By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – One fear the Ducks had when they lost goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to the Phoenix Coyotes via waivers last November was that with him landing on a division rival, Anaheim would have to face him several times a year.
Bryzgalov has made that fear a harsh reality.
|The Ducks' home opener was spoiled in a 4-2 loss at the hands of an improved Phoenix team.
The Phoenix netminder continued his mastery of the team he spent parts of five seasons with, stopping 33 of 35 Anaheim shots to secure a 4-2 Coyotes win and spoil the home opener at Honda Center. In the process, he ran his record to 4-1 in five games against Anaheim, with a goals against average of 2.05.
But it wasn't just Bryzgalov that caused problems for Ducks, who for the second straight game couldn't get much going.
"There were a lot of things that weren’t how we need them to be," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. We’re just not where we need to be mentally with our focus. We’re working, but we’re not working smart and we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re chipping when we should be passing and passing when we should be getting it in. That seems to be pretty much how our game is going right now. It’s back to basics. We’ll start from scratch and make an improvement that way."
It was the second time in two games the Ducks dug a major hole in the second period, as they let in two goals to give Phoenix a 3-0 lead that would prove too much to tackle. The Coyotes jumped ahead 2-0 less than two minutes into the second, as a Steven Reinprecht saucer pass hit Shane Doan in stride on the breakaway, and Doan made a nice move to his left before slipping the puck through goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Seven minutes later, rookie Kyle Turris (the third overall selection in the ’07 draft), notched his first career goal to give Phoenix a 3-0 advantage. A Keith Yandle pass bounced off Turris and into Giguere, but the goalie couldn’t freeze the puck, as Turris dug it out from under him and chipped it through the net. It was technically not a power play goal since Kent Huskins’ delay of game minor expired two seconds prior to the goal, but Huskins had not yet jumped into the play after leaving the box.
Unlike the season opener, when the Ducks were outshot by San Jose 21-3 in the second period, Anaheim had the major advantage in that department this time. They put 15 shots on net to just five for Phoenix, but the Coyotes connected on two of those.
|Parros had a late goal for the Ducks, but it wasn't enough.
The Ducks were able to strike back with Ryan Carter’s first of the year, a wrist shot from the top of the right circle after a cross-ice feed from Corey Perry that zipped under the outstretched leg pad of Bryzgalov.
Already looking like they had the game in hand last in the third period, Phoenix made it 4-1 with 3:40 left when the puck bounced off Giguere and into the crease, squirting out to Doan, who pushed it through traffic over the stripe.
Anaheim countered just 13 seconds last on George Parros’ first of the year, a hard wrister from the top of the right circle that sailed under Bryzgalov’s arm. But with 3:27 left in the game and Phoenix up two goals, it wasn’t enough for Anaheim, who fell to 0-2 on the season.
"It was disappointing and not for lack of effort. I thought we tried," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "The frustration level seems to go up early here for our group when we lack execution. We just seem to be turning the puck over far too many times. It seems toward the end of the game we got more involved emotionally."
The Ducks frustration was let loose with just 0.3 seconds left in the game, as a major brawl broke out between both teams, involving Ducks Corey Perry, Chris Pronger and Ryan Getzlaf, with several penalties being handed out for both sides. The most ugly incident involved Perry and Martin Hanzal, as Hanzal continued to throw punches at Perry's head after Perry had gone down to the ice and the official had wedged his way in between the two.
The Ducks will look to bounce back against another division rival Tuesday night, as they take on the Kings at Staples Center.
Ducks forward Rob Niedermayer left the game in the first period with a leg bruise and did not return. Ducks enforcer Brad May was a scratch.
"We know we can be better," Scott Niedermayer said. "When you have two nights like we’ve had in the first two games, it’s not very fun."
Said Teemu Selanne, "It’s frustrating right now. The good thing about this league is we’re going to have a game Tuesday again. There are a couple of things we have to fix and just be better."
20:00 - END OF GAME - It ends in ugly fashion, as the Ducks fall 4-2 to Phoenix in the home opener.
19:59 - ANA Penalties - Ryan Getzlaf
, 5 min. fighting, Corey Perry
, 2 min. roughing and Chris Kunitz, 2 min. roughing and 10 min. inciting and Chris Pronger, 10 min. misconduct. PHX Penalties - Kurt Sauer, 5 min. fighting, Daniel Winnik, 10 min. misconduct and Ilya Bryzgalov, 2 min. leaving the crease. Things get completely out of hand as three different fights break out in different spots on the ice. Corey Perry
and Martin Hanzal go at it, as Hanzel continues to try and pound on Perry after Perry goes down to the ice and the official jumps in between them. Getzlaf, meanwhile, is going at it with Kurt Sauer behind the Phoenix goal. When it's cleaned up, Gretzky is shown on the video board screaming at Ducks players. Seconds later, Pronger is caught shouting back, making faces and a "quit yapping" hand gestures. Ugly scene.
