By Adam Brady (email@example.com)
ANAHEIM – Leave it to Teemu Selanne and his constant stream of power play goals to break the Anaheim Ducks out of a Honda Center funk.
|Selanne (right) had two power play goals (the first being the 200th of his career) to maintain his league lead and pace the Ducks to victory.
Selanne tossed in his league-leading 10th and 11th power play strikes of the season to launch the Ducks to a convincing 4-1 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche in front of 16,632 at Honda Center.
The Ducks, who had entered the game having dropped four of their last five at home, improved to 6-6-2 at Honda Center, 12-8-3 overall. It was fitting that it came against Colorado, whom the Ducks have dominated in Anaheim in the recent past. The Ducks have won four straight at home against the Avs and are 8-1-2 in their last 11 against them at Honda Center.
"I think it was a very solid 60 minutes," Giguere said. "Nice goals, good PK, our power play was rolling. That is the way we need to play, especially at home. We know the potential we have in this dressing room. I don’t think there is one game we can say that we played a full 60 minutes that was flawless. There are no games that are flawless. But tonight was as close to a good game that we can play."
Tonight Selanne found the net in the first (the 200th power play goal of his career) and third periods, while goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere had a solid night at the other end of the ice, saving 29 of 30 Colorado shots. His only damage an Ian Laperriere deflection goal early in the third that gave Colorado faint hope before Selanne buried that with his goal midway through the period. All but one of Selanne's 12 goals this season have come with the man advantage.
"We have to get that feeling back that this is our barn and getting points from here is going to be tough," Selanne said. "The last three years we’ve had a really good home record. The home advantage is huge. The good start, especially in your building is huge. We did a better job today and we have to keep doing that more often here."
The Ducks and Avs skated scoreless until midway through the period when the Ducks poured in two quick ones. Teemu Selanne netted his league-leading 10th power play goal of the year 10:19 into the session, capitalizing on a Colorado bench minor for too many men. A Ryan Getzlaf pass toward Corey Perry was tipped away, but Perry reached out to poke the puck to Selanne, who batted it into the open net.
A little more than three minutes later, just as Colorado’s Tyler Arnason left the box following a hooking call, Chris Kunitz took a pass from behind the net from Brendan Morrison and slung it in. He got some help as former Duck Ruslan Salei screened goaltender Peter Budaj, allowing the puck to slip between Budaj’s arm and the post. Morrison’s assist came a game after he had been benched Saturday night in Dallas, the first time he’d been healthy scratched since 2000.
|Giguere was solid all night, stopping 29 of 30 Colorado shots.
The Ducks made things ever more comfortable 6:51 into the second period, when the puck rang around the wall toward Chris Pronger, who ripped a one-timer that ticked off the skate of Cody McLeod and rang the inside of the far post.
"The second period I thought was our best all year," Giguere said. "We just controlled the play and spent most of the period in their zone. When you do that, things are going to go your way. There is no doubt about that."
The Avs started the third with Andre Raycroft in net over Budaj, whose performance was in contrast to his past performances against Anaheim. Over the past two seasons, Budaj was 4-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average versus the Ducks.
Whether inspired by the change or not, the Avs made things interesting with a Laperriere’s goal 2:13 into the third period. Laperriere just got his stick on a John-Michael Liles shot from the point, causing it to deflect off Steve Montador’s foot and elude Giguere.
But the Ducks put the game away on Selanne’s second power play with 11:17 left, a one-timer from the slot off a nice feed from Scott Niedermayer on the right wing.
"Obviously, I’m playing with great players," said Selanne of his pile of power play goals. "All those guys who I play with on the power play, they can see the game so well. They can shoot and pass. You know that if you get open the puck is going to come. That is a great feeling. It’s pleasure to play with those guys."
Brian Sutherby missed his third straight game for the Ducks, still recovering from a strained groin. Kent Huskins was scratched for the second straight game, and Ryan Carter was also scratched.
The Ducks next play in a Friday matinee against the visiting Blackhawks in a day-after-Thanksgiving tilt at Honda Center.
