By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – The Ducks have rarely seen the New York Rangers at Honda Center the past few seasons, and lately the Ducks have rarely lost at home. But both trends were reversed Tuesday night as the Rangers clearly outplayed Anaheim in a 3-1 victory that snapped Anaheim’s home winning streak at five games.
|This Teemu Selanne shot was one of only 20 the Ducks put on net all night, with Lundqvist saving all but one of them.
Rangers winger Nigel Dawes scored the eventual game-winner with 3:16 left on the clock, capitalizing off a Kent Huskins turnover in the Anaheim end (one of many on the night for the Ducks). Huskins made a soft attempt to send the puck up the ice and Dawes picked it off, then made a slick move on Chris Pronger before sending the puck underneath goalie Jonas Hiller.
That gave the Blueshirts a 2-1 lead with plenty of time for the Ducks to scratch back. But their hopes were dashed in part by a Chris Kunitz double minor for high sticking with 1:51 left, as Kunitz accidentally struck Dan Girardi in the face and drew blood.
Things got worse when Ryan Getzlaf took a slashing call a minute later, but still the Ducks were able to apply some pressure around the New York net in the closing seconds with Hiller on the bench for an extra attacker. But after a Chris Pronger shot was blocked, Nikolai Zherdev headed up ice toward the empty net, and Pronger hooked him intentionally from behind to give the Zherdev the automatic goal with less than a second left.
"They skated well and there were a couple of bad decisions with the puck," said Scott Niedermayer, whose turnover in the second period led to New York's first goal. "We’ve had some good games and done some good things lately. Tonight we fell back a little bit and didn’t play smart."
All three New York goals were unassisted, and two came off Anaheim turnovers in their own end.
"Turnovers are killing us right now," Pronger said. "It kills our momentum and our speed through the neutral zone. We’ve got to get through neutral zone better and cleaner, so that we can get in on the forecheck and get turnovers ourselves."
It was the first visit to Honda Center for the Rangers since Nov. 1, 2006. The Ducks, who own a 6-2-2 record at home in the all-time series, actually haven’t beaten the Rangers there since Dec. 15, 2000.
The Ducks only managed 20 shots on goal the entire night, all but one saved by a very solid Henrik Lundqvist, who won his league-best 18th game. The Rangers countered with 30 shots on net, just one example of how they outplayed the Ducks for much of the night.
|Chris Kunitz's goal tied the game 1-1 in the second, but that was all the Ducks could manage.
After a scoreless first, Anaheim didn’t show much life in the second until Kunitz chipped in a rebound goal with 1:30 left. Kunitz’s original shot from just inside the blueline couldn’t be gloved by Lundqvist and it bounced out to Bret Hedican. He quickly put it back on net, and the puck bounced behind Lundvist around the crease, where Kunitz beat d-man Lauri Korpikoski to it and poked it through. It was the second goal in as many nights for Kunitz.
That wiped out a Chris Drury goal early in the period, as Drury intercepted a cross-ice pass by Niedermayer and fired a shot over Jonas Hiller’s glove for his first goal in 12 games.
"The guy was coming on me pretty good and I just made a bad decision with the puck," Niedermayer said. "You’re not going to be able to make a cross-ice pass like that with their guy sitting in position waiting for it. The play would have been to just bump it up the boards and keep it away from them. That happens some nights where you make the mistake and then it’s right in your net, twice tonight."
Hiller got the start over Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who learned yesterday that his father Claude passed away in Montreal after battling a lengthy illness. Giguere is leaving later in the week for memorial services at about the same time the team leaves on a five-game road trip that won’t see them back at Honda Center until a Dec. 31 tilt with Columbus.
"Tonight was a game where we turned the puck over far too many times in the middle of the ice," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "They played a good skating game and a good pace game. We played into their hands on too many situations where we turned the puck over."
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks don't look their best in falling 3-1, as their home win streak comes to an end.
19:59 - NEW YORK RANGERS GOAL - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV - After Pronger nearly gets one through with a rocket from the point, the puck heads the other way with Zherdev ahead of Pronger and the Anaheim net empty. Pronger hooks him from behind, giving the Rangers the automatic goal.
19:15 - Hiller to the bench.
19:01 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. slashing. That might kill the Ducks chances right there.
19:00 - The Ducks would love to send Hiller off for the extra attacker, but can't get the puck deep enough to do it.
18:09 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Kunitz tries to skate around Dan Girardi as they both chase the puck into the corner, and the blade of his stick rises up and strikes Girardi in the face. Girardi is bleeding, giving Kunitz the double.