19:45 - The Ducks nearly make this interesting as Getzlaf tries to punch in a loose puck in front of Bryzgalov, but can't get it through.
19:29 - PHX Penalty - Shane Doan, 2 min. hooking. Now would be a good time for one of those two-goal power plays.
17:11 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. cross checking. That's all the Ducks need right now.
16:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL - GEORGE PARROS - Parros takes a pass from Brian Sutherby and whips a shot from the top of the right circle that flies under the armpit of Bryzgalov. It's probably too little too late for the Ducks, but always good to see Parros get one.
16:20 - PHOENIX GOAL - SHANE DOAN - The puck pops straight in the air off Giguere and lands behind him in the painted area. Several Ducks and Coyotes try to jump on it in the crease and it pops out to Doan, who somehow pushes it through several players into the back of the net. After a lengthy replay, it's ruled that it was indeed a goal.
15:19 - Moen gets deep and tries a backhand, but Bryz isn't about to let that through.
14:27 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. interference.
13:38 - Bryzgalov makes a beautiful luinging glove save on a Ken Klee shot from the high slot.
10:57 - ANA Penalty - Kent Huskins, 2 min. hooking. Not good timing.
About 2/3 cheers and 1/3 boos when the video board shows the Dodgers up 7-1 on the Phillies.
9:55 - Phoenix looks like they might get a 2 on 1 rush, but Scott Niedermayer nonchalantly taps the puck away as if to say, "Did you really think that was going to happen?"
8:48 - Beauchemin has a lot of room to rip a one-timer that Bryzgalov saves with such calmness, he looks like he's shooing away a fly while holding a lemonade in the other hand.
The guy who won the car is apparently named Brent Webb, since he's being interviewed on TV right now. At least he's smiling now.
7:12 - PHX Penalty - Keith Yandle, 2 min. slashing. The Ducks really need one here.
5:10 - Kunitz drops a nice pass behind himself to a charging Perry, but Perry can't get one through as me topples to the ice frfom a Zbynek Michalek hip check.
2:29 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. roughing. Carter possibly retaliating for Jovanovski holding down Teemu Selanne
behind the Phoenix bench, something the officials apparently completely missed. The first chant of "Ref, you [aren't good]" of the year rises from the crowd.
1:29 - Perry sends it on net from a low angle and Bryzgalov smothers it. He's playing very well right now. Hear that, hockey gods? Bryzgalov looks outstanding.
Rob Niedermayer is out of the game with a bruised leg and will not return.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, Ducks needing two.
Nice idea for the Honda Fit giveaway at the intermission, where five contestants picked a folded up jersey off a table with five different players' names on the back. Then Ryan Getzlaf appears on the video screen congratulating the contestant holding his jersey on winning the new car. The winner needs to work on his elated reaction (he'd never make it on The Price is Right), but he's a winner nonetheless.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Another bad second period for the Ducks, as they let in two Phoenix goals. They get one back from Carter later in the period, but still trail 3-1 with one period left. The Ducks are outshooting Phoenix 25-14, but can't get much through.
13:56 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - Perry gets the puck from Pronger just inside the blueline, skids to a stop and sends it Carter's way. He snaps off a shot from the top of the right circle that skids by the kicked-out leg pad of Bryzgalov. It's a goal the Ducks absolutely had to have, cutting it to 3-1.
I'd say about half the crowd is sporting the free orange t-shirts that were handed out at the entrances. Hopefully no one arrived shirtless in preparation for that.
12:40 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 2 min. roughing and PHX Penalty - Kurt Sauer, 2 min. roughing. Moen tries to get something going with a slap shot from the left circle that Bryz saved and holds. Perry throws some snow on him trying to follow the puck and the Coyotes don't like it. Sauer busts him in the face and Moen jumps in a little too aggressively.
11:45 - First boo of the game for the home crowd, as the Ducks can't muster much on the man advantage.
10:52 - PHX Penalty - Peter Mueller, 2 min. hooking. Mueller gets the stick caught in Beauchemin's jersey as Beauchemin tries to head up ice with it. Ducks need to get something done on this power play.
