Struck by Lightning
|Not a bad night for these two dudes.
After all, Anaheim had gone the last nine games with at least one point, and won outright in six of those. And last night, they appeared to outplay and outchance the Lightning, only to come away with a disappointing 3-2 loss. Tampa had traded winger Steve Downie earlier in the day and also had lost No. 2 goal-scorer and captain Vincent Lecavalier to a right hand. But they still have Steven Stamkos, and that was more than evident last night.
The league's leading goal-scorer struck twice (even though they say Lightning never does) at the very start and near the end of the first period, to put the Ducks in an early hole. “I think he’s a tremendous hockey player,” Bruce Boudreau told the OC Register. ”But I’m glad he’s in this division now and I’m not.”
And even though Anaheim fought back in the second with an early goal by Saku Koivu and a late one from Bobby Ryan, they bookended a Teddy Purcell strike that was enough to bury the Ducks.
Ryan's goal was a thing of beauty, as he redirected a Koivu pass between his own legs with his back to the net. Take a look at his latest edition to the highlight reel:
But while the Ducks generated plenty of chances to get the tying goal, they couldn't get anything else past one-time King Mathieu Garon, whose 28 saves included 11 in the third. (Meanwhile, the Ducks limited Tampa to just 16 shots the entire night.)
So while the Ducks appeared to have the upper hand on yet another opponent on this mammoth road trip, they couldn't make up ground in the standings. And Phoenix's win over LA (which of course came in a shootout) meant the Ducks slightly dropped to six points back of the eighth spot, currently held by the KIngs.
"When you get into that feeling that you're going to win every single game, it's a good feeling," Bruce Boudreau told the OC Register. "But in the end, you're not going to win 35 in a row."
It's true, but there were times it seemed like the Ducks would at least get points in every game from here on out. They'll try to start a new streak -- while sealing off this eight-game trip on a good note -- tomorrow night in Carolina.
"I really believe this team can do it."
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As Jonas Hiller has been in net for each of the last 19 games for the Ducks (and been outstanding in them), there hasn't been much thought about the Ducks' backup goalies. Jeff Deslauriers and Iiro Tarkki have each split time as the guy in the baseball cap while Dan Ellis has been out the last six weeks with a nagging groin injury, but it appears Ellis is poised to return as early as next week.
“He’s getting better,” Boudreau told the OC Register. “I’m hoping by the time we get to practice at home next week that he’s practicing with us.”
Since Hiller continues to be a workhorse for the Ducks, Ellis has only appeared in 10 games this season (2.72 goals-against average).
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|Photo by Rose Palmisano of the OC Register
The Mural depicts a Ducks goalie stationed in front of the net, in classic netminder pose. The face on the goalie is that of Yvonne Jordan.
Behind her, in the stands, are the faces of her husband, Damien, and the Jordans' children, Aden and Gabrielle.
"We have to warn people before they go in that bathroom," Damien says. "It can be a little shocking at first. They say stuff like, 'I don't want to go in there and have Yvonne staring at me.'"Anyone who believes they are the biggest Ducks fan around might need to reset their sights. Whenever Damien's father, Paul, encounters someone who makes that claim, he says something like, "No, you have no idea," and then he reaches into his wallet, where he carries a picture of The Mural.
Make sure you click the MORE PHOTOS link in the story to see the other Ducks-centric stuff in their house. Truly incredible.
(I'm hoping she's a big enough fan that she reads this blog as well.)