ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks are four points out of first place in the division after weekend wins over Buffalo and San Jose.
The Ducks took a point in Friday night’s shootout loss to the Sabres, a game in which Six Nations Brandon Montour assisted on one and scored on the shootout.
Then, Saturday night, the Ducks were up against the first place Sharks in an important game as Anaheim strives to overtake the Sharks for first place as the playoff season draws near.
In any one goal game, chances missed and chances saved are all the more important and although Montour did not show up on the score sheet, he definitely saved a goal in tight on his goaltender,
Montour deflected a shot that was headed for an open part of Jonathan Bernier’s cage, out of harm’s way.
Montour assisted on Anaheim’s first goal and scored his first shoot out goal, Friday night against the Buffalo Sabres in Anaheim. The Buffalo Sabres ultimately won 2-1 by winning the shoot-out, but Montour had a big night and look comfortable with his NHL surroundings all game.
The fact Montour was asked to take a shot to determine the game after a 1-1 regular time tie, shows the confidence the Ducks have in their young blue liner.
Montour set up the first goal of the game from the side of the Buffalo net backhanding a pass to the point to Cam Fowler who fired a hard slap shot which Buffalo goalie Anders Nilsson for the first goal of the game. Montour, usually on the point is known and respected for his ability to get deep into the zone to create opportunities like this one.
Then, with the score tied and nothing decided in the OT period, it came down a shootout. In the ninth round of shooters, Montour’s number was called and he made no mistake, counting on his accurate shot and quick delivery. He came down from the left wing side of the ice an cut in front when he let loose a rocket from well out which caught the glove-side top corner on Nilsson.
His return to the players bench after the goal showed smiles and high fives for their young defenseman from Six Nations.
Montour was drafted by the Ducks in 2014, second round, 25th pick, (55th overall). Since then he has been working hard with the AHL affiliate San Diego Gulls and has been blossoming well.
He was called up to the NHL squad to fill a hole left by a sick Anaheim defenseman and has not looked back, playing 18 games so far for the Ducks. His goal and assist Friday night will help secure his spot with the NHL Ducks.
One point is much better than no points, but on this given night, coach Randy Carlyle wasn’t entirely happy with the level of play by the team as a whole against the Sabers.
“I didn’t think we were sharp with the puck to night,” said Carlyle. “I think we had 22 shots directed towards the net and missed the net.”
The Ducks host the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday and the Stars in Dallas, Monday. The Ducks have to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror with the Oilers coming on only two points behind them. Wednesday’s game will be an important one as well.