With tonight’s win, the Ducks have earned standings points in three consecutive games (2-0-1) and five out of the last six contests (3-1-2). The club is also 11-3-3 in their last 17 games.
The last time the Ducks lost a game in regulation at home to Colorado was Nov. 18, 2005 (3-2).
The Ducks have scored at least one power play goal in four consecutive (five-for-17, 29.4%) and five out of the last six games (seven-for-24, 29.2%).
Teemu Selanne has earned 3-4=7 points in the last six games.
Ryan Getzlaf extended his assist streak to six games (2-6=8), two games shy of tying his career-high and franchise high-tying eight-game assist streak (Oct. 25 – Nov. 7, 5-12=17 pts.). He has also earned points in 15 of his last 16 games (8-18=26).
With an assist tonight, Corey Perry has earned 3-5=8 points in the last seven games.
Tonight’s attendance was 16,632.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Heck of an effort by the Ducks, who get two power play goals from Selanne and 29 saves from Giguere in earning the 4-1 decision.
Chants of "We want fries!" from fans looking for that fifth goal and free french fries from Carl's Jr.
18:17 - Near hattie for Selanne, as he comes from behind the net and tries a wraparound that is just knocked away.
15:28 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. holding. He's no good either.
11:17 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Okay, I take it back. Scott Niedermayer sends the puck from the bottom of the right wing circle to a waiting Selanne in the slot, and he puts a lightning-quick shot through the open left half of the net. It's 4-1 Ducks and this bad boy is ooooooverrrrrr.
10:50 - Selanne looks at another open net on the power play, but his shot goes wide. He's terrible.
10:08 - COL Penalty - Paul Stastny, 2 min. hooking. Stastny's been quiet tonight.
9:15 - Heck of a sequence, as Perry races out of the box just in time to knock the puck away from a shooting Salei, who never saw him. That gets the Ducks going the other way. as Marchant waits for the perfect time to feed a streaking Rob Niedermayer. But instead of taking the shot, Niedermayer gives it back to Marchant, who is actually behind the net when he tips the shot. It gets behind Raycroft, but hits off the inside of the post and bounds away.
8:31 - Thirty seconds left in the penalty and the Ducks would love to kill this one.
7:01 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. goaltender interference. Not sure where that call came from, and neither is Perry. I will say that Perry hits goalies more often than pucks do.
4:16 - The official blows the whistle a little early, as Morrison is trying to bat in a loose puck, saying that Raycroft had it covered. Might have been a makeup for a similarly questionable call at the other end a couple minutes ago.
3:48 - Morrison collides hard with the Darcy Tucker Band near center ice and Tucker is hurt badly as it looked like they hit knees. He stays down a while before being helped slowly off the ice and down the hallway. He can sing about losing his girlfriend, his truck, his dog and hurting his knee.
2:13 - COLORADO GOAL - IAN LAPERRIERE - Liles might want to sing about God helping his team score this one, as he launches a slap shot from above the left circle that barely touches LaPerriere's stick in the slot and ricochets off Montador's skate past Giguere. Colorado makes things a little more interesting at 3-1.
0:10 - Andrew Raycroft starts the period in net for Colorado. By the way, Budaj was 4-0 with a 1.50 GAA in his last two seasons against the Ducks.
Reader Keriann: "Darcy Tucker does sound like a female country singer. Luckily he doesn't play for Nashville. (Adding to the list of people I hope I never see in drag...) The one that keeps throwing me off is the Avs announcers talking about Foote's head injury.
"They just showed an overhead view of Randy Carlyle pacing the locker room waving his hands. If he's talking, it doesn't look like anyone is listening."
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
Reader Dana thinks the name "Darcy Tucker" (Avs winger) sounds more like a country singer than a hockey player. Dana didn't mention it, but "Darcy Tucker" really sounds like a FEMALE country singer. And "John-Michael Liles" sounds like a guy who sings Christian music.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Another solid one for the black and gold (and orange), as they get one from Pronger to take a commanding lead.
18:45 - Bobby Ryan
nearly kills someone when his way-too-hard pass to Perry at the blue line goes off a stick and into the crowd.
16:38 - Ducks forecheck continues to be outstanding.
