Corey Perry scored two goals and added two assists as the Anaheim Ducks scored a come-from-behind 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Ryan Getzlaf and Sami Vatanen also scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 24 saves as Anaheim defended home ice with a victory. Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford scored goals for the Jets in the loss.
The game got off to a rollicking start as both teams came out of the gate firing, and the Ducks drew first blood on home ice. Andrew Ladd had the puck stripped from him in the defensive zone after a huge hit from Ryan Getzlaf, and he fed a pass to Sami Vatanen. Vatanen then fired a shot toward the net, and Etem deflected it past Ondrej Pavelec to make it a 1-0 game just two minutes in.
The Jets responded quickly, scoring a minute later. Adam Lowry laid a huge hit at center ice to jar the puck loose, and he made a break into the zone. Finding an open seam, Jacob Trouba feathered a perfect pass across the ice to a wide open Lowry, and he pushed a shot past Frederik Andersen to tie things up at 1-1.
Things calmed down just a little bit over the next few minutes, but the Jets started pushing back hard and got a power play just after the halfway point of the period. The Ducks did a really nice job on the ensuing penalty kill, forechecking aggressively at the blue line and clearing the puck several times to finish off the power play without issue.
In the final minutes of the period, both teams traded some quality chances, and the action continued until the very end of the period. Andersen made a big save at one end with about 10 seconds remaining in the frame, and then Perry was stopped by Pavelec at the other to keep things tied up at 1-1 after 20 minutes of intense action.
As the second period got underway, the Ducks’ second line did some of its best work, but the Jets withstood the barrage and took the lead about five minutes into the frame. Mark Schiefele got things started as he pinched in on a rush, and as Andersen kept an eye on him, Drew Stafford stormed into the zone and fired a shot just inside the near post to make it a 2-1 game.
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The period continued with the Jets getting the majority of the chances, but the Ducks slowly but surely began seizing the momentum of the game. Getzlaf had a big chance really close to the crease that Pavelec steered aside, and then Matt Beleskey had a chance that went just over the top of the cage. The Ducks’ physicality ended up leading to trouble for the Jets, as Schiefele was sent to the box just before the end of the period.
As the third period got underway, the Ducks took advantage of their power play and tied things up at 2-2. After all five players touched the puck in the offensive zone, Patrick Maroon deflected a shot toward the net, and even though Pavelec made the initial save, Perry collected the rebound and quickly flipped it home to tie things up early in the frame.
The Ducks got another power play near the halfway point of the period, but the Jets killed it off and nearly took the lead as Ladd got a huge chance. Andersen was able to make the save however, and the game remained tied.
With about six and a half minutes to go in the game, Perry acted as though he scored his second goal of the game as he backhanded a rebound shot toward the net. The shot kicked out and the official waved it off, but after the next stoppage in play the officials reviewed it and ruled that it was a good goal, giving the Ducks a 3-2 lead.
The Ducks scored again with about three minutes remaining in regulation as they got yet another power play. Perry passed the puck below the goal line to Getzlaf, and the Ducks’ captain slowly skated it back toward the slot. In one fluid motion, he flicked his wrists and fired a shot past Pavelec to give the Ducks a 4-2 lead, which they held onto for the remainder of the contest.
The Ducks will look to seize a 2-0 lead when the series resumes on Saturday night, with Game 2 starting at 7:30 p.m. local time.