Swede Finnish to Ducks Euro Trip
Monday, 10.10.2011 / 8:03 AM PT
It happened 5,600 miles away from Anaheim, but the feeling reverberated through Ducks fans from Orange County to Stockholm:
Stor lättnad. (That's Swedish for great relief.)
When Bobby Ryan slipped that unintentional changeup by nearly unbeatable Henrik Lundqvist in the shootout, and minutes later Jonas Hiller splayed out to deny Artem Anisimov, our biggest fear -- that the Ducks would leave this Euro trip without a win -- were assuaged. The Ducks, after suffering a 4-1 defeat the night before in Finland, pulled off a 2-1 victory that had to make that long flight back to Cali so much sweeter.
Hiller, playing a second straight night only faced 15 shots in regulation and overtime, saving 14 of them and earning his first win since (wait for it) February 13. In the shootout, his stop on Anisimov came just after a beauty of a kick save on Zuccarello (two names, by the way, that get you a ton of points in Words with Friends).
Lundqvist, meanwhile, denied a pretty decent first three in Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne, and it's no coincidence that the only thing the Ducks were able to get by him in the shootout was a shot that definitely didn't go as planned. Ryan, looking to go low glove with the shot, didn't get much of the puck, and the unexpected change of speed fooled Lundqvist enough to get between his leg pads.
“I’m going to label that a fortunate miss,” said Ryan, who had a guilty smile on his face as he headed back to the bench. “I’ll take that lucky break any day ... I think if I would have hit my mark I would have missed because he was already there.”
Lunqvist's 27 saves included a could of stops from point blank on what appeared to be sure Ducks goals, including this robbery on Ryan himself in the second period after a great Getzlaf feed. And Hiller was perfect until a potentially heartbreaking goal from Brad Richards tied the game 1-1 with 2:15 left.
But just as they had done for the rest of the game, the Ducks defense (despite still missing Toni Lydman) shut down the Rangers for the rest of the way, and Hiller did the work on his own in the shootout.
Anaheim's long regulation goal came courtesy of the exciting third line of Andrew Gordon, Andrew Cogliano and Devante Smith-Pelly (we need a name for this line ASAP). After an errant Gordon pass on the rush, both he and DSP chased the loose puck down in the corner, with Gordon unexpectedly sending it in front, where Cogliano punched it in.
First goal as a Duck for Cogliano, first point as an NHLer for DSP, and for Gordon, further validation for the Ducks giving him a chance out of training camp.
The game wasn't a pretty one by any means, with the Rangers and Ducks combining for 19 penalties, 12 of those in the first period alone. All of those penalties could have been partly credited to two tired teams, especially the Ducks, who spent a whirlwind week in Finland before moving over to Stockholm for this game, and arriving at their hotels at 3 a.m. One of the penalties we don't mind, however, was a beauty of a fight won by George Parros over Michael Rupp in that first period.
Parros, according to OC Register writer Jeff Miller, was among the first off the plane when the Ducks landed back in LAX (after two flights totalling nearly nearly 13 hours) at around 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning, tending to his wife Tiffany, who gave birth two twins (Lola and James) last week. The Ducks were mercifully given the rest of Sunday off, but are back at it today at Honda Center to get ready for their first game in the States -- the home opener vs. San Jose on Friday night.
“I would say (we’re) ready to get home, huge,” Ryan said. “It was a great trip…it was a cool thing. But it doesn’t always necessarily put you in the best chance to win. This team is happy to have had the opportunity, but happy to go home, as well.”