By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Hold a team to just 12 shots on goal and you’re usually going to get the win. But the Ducks needed overtime to take down Colorado at Honda Center, and defenseman Mathieu Schneider ended it with a pretty goal 3:31 into the extra session to give them a 2-1 victory.
In a game where the Ducks dominated on defense, it was appropriate that Schneider scored the winner and fellow d-man Chris Pronger had the tying goal in the third period to send it to overtime.
|In just his third game back, Scott Niedermayer helped the Ducks defense hold Colorado to just 12 shots on goal.
The Ducks outshot the Avalanche 38-12 in regulation and the first 3 ½ minutes of OT, but didn’t get the victory until Schneider finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Chris Kunitz. After Ducks starting goalie Jonas Hiller denied Colorado’s T.J. Hensick on a 2-on-1 charge to the net, the Ducks took it the other way. Kunitz fed Schneider on a 2-on-1 against defenseman Scott Hannan, who dove to the ice to squelch a return pass. Schneider instead sent a wrister over Hannan and past the outstretched glove of Budaj.
The way we played tonight was a pretty outstanding effort, especially playing on back-to-back nights and three games in four nights," Schneider said. "That should have been a four or five goal game easily. We generated a lot of chances tonight. If we do that consistently, we’re going to win a lot of games."
It was the second straight fine defensive effort by Anaheim, in Scott Niedermayer’s third game back with the team. Last night at San Jose, the Ducks gave up just 20 shots in a 2-0 shutout behind J.S. Giguere. Backup Hiller wasn’t overly busy on this night, and he denied all but one Colorado shot.
The 12 shots allowed was a season low by a mile for Anaheim, whose previous best this year was 19 on two different occasions. It was also one short of the franchise record for shots allowed. Uncharacteristic of this year's Ducks, they committed just one penalty (not including the fighting major for George Parros in his second period bout with Scott Parker) and killed it off. The Ducks have killed 15 straight power plays going back to Dec. 14 versus Minnesota (four games).
|Corey Perry had a game-high eight shots on goal, tying his season high.
The Ducks put plenty of shots on Budaj on the night, but he was able to stop everything until Anaheim tied it 1-1 in the third on Chris Pronger’s sixth goal of the season, just 3:45 into the segment. Todd Marchant set it up by dropping the puck to rookie Ryan Carter, whose wrist shot was kicked away by Budaj right to a charging Pronger and the defenseman was able to redirect it back in the net. Carter, playing his seventh game of the regular season and second since being called up by Anaheim on Monday, earned his first NHL point on the play.
"We’ve been talking about it for the last little while of getting into the play and trying to close the gap," Pronger said. "I saw a little opportunity to go through to the net. Carter made a great shot. The goalie kicked the rebound out and I was fortunate. I think it went through his legs."
The Ducks were dominant the rest of the period, outshooting Colorado 13-3, but couldn’t get anything else past Budaj, despite several chances.
The Ducks controlled play in the first period, holding Colorado to just three shots while getting off 12 of their own, none of which found the net. That was the theme for most of the second, though Colorado found the net on one of their six shots at 8:33 into the second period. That’s when Cody McCormick corralled a nice Ian Laperriere pass from behind the net at the top of the crease and wristed it under the top right corner.
The Ducks put 21 shots on goal through the first two periods (five alone from leading goal-scorer Corey Perry) and missed the net altogether on another 12 tries.
"We played a decent first period, a better second and then certainly a lot better third," Pronger said. "Slowly, you saw the ice tilt in our favor. We just kept throwing wave after wave at them. It’s nice to see when you get all four lines involved like we did tonight. It’s fun to play."
Anaheim will look keep the fun going when they face the Sharks for the third time in six days, Saturday night in San Jose.
"We have to build off these last couple efforts," Schneider said. "You can feel the tide turning in the dressing room. When [Doug Weight] and Scotty came in the room, I think there’s just a different feeling. You can sense that some of the guys have their swagger back a little bit. That little cockiness is important to have on a winning club. I think we have a lot of good nights ahead of us."
Over the last three games, the Ducks have allowed only two goals (not including San Jose’s “shootout goal” on Dec. 16 at Honda Center). Going back to Dec. 14 versus Minnesota, the Ducks have given up only two goals in their last 212:21 of play (including the five-minute overtime session, Dec. 16 vs. SJ and 3:31 of overtime tonight).
Anaheim has earned at least one standings point in six of their last nine contests (5-3-1).
Ryan Carter earned his first NHL point (an assist) this evening.
Chris Kunitz has a two-game assist streak (0-2=2).
Jonas Hiller won his second game of the season (first career OT win), stopping 11-of-12 shots.
Tonight’s game marked the Ducks’ 53rd consecutive sellout (17,174) at Honda Center (41 regular season plus 12 playoff games). Anaheim’s sellout streak is the third-longest among U.S.-based NHL teams.
3:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATHIEU SCHNEIDER - After Hiller is able to deny T.J. Hensick on a 2-on-1 charge to the net, the Ducks take it the other way. Kunitz and Schneider are on a 2-on-1 against Scott Hannan. Kunitz gives it to Schneider, who looks like he wants to give it back. But as Hannan dives to the ice to block the pass, Schneider sends it over him to the net and past the outstretched glove of Budaj. The Ducks win it in OT.
2:34 - Marchant shoots it off the loose puck, but it hits the pads.
1:50 - Weight looks like he might get one as he pounces on it near the bottom of the right circle, but it's knocked away.
1:10 - Pronger waits an eternity to shoot, and finally gets one off that hits Bertuzzi in front.
0:00 - We're underway.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks can't generate much in the final seconds and we're going to overtime with 1:38 of power play time left. Anaheim outshoots Colorado 13-3 in the period, giving them a 34-12 advantage in the game. But they can't get anything through aside from Pronger's marker at 3:45. It's shocking this game is tied.
19:37 - COL Penalty - Cody McCormick, 2 min. delay of game. McCormick sends it over the glass accidentally. Big opportunity for the Ducks. They'll take the power pla into OT if they can't bury one in regulation.
19:10 - Stastny looks like he might have some room to take a shot, but Scotty knocks it away without his heart rate changing.
16:25 - Weight's shot rebounds right to Kunitz in the slot, and his wicked one-timer is saved. The Ducks can't seem to buy one.
14:39 - The official gets tagged by a puck in the gut and blows the whistle seconds later, seemingly to catch his breath.
How come every time J.S. Giguere is shown on the bench in his ballcap he looks really puffy and sleepy? I've never been able to figure that out.
15:05 - Stastny chases the puck behind the Ducks net with a ton of speed. The kid can skate.
10:38 - Rob Niedermayer has the puck with some room and only Budaj to beat, but the diving goalie deflects it over the net. Great save.
8:59 - The Ducks continue to pepper Budaj more shots than a fraternity initiation.
7:46 - Bertuzzi's shot rebounds in front to Getzlaf, but he can't get the right angle on it to send it back.
5:15 - Kunitz puts a hard check on Clark to pry the puck away, getting it to Ryan who makes a nice pass to himself off the boards, but can't do anything else.
3:45 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS PRONGER - Todd Marchant drops a pass to rookie Ryan Carter, and his wrist shot is kicked away by Budaj, but right to a charging Pronger, who is able to flick it back in. First career point for Carter and it's 1-1.
2:10 - Corey Perry
bats a bouncing puck just past the cage.
0:00 - We're in motion in the third, the Ducks needing an equalizer.
Throughout these games lately, the Ducks have been showing video messages from the Ducks where they "wish everyone a Happy Holidays." Why does almost every player look like he's reading a ransom demand on each of them? How 'bout a smile or two, guys? At least Brad May's had personality, as he did it with his two kids, but he felt the need to explain that his wife couldn't make it.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks once again appear to control play, giving up just six shots to the Avs in the period and getting off 9 of their own. But Colorado gets one from McCormick at 8:33 to lead 1-0.
19:45 - Perry takes the puck away and carves out a shot from the right circle, but Budaj chests it.
17:35 - Bobby Ryan
makes a mistake by not shooting the puck on a Ducks rush, but makes up for it with a nice steal to keep it in the zone.
17:15 - Moen is without a stick momentarily, putting the Ducks at a disadvantage before Hiller wisely freezes it after a save.
15:10 - The Ducks put a plethora of shots on Budaj, keeping the puck in the Colorado zone for an eternity, before it's finally cleared out and iced. The Avs got help from Hannan, who dove on the puck out of desperation and sent it backwards through his legs toward the corner.
12:28 - Sammy Pahlsson makes a nice steal of the puck at the blueline, but can't do anything with it as he tries to create some offense.
10:46 - Bobby Ryan
makes a nice drop to Kunitz, whose shot is denied. Weight picks it up and tries to send a shot behind himself, but Budaj is ready for it.
10:31 - George Parros
and Scott Parker, possibly the ugliest guy in the league, drop the gloves off the draw. The decision appears to go to Parker, who gets George's jersey over his head. But Parros doesn't quit throwing blows with the shirt halfway off, until they both run out of gas.
10:15 - Hiller makes a nice save in front as Wolski charges the net.
8:33 - COLORADO GOAL - CODY MCCORMICK - Ian Laperriere slips a pass from behind the net to McCormick at the top of the crease, and McCormick roofs the wrist shot into the top right corner. It's only the sixth shot of the game for the Avs, and McCormick's first goal since the 2005-06 season. Ducks down 1-0.
7:58 - Marchant somehow loses his glove while trying to go after the puck. Parros tries to give it back to him and runs into him instead. George is used to taking gloves off, not putting them back on.
By the way, I missed the holiday edition of Fantasy Broadcaster, but word is that they re-enacted the Christmas lights scene from Christmas Vacation and it was a disaster. The best thing about Christmas coming is that after it's over, we can scrap the holiday version of that thing.
4:47 - Kunitz nicely steals the puck in the Avs zone and tries to send a pass in front to Weight, but Budaj punches it away.
3:45 - Hiller gloves a bad-angle shot from Hejduk. "Hej-duk ... Don't be afraid."
0:00 - The puck is put in play for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It's classic Ducks hockey as they hold the Avs to just three shots on goal, while Anaheim gets off 13. We're tied at a donut apiece after one.
19:55 - Getzlaf gets his stick on a loose puck with the net wide open and flicks it past a diving Budaj, but it runs through the crease and just outside the right post.
18:41 - With all the room in the world, Ryan Getzlaf
takes about an hour and a half to wind up for a slapper from the top of the circle, but Budaj is ready for it.
17:50 - COL Penalty - Scott Hannan, 2 min. interference. Hannan blocks Ryan Carter
's path to the little black disc.
15:50 - Getzlaf makes a pass to Bertuzzi in the slot and his redirect attempt is denied.
During the timeout, it's the return of the Holiday Kiss Cam. A couple of people get a little carried away with it and it goes from cute to uncomfortable in a hurry.
11:50 - Rob Niedermayer takes a shot from the left wing that rebounds off the goalie right to Beauchemin, whose redirection try goes under Budaj but outside the left post.
The tennis balls are in their normal spot behind the Ducks 1st and 3rd period shooting goal, but they're seven rows up, rather than their usual five.
11:39 - Moen gets hit hard in the slot in the Colorado zone and gets revenge by drilling Stastny at center ice, then pushing him back down as he gets to his feet.
10:48 - Carter feeds Marchant in the slot and the shot flies over the net.
9:48 - Getzlaf gives Perry a pass off the right wing boards and Perry's one-timer is kicked away nicely.
8:10 - Beauchemin takes a hard shot from the point that Budaj stops and Kunitz can't put a stick on the rebound.
4:45 - Rob Niedermayer makes a pass from behind the net that gets by intended target Doug Weight, right to Bobby Ryan
, who whiffs on the one-time attempt.
2:06 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. tripping. Perry gets an early one as John-Michael Liles goes after an Oscar nomination while flopping to the ice, seemingly before Perry's stick got near him.
1:29 - Sean O'Donnell snaps one off from the blueline, but Budaj saves and holds.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center after a wonderful rendition of the national anthem by the four-woman a capella group, the Harborlites Quartet.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jonas Hiller
; COL Peter Budaj
Starting Skaters: ANA Mathieu Schneider, George Parros
, Todd Marchant
, Kent Huskins, Ryan Carter
; COL Jeff Finger, Cody McCormick, Ian Laperriere, Scott Hannan, Ben Guite
Scratches: ANA Shane Hnidy, Drew Miller, Joe DiPenta; COL Brad Richardson, Jordan Leopold, Ryan Smyth