Not many Ducks are getting bounces, but Rickard Rakell got a perfect one Sunday night.
Shortly after Los Angeles had scored in the second period of Sunday’s game, Anaheim found themselves with possession of the puck in the Kings zone. Rakell made a slick touch pass back to Kevin Bieksa, who fired a pass over to Shea Theodore. With the puck at the blueline, Rakell went directly to the front of the net.
However, with Theodore hanging on to the puck a split-second longer than anticipated, Rakell made himself available for a pass to the left of goaltender Jonathan Quick. Rakell’s extra stride seemingly put him out of position when Theodore’s shot came towards the net, but the Ducks winger reached back with one hand and, with a flick of his wrists, deflected the puck over the shoulder of Quick:
One would think this had to be entirely accidental — how could he plan that deflection, right? — but watch the way Rakell turns his wrist over and manipulates his stick as the puck is coming in. Rakell knew exactly what he was doing and it worked to perfection. It was a big goal, too, as it came 33 seconds after Los Angeles had scored to take 1-0 lead. That’s the kind of response Anaheim has been missing all season.
The tally was Rakell’s ninth of the season, which ties a career high set last season, and gives him 20 points on the year. Rakell, 22, is now 11 points away from equaling his career-best for points with 38 games remaining in the campaign.