Ducks struck by Lightning in overtime loss

Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
The Ducks fell 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Ducks celebrated Women in Sports Night on Sunday, welcoming a collection of women who work in professional sports to Honda Center for their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they concluded a three-game homestand.

Goaltender John Gibson was unavailable for personal reasons, so Alex Stalock was recalled from AHL San Diego. Lukáš Dostál–coming off his first NHL shutout–started for the second consecutive game.

A quiet first period was controlled mostly by Anaheim, who took advantage of the Lightning being without Brayden Point and Victor Hedman, who were both out with lower-body injuries. The Ducks’ fourth line got things going, with Ross Johnston scoring his first goal of the season––and his first with the Ducks––off a deft redirect of a pass from Jakob Silfverberg.

“I thought (Johnston) played a really good game,” said Ducks head coach Greg Cronin. “He could have had some goals earlier this year. It’s always good to get goals from your fourth line. I thought they were really good tonight.”

A couple of penalties gave the Ducks a 5-on-3 advantage five minutes into the second, but it was the Lightning who would score after killing off the two penalties. A turnover in Anaheim’s defensive zone helped create a large rebound off a shot from Nick Perbix and Anthony Duclair’s follow-up shot slipped through Dostál’s pads.

Turnovers would be the culprit for Tampa’s second goal of the game as well, with another misplay in the defensive zone and a big rebound off a nice save from Dostál allowing Luke Glendening to convert into a wide-open net for his 10th goal of the season.

The Ducks drew four penalties, including that two-man advantage in the second period, but failed to convert on any of those opportunities. They’re now 2-for-32 on the power play in March, a far cry from their 32% conversion rate on the man advantage in February.

“The power play, it goes in streaks,” said Cronin. “It could have won us the game tonight. There’s been players in and out (of the lineup due to injuries), so I think, in some ways, (assistant coach Newell Brown) has had a mixed bag a lot of times, so some of that’s chemistry. But, I’ve got a good feeling that we’ll get back on track.”

Anaheim would tie the game early in the third, with Pavel Mintyukov scoring off a rush created by Max Jones and Brett Leason. It was the first goal from a Ducks defenseman since Cam Fowler’s tally more than a month ago in a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.

This game would require overtime as the two teams remained even through 60 minutes of play. However, it didn’t take long for the Lightning to head home with the extra point. After Mason McTavish knocked down a pass in his own zone and led a rush back the other way, his drop pass to Cam Fowler was out of reach for the defenseman and fell right to the stick of Anthony Cirelli, who turned back the other way with Brandon Hagel by his side. Cirelli dished to Hagel and then finished off the return pass for the game-winner.

“That was a solid game for us,” said Johnston. “Played a full 60 (minutes) for the most part. That’s a team that’s going to get (offensive zone) time, you try to keep them to the outside. Overall, I thought it was a good effort. When you get to overtime, the game can go either way.”