Ducks KO'd in 14th round of a shootout with Islanders, 3-2
By Curtis Zupke
Nov 23, 2016 at 1:50 AM
The hockey gods must be Kase, er, crazy.
Maybe if they were kinder, they would have seen that Ducks rookie Ondrej Kase got his first NHL goal after he hit the post in the second and third period. But they decided to torment Anaheim more in the form of another post struck by Ryan Kesler late in regulation, then in a controversial upheld goal that kept a shootout going for the Islanders in a 3-2 win by New York at Honda Center.
Nick Leddy scored the game-winner in the 14th round to end the longest shootout in Anaheim history, one the Ducks thought they had wrapped up following Shea Theodore's 12th-round score.
Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier appeared to stop Thomas Hickey's backhander in the 12th round, but it stood after a review determined there was no goalie interference on the play. The Ducks argued that Hickey illegally jammed the puck over the line by pushing Bernier's pad.
"I think it was pretty obvious," Bernier said. "I made the save. My skate was going right to the post where I wanted to be, and he pushed me in."
Said Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler: "They called it a goal, and we still had an opportunity after that. I wasn't able to make it happen [in the sixth round], but I'm proud of our guys for battling, and the same with Bernier. He kept us in there during that shootout."
Four times the Ducks scored to set up a game-winning save for Bernier, including an impressive backhand by Kase in the seventh round. But the Islanders responded each time to keep it going.
"I take this loss on my shoulder," Bernier said. "The guys battled really hard. I didn't make that [save on the] first goal. That's me. But I thought we stuck with it. We kept putting lot of pressure in the third. We found a way to make it 2-2, and I've just got to make that extra save in the shootout."
That the Ducks got it to overtime was almost victory enough after they lost defenseman Sami Vatanen after the first period because of illness, the team said.
Others stepped to the forefront, specifically the unheralded third line of Kase, Antoine Vermette and Nick Ritchie, which was Anaheim's best line late in the game as it pressed the Islanders for chances.
But it was more heroics from Rickard Rakell that tied it 2-2. He finished a deft sliding pass by Corey Perry for his second third-period goal in as many games and his seventh goal this season.
The Islanders scored twice in five minutes for a 2-1 lead in the first period, and both goals came on shots from the right side. Adam Pelech's shot appeared to have been tipped by John Tavares, but Pelech was later credited, and Tavares spotted Josh Bailey for a one-time power-play strike that made it through a crowded net area.
The Ducks started strong, though, in a reversal of their previous game, a too-late loss to the Kings. Fowler scored on the power play 64 seconds into the game with a hard slap shot that deflected off Islander wing Cal Clutterbuck's skate.
Vatanen's absence shift-ed responsibility to rookie Theodore as he returned to the lineup in his latest audition in what has been a season-long shuttle between Anaheim and San Diego. Some of that has to do with Anaheim's attempt to stay salary-cap compliant, but Coach Ron Carlyle also said three weeks ago that Theodore's confidence was "rattled." Theodore said before the game that it feels like a new challenge each time.
"I know I didn't have too great of games in the past," Theodore said. "So you come up and you try to prove yourself and try and play your own game and have a strong game, and that's kind of what I'm trying to do."