Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 7:39 AM PT
|Remember when the guy on the left was the kid?
Last night, he had a whole new one ready for me, one I never thought I’d hear before.
“Who needs a Perry,” he said with a smile I could hear through the phone, “when you’ve got a Palmieri.”
Indeed, the second straight absence of Corey Perry last night was overshadowed by the work of the 21-year-old Palmieri, who had two goals and contributed to another to help the Ducks trounce the Red Wings 4-0.
It was a depleted Red Wings squad, which again was missing stalwarts Nicklas Lidstrom (bruised ankle) and Pavel Datsyuk (knee surgery). But I don’t care if it’s the entire Grand Rapids Griffins roster wearing those red-and-white unis with the winged wheel. The Red Wings are still the Red Wings, and there is nothing quite so satisfying as beating them. And shutting them out, well that’s a whole different story.
Last night’s blanking, thanks in part to 23 saves by Jonas Hiller, was only the second time in history the Ducks had shut out Detroit (the last coming in May of 1997) and the first time at home. And it came on a night when the Ducks were also missing minutes-eating defenseman Luca Sbisa, who missed a second straight game with back spasms.
“Really?” said Bruce Boudreau after being told it was just the second shutout in 72 games against Detroit. “That seems…that’s really wild.”
All the scoring the Ducks needed was provided by a 21-year-old who came into the game with two career goals, and a 41-year-old who had 659 in his back pocket. Both Palmieri and the aforementioned Selanneeeeeeeee scored in a three-goal barrage in the second period, and it was Palmieri’s pressure on goalie Joey MacDonald, that made Bobby Ryan’s goal in that period possible.
Selanne led things off in that period with a workmanlike power play goal, forcing the puck past MacDonald after Cam Fowler had thrown it on net from the wall. It was his 1,400th NHL point, and it came in front of his boyhood idol Jari Kurri, who happened to be at the game, just two nights after Selanne passed him on the NHL scoring list.
Later in the period, Palmieri provided a beauty of a goal, stripping the puck from a helpless Brendan Smith before going right to the net and backhanding it top shelf (please excuse John Ahlers calling him Bobby Ryan on the video). It looked a little like a certain Ducks legend doing much the same thing in a certain overtime game against the Wings back in ’07, but we won’t go there.
Later in the period, Palmieri hovered over MacDonald enough to force him to stick away Ryan Getzlaf’s pass right to the actual Ryan, who promptly banged it home. And then in the third, the Ducks already comfortably in front, Palmieri artfully reached back to grab a Getzlaf pass, stayed onside and crashed the net for the pretty backhander.
Afterward, Palmieri did what any 21-year-old kid would do to describe a night like that: He used the word “awesome.”
"It was an awesome night for me," said Palmieri, who had an AHL-leading 32 goals in 42 games at Syracuse before being called up on Monday. "I was lucky enough to score two tonight. Confidence, it definitely feels good. Hopefully going forward, I can keep making an impact on the game and help this team put together a nice win streak."
The Ducks took today off from practice, but tomorrow they face another disliked archrival, as the Kings come into town for a Friday night battle. We’ll see if Perry is available for that game, and we’ll also see what Palmieri might do for an encore.
Most of all, I’m just wondering how my dad will describe it afterwards.