16:44 - NEW YORK GOAL - NIGEL DAWES - Three different Ducks look bad on this one. First Huskins makes a soft attempt to send the puck up the ice and it's intercepted by Dawes. He makes a deke move around Pronger, leaving the puck behind the big d-man as he skates around him to recover it. Then his wrist shot hits Hiller's leg pads and leaks behind him over the stripe. The Ducks trail it 2-1.
The Power Players are shown on the video board surrounding a snowman they made in their little ice-cleaning carts. Why did they wait until Christmas time to come up with that idea?
15:34 - After a Montador shot from the point hits off the back board, Morrison nearly bats it in, but Lundqvist gets his glove on it.
Ryan Getzlaf went from more than 13,000 votes out of third place among Western Conference forwards in the All-Star balloting this morning to 9,061 right now. Let's keep it going folks. Text "Getzlaf" or "Ducks" to 81812 or vote at Vote.NHL.com.
The scoreboard reveals that Chicago is beating Edmonton 9-2, and it's still in the third period.
11:00 - Bobby Ryan
tries to jam in the goal, and the rebound pops out toward Morrison, who tries to put it back, only to have Fredrik Sjostrom knock it away.
10:06 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. roughing and NYR Penalty - Michal Rozsival, 2 min. slashing. Getzlaf and Rozsival bang into each other near the redline and Rozsival doesn't like it. He slashes Getzlaf a couple of times, and Getzlaf throws off his gloves as he gets in Roszival's face. But the Ranger doesn't want to fight as the official eventually jumps in between. They're still calling each other names from their respective boxes after it's over.
9:30 - D-man Huskins whips a one-timer from the slot that Lundqvist has to make a nice save on.
8:45 - NYR Penalty - Brandon Dubinsky, 2 min. holding. Another shot at the best PK in the league.
8:20 - Jonas Hiller
just barely makes a stop on a relatively tame shot from behind the blueline. He's looked just a little shaky on nearly every save he's made tonight.
TV shows a graphic of goalie coach brothers Francois Allaire (Ducks) and Benoit Allaire (Rangers). I love that we're still using that photo of Francois, which has to be at least 10 years old. TV shows him live in the booth and it looks like a completely different person.
The Rangers have a Blair and a Lauri on their roster. Just mentioning.
4:47 - Carter gets smashed into the wall by Dubinsky and doesn't seem fazed at all.
1:53 - The play is broken up when crazy Steve Montador and Aaron Voros
go at it away from the puck. Montador is so tied up by Voros that all he can do is deliver literally 20 straight body shots to Voros' side. Beyond that, not much to write home about in this fight, as they eventually run out of gas with firm grips on each other.
1:05 - Marchant makes a nice play on the rush by dropping the puck to Morrison between the circles, then Morrison makes a not-so-great play by passing it to Selanne's skates.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, with the game tied 1-1.
Just before the start of the period, we hear "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister. Always reminds me of the movie "Road Trip." Doesn't mean we should still be playing it though.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks give up an early one to Drury and don't give much indication they're going to get one back. That is until Kunitz knocks in a rebound to tie the game. The Ducks are heavily outplayed in the period, but get away with a 1-1 tie.
Is it just me or is this game whizzing by?
18:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - After Kunitz takes the initial shot from very deep, Lundqvist can't glove it high and it pops out toward a charging Hedican (fresh out of the box). He puts the shot back on net and it hits Lundvist, goes behind him and bounces into the crease. Kunitz races over to just barely beat defenseman Lauri Korpikoski to the puck and chip it in the net. Kunitz practically knocks the wind out of Hedican during the post-goal hug. We're tied 1-1 as the Ducks seemingly find their first life of the period.
16:18 - Bret Hedican, 2 min. holding the stick. Hedican grabs onto Blair Betts' stick.
It's mistletoe Kiss Cam time again, and one dude refuses to kiss the gal with him, though it looks like he was just about to before the shot changed to someone else. Then a few seconds later, one guy literally gets out of his seat to mount his girl, completely shielding her from view as he lays one on her. It's called Kiss Cam, dude. Not Uncomfortable-For-Everybody Public Display Cam.
12:14 - As we go to the timeout, the Ducks don't look good right now. They're being outshot 7-1 in the period.
8:49 - NYR Penalty - Paul Mara, 2 min. holding. The Rangers are killing at a rate of 90.7 percent this season, first in the NHL.
7:32 - Seconds after a great Hiller save, Marchant tries a repeat of the Morrison goal from the other night by giving Selanne a nice leading feed to the top of the crease. But Selanne is just late getting a stick on it.
2:25 - NEW YORK GOAL - CHRIS DRURY - Scott Niedermayer blindly tries to flip the puck out of the Anaheim zone with little pressure