12:54 - Getz gets in deep but Budaj hangs tough.
During the timeout, shots of the crowd to the tune of "Sussudio" by Phil Collins. You've got to be kidding me.
The video board shows three Power Players sending text messages, which means my Blackberry should be buzzing any second now. Oh, wait. They're fake-texting "Ducks" to 81812. Nevermind.
6:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS PRONGER - Marchant tries a shot from a sharp angle that misses the net, but it wraps around the wall toward Pronger. He rips a one-timer from the point that ticks off the skate of Cody McLeod, throwing off Budaj before it hits the inside of the post and caroms in.
6:00 - Parros throws Smyth down like a ragdoll. Georgie is pumped up tonight. Before the game I saw him hopping down the hall dribbling the soccer ball like a basketball.
0:00 - Here we go in the second with the Ducks starting on a penalty kill.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Two late penalties hardly sully an outstanding first period for the Ducks, who get goals from Selanne and Kunitz and lead 2-0.
19:55 - Giguere makes another huge stop, denying Ryan Smyth on a one-time try from inside the blue paint.
19:24 - ANA Penalty - Brendan Morrison, 2 min. interference. Do you think he and Sammy are talking in there?
18:13 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. hooking. I thought the Ducks might go the entire period without a penalty. Actually, I really didn't.
It's trivia time and the dude is asked who scored their first career point in a 2-1 overtime victory on Dec. 19, 2007 over Colorado. He looks a little dumbfounded, but given the choices Ryan Carter, Bobby Ryan and Kent Huskins, he guesses Carter. And guess what? He's right!
13:39 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Just as Arnason is escaping the box, Kunitz gets a pass from behind the net from Morrison and Kunitz slings it from a tough angle from the bottom of the right wing circle. Budaj, who was screened by former Duck Salei, lets it get between his arm and the near post. It's 2-0 Ducks.
11:36 - COL Penalty - Tyler Arnason, 2 min. hooking. Arnason served the bench minor. This time he actually earns the trip to the box.
10:19 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - It's a Ducks power play goal, so guess who gets it. Getzlaf tries to pass it low to Perry, but it's tipped away in front of the net. Perry reaches out and just pokes it to Selanne, who easily redirects it into the wide open net. Ducks lead it 1-0 as Selanne gets his 10th on the power play, leading the league by three.
9:42 - COL Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. I'm just glad it wasn't the Ducks.
7:50 - Ducks peppering Budaj with shots.
During the timeout, the Ducks honor Ruslan Salei by showing his game-winning goal from the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals, then show him live on the video screen, where he softly waves to the crowd. Hard to believe, but it's his first trip back here since the Ducks let him go after the 2005-06 season, since he played in Florida for a little while and they never made it to town while he was there.
6:01 - Giguere looks sharp early, cutting off the angle to save and hold a shot.
5:11 - Pretty intense sequence, as Kunitz is barely denied by Budaj, who comes way out to poke away the puck with Kunitz getting behind the D. On the other end, Giguere pops way out of his comfort zone to deny some Colorado chances.
3:21 - Ducks dodge a bullet when a long shot bounces off Giguere and rolls in front of him, but he's able to cover it.
2:20 - Scott Niedermayer is sniping tonight. He delivers three 50-mph knuckleballs at the net in a span of 20 seconds.
0:07 - Just seconds into the game, Nathan McIver and Cody McLeod give each other the look and they're raining blows on one another. McIver lands several hard rights in a row, but that doesn't stop McLeod, who fights back valiantly before they both run out of gas. McIver's jersey looks a little worse for wear, but maybe it's okay since he goes to the box instead of the locker room. Or the Team Store.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; COL Peter Budaj
Starting Skaters - ANA Nathan McIver, Chris Pronger, Brendan Morrison, Teemu Selanne
, Chris Kunitz; COL John-Michael Liles, Cody McCormick, Ian Laperriere, Ruslan Salei, Cody McLeod
Scratches - ANA Brian Sutherby, Ryan Carter
, Kent Huskins ; COL Wojtek Wolski, Joe Sakic, Adam Foote