RECAP: Perry blasts Ducks past Jets 4-2 in playoff opener
Corey Perry scored two goals in the third period of a four-point performance, and the Anaheim Ducks rallied from another late deficit for a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night in their first-round series opener.
Perry scored the tiebreaking goal with 6:39 to play, but the officials didn’t immediately see that the puck had crossed the goal line near Ondrej Pavelec’s outstretched pad.
The teams played on for 62 seconds until a stoppage allowed video review. The tape confirmed another impressive third-period rally by the Ducks, who had 24 comeback wins in the regular season.
Rookie Adam Lowry and Drew Stafford scored for the Jets in their first postseason game since the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Canada four years ago.
Game 2 is Saturday night at Honda Center.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Sami Vatanen each had a goal and two assists, while Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the Pacific Division champion Ducks.
Perry did much of the work, awakening the Ducks’ offense nearly by himself. He tied it with his 23rd career playoff goal on a power play early in the third period, ending Anaheim’s seven-game power-play drought.
Just over 12 minutes later, Perry drove the net and shoved a rebound just over the line for the go-ahead goal, raising his hands in celebration – but he was on the bench by the time officials agreed with him. Fans at Honda Center who could see video replays of Perry’s goal began to roar before the ruling, and it rippled through the arena.
Vatanen scored the Ducks’ opening goal, and Getzlaf added a power-play goal with 3:05 to play.
Pavelec stopped 29 shots in his NHL playoff debut for a franchise that hadn’t been in the postseason since 2007. A team located in Winnipeg hadn’t made the playoffs since 1996, months before that franchise became the Coyotes.
With Teemu Selanne watching from a luxury suite, the Finnish Flash’s first and last NHL teams got their first playoff series off to a bad-tempered start.
The clubs played their opener at a fierce tempo, delivering brutal checks and moving the puck aggressively on almost every shift. Both teams have ample motivation going into the postseason, with the Ducks eager to shake their underachieving reputation and the Jets determined to excel in their debuts.
Less than two minutes after the Ducks took the ice in front of a frenzied Orange County crowd waving orange towels, Vatanen put them ahead with his first career playoff goal. But 49 seconds later, the 22-year-old Lowry scored in his playoff debut.
Stafford put the Jets ahead early in the second period with a quick shot on an odd-man rush. Anaheim was awful in the second period for much of its otherwise successful season, and the trend continued in the playoffs.
But after Winnipeg missed on numerous scoring chances, the Ducks finally pushed back late in the period and finally earned their first power play when Mark Scheifele overreacted after a whistle – and Perry capitalized.
NOTES: The Jets scratched injured C Mathieu Perreault, who missed the season finale with a lower-body injury. Perreault revitalized his career with Anaheim last season before signing with Winnipeg as a free agent. … The Ducks scratched injured center Nate Thompson and three healthy late-season acquisitions: James Wisniewski, Jiri Sekac and Tomas Fleischmann. Rookie Chris Wagner made his playoff debut in his 10th NHL game overall. … Ducks D Francois Beauchemin’s stick went flying 10 rows into the stands in the second period. Everybody seemed to be OK.