The injury-riddled Anaheim Ducks are starting to look like an NHL franchise again. On Wednesday night veteran centre Ryan Kesler made his season debut in the 4-1 loss at the hands of the Vegas Golden Knights. Kesler is only one of the 14 players that have missed a total of 215 man games to lead the NHL in lost ice time amongst injured players this year.
Other players included in this list are Ondrej Kase who missed several games after a late hit he took against the Los Angeles Kings; Ryan Getzlaf missed 18 games after taking a puck up high and broke a bone in his cheek; Patrick Eaves has only played two games all season due to having an immune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome; Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen both missed several games to start the season after having surgeries in the off-season from injuries sustained in last year’s playoffs; both John Gibson and Ryan Miller have missed games throughout the season giving Reto Berra a chance to spread his legs in the NHL before going to the San Diego Gulls in the AHL.
Injured Anaheim Ducks Look Whole Again
Despite all the injuries, the Ducks have still managed to look competitive at times. They remain in good position to jump back into the playoff race. With several Pacific division match-ups coming up the games become four-point games.
Last night’s match-up against the Calgary Flames featured one of the best played first periods from the Ducks in recent memory. They put 20 shots on goal, netting one past veteran goaltender Mike Smith as defenceman Cam Fowler scored his fifth goal of the year. The second period has been trouble all season and this game was no exception. The Flames dominated the second period. They would get the equalizer halfway through the period as Micheal Ferland scored his 15th goal of the season.
The Ducks took the lead early in the third. Rickard Rakell scored on the powerplay. It was his team-leading 12th goal of the season and fourth goal in four games. The final buzzer went off with a 2-1 win for the Ducks over the Flames giving the Ducks a much needed two points. They are back in action on Sunday at 1:00 pm PST against the Arizona Coyotes.
Embed from Getty Images
ANAHEIM, CA – DECEMBER 27: Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) and Vegas Golden Knights leftwing James Neal (18) in action during the first period of a game played on December 27, 2017 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. (Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)