig Smith tied the game for the Stars. With things knotted up at 2 headed to the final period, the Ducks would once again take a lead on a score from Jakob Silfverberg in the opening moments. They were unable to hang on for the win, however, and Miro Heiskanen scored the tying goal to force overtime. It only took Dallas one shot attempt in overtime to seal the win, as Thomas Harley delivered the game-winner to sink Anaheim.

Here are three takeaways from the loss:

Ducks can’t break their losing curse in Dallas

After another heartbreaking loss in Dallas for the Ducks, the feeling continues to be all too familiar. Dating back to October of 2015, Anaheim has lost 11 in a row on the road against the Stars. For Dallas, the home winning streak against Anaheim is tied for their longest active home winning streak against another club (Dallas and Detroit-11 games). Despite a promising effort and two different lead-taking goals in the game, the curse will live on as Dallas proved their resiliency.

The Ducks record on the road this season is now down to 9-13-1, which is still better than their home splits of 7-17-1. It was a close game, but for now, Anaheim will need to wait until the next trip to Dallas before they can try and end the streak once and for all.

John Gibson saves 40 shots in valiant effort

While the Ducks came out on the losing side of things on Thursday, goalie John Gibson certainly gave his all in an impressive performance. The Stars managed to spray 44 shots at him in the contest, which was more than double of the 21 shots that Anaheim managed to muster up. Gibson managed to weather the storm in a valiant way, saving 40 shots and keeping the Ducks in the game for as long as he could handle. Unfortunately, it only took Thomas Harley 38 seconds of overtime to get Gibson to give in. On the season, he is 9-19-0 with a 3.06 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Gibson and fellow goalie Lukas Dostal have both provided great effort in their appearances this season and are doing everything that they can to keep the Ducks in competitive games. On the scoring side of things, Anaheim continues to struggle with getting shots at the net and keeping the pressure of their attack on opponents.

Urho Vaakanainen scores the first goal of his career

In the midst of the Ducks overtime loss, the 25-year-old defenseman Urho Vaakanainen managed to secure the very first goal of his NHL career. After spending the first chunk of his career with the Boston Bruins and seeing limited playing time, he became a member of the Ducks during the 2021-2022 season. Since then, he has gradually seen more playing time and has appeared in 40 games for Anaheim so far this year. His goal, which came in the first period, helped the Ducks to tie the score at 1 and kept things close in the beginning.

Additionally, the play saw Jakob Silfverberg earn his 200th NHL assist. As for Vaakanainen, he joins Jackson LaCombe in the club of Ducks players to recently score their first career goals. LaCombe’s goal came just three games ago in a loss to the San Jose Sharks. While the team failed to come away with a W, it was a nice day for Vaakanainen and a milestone that he will always cherish.

Up next for Anaheim is a stop in Minnesota on Saturday night to take on the Wild. Minnesota is currently in second-to-last place in the central division with a record of 21-22-5. It will be a good chance for the Ducks to stop the losing streak at just one game and get back in the win column.

The game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. PT.