Ducks Get the Point
Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 8:02 AM PT
I've never been much of an "at least we got a point" kind of guy. But as disappointing as that shootout with the Kings ended up last night, you had to feel a little fortunate the Ducks came away with something from that night at Staples Center.
The Ducks, by their own admission, were not strong in the first half of that game, and didn't generate a ton offensively until the third period (outshot 29-12 through two). But thanks to the work of Jonas Hiller and the guys in front of him, they were able to keep it a 1-0 game until late in regulation. That's when they caught a break (after being on the wrong side of the breaks earlier in the period), when Justin Williams got his stick blade into Cam Fowler's skate blade and got whistled for the tripping minor. That opened the door for a power play in which the Ducks took quick advantage, Teemu Selanne firing from his familiar left wing circle spot, sneaking the puck past a previously perfect Jonathan Quick.
There was some thought that the puck nicked Corey Perry's shin before squeezing under Quick's arm, but the goal was credited to Selanne. More importantly, it was a Ducks goal, and it forced overtime at a late stage in the game.
For a team stuggling to find the net, even that which seemed like a goal wasn't a goal. Earlier in the third period, Selanne's shot from the right wing kicked off Quick to Ryan Getzlaf, who batted the puck in with his left glove. The goal was waved off on the ice, and replay reviews confirmed that Getzlaf missed touching the disc with his stick by no more than a few inches.
Thankfully for the Ducks, that disappointment didn't sway them from eventually getting the equalizer, ultimately giving way to overtime and a marathon shootout that the Kings took in the seventh round. Both Hiller and Quick were sharp in the tiebreaker, each giving up one conversion (Stoll for LAK; Getzlaf keeping things alive for ANA) before Williams wristed a shot over Hiller's shoulder in the top of the seventh inning. Randy Carlyle countered with defenseman Kurtis Foster, whose wrist shot was denied by Quick for the win.
That dropped the Ducks to 1-3 in the shootout, their only success coming in that second game of the year, against the Rangers in Stockholm. Those three defeats have come in a tough stretch in which the Ducks have won just twice in the last 13 games. Those are the types of numbers that wouldn't need to be thrown about if things had just gone a different way a couple times in that finicky tiebreaker format.
"It's tough to lose a point in that kind of fashion, but I thought the boys played a hard game," Bobby Ryan said. "We had so many chances and Quick was standing on his head, really sucking pucks in and not letting any rebounds or chances for us." Quick, by the way, is reportedly starting in goal again tonight. No word from the Ducks, but there is speculation from Eric Stephens of the OCR that Ellis will be in net.
Just like with "at least we got a point," I'm not a big believer in momentum in sports, especially when it's supposed to be carried from one game to another. That being said, the way the Ducks played in the second half of that game has to be a boost for them going into Game 2 of this Freeway Face-Off home and home, a highly anticipated rematch tonight at Honda Center.
"We got the point and we worked hard for it," Carlyle said. "It’s one shot away in the shootout from being a difference maker. Right now things aren’t going our way, but if we work as hard as we did in the last half of this hockey game, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel."
And that's the beauty of the way this schedule worked out. As much as the Ducks and their fans would like another shot at those Kings after last night, they won't have to wait long for it. It should be a fun one tonight in our building.