8:56 - PHOENIX GOAL - KYLE TURRIS - Keith Yandle sends the puck to Turris down low and it bounces off him toward Giguere. Giguere pounces on it, but somehow can't control it, as Turris digs it out from underneath him and sends it through the net. It's technically not a power play goal because the penalty had ended two seconds earlier, but Huskins wasn't yet out of the box to join the play. First career goal for Turris, third overall selection in the '07 draft. It's 3-0 Coyotes and this crowd is getting restless.
8:40 - Moen races out on the breakaway to the puck with the Ducks shorthanded, tries to make a move on Bryzgalov, but loses the puck under pressure.
6:54 - ANA Penalty - Kent Huskins, 2 min. delay of game. Huskins tries to flip the puck out of the Anaheim zone and accidentally sends it over the glass.
6:40 - Brian Sutherby lays into young Kyle Turris near the Ducks bench and here comes David Hale to the rescue. He drops the gloves with Sutherby and they both land a couple before Hale swings wildly and misses, leading Sutherby to take him down to the mat. Give that one to Sutherby.
5:49 - Pahlsson tries one from the left circle, but Bryz is ready for it. Ducks have 14 shots to the Coyotes' 11, but Phoenix leads in the most important category.
1:51 - PHOENIX GOAL - SHANE DOAN - Steven Reinprecht chips a nice saucer pass up ahead to Doan, who gets on the breakaway, makes a move to his left and slips it past Giguere. It's 2-0 Coyotes. Already a bad start to this period for Anaheim.
1:10 - ANA Penalty - Steve Montador, 2 min. roughing and PHX Penalty - Todd Fedoruk, 2 min. roughing. Fedoruk pastes Chris Kunitz near the blueline as Kunitz passes off the puck and he's charged by Montador. Not much of a fight develops as they both go down to the ice quickly. Not worthy of the five, so they each get two.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, a period that hasn't been friendly to Anaheim so far this season.
I'm getting several emails saying the "rinkside view" angles on FSN Prime Ticket are absolutely horrible. I'll pass them on.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks outshoot Phoenix 10-9, but Phoenix gets a goal from Boedker to take a 1-0 lead. Very similar period for Anaheim as in the season opener last Thursday night. Let's hope the next two periods are better.
If you're interested in video of the pregame presentation, here it is
in their normal spot, five rows behind the Phoenix goal.
17:48 - George Parros
is in a shouting match from the Ducks bench with none other than ... Wayne Gretzky. Guess the Great One objects to something Georgie's doing out there.
14:50 - Huskins does a nice job to dive and block a shot, already looking better than he did in San Jose.
13:57 - Getzlaf threads the needle with a pass from the corner to Perry, whose one-timer is miraculously saved by Bryz. Didn't look like Perry got all of it.
11:40 - PHOENIX GOAL - MIKKEL BOEDKER - Steven Reinprecht races down the left wing on a rush and feeds Boedker across the ice. Boedker makes a nice move from post to post, catching Giguere way out of position, and he deposits the puck in the wide open right half of the net. It's 1-0 Phoenix. First career goal for the rookie Boedker, drafted eighth overall this year by the Coyotes.
10:45 - Pronger takes a hard shot up high from Jokinen, waits a few ticks and then cross checkes Jokinen hard in the back. No call.
8:20 - Kunitz, Selanne, Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer and Pronger on the first PP unit.
8:15 - PHX Penalty - Kurt Sauer, 2 min. high sticking. First power play for the men in black.
5:55 - Selanne rips a slap shot from the top of the left circle that rings off the far post.
3:29 - Robbie Niedermayer tries to make something happen, pushing a shot from the circle into Bryz's gut. Remember, Robbie's on pace for 82 goals this year.
1:16 - Getzlaf takes the Ducks' first shot at home this year and it's easily kick saved by the former Duck Bryzgalov.
0:50 - Selanne-Kunitz-Morrison for Anaheim.
0:00 - And we're underway in the long-awaited home opener at Honda Center.
5:12 p.m. - Another outstanding rendition of the anthem by Christina Reyes, last year's Anthem Idol winner. Hope to see her a lot this year.
5:04 p.m. - We're slightly delayed for the start of this thing while the entire Ducks roster and coaching staff is introduced. Once again, a pretty cool pregame presentation and we'll have video of it as soon as we can.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; PHX Ilya Bryzgalov
Starting Skaters - ANA Todd Marchant
, Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer; PHX Olli Jokinen, Shane Doan, Peter Mueller, Derek Morris, Ed Jovanovski
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Brad May; PHX Brian McGrattan, Enver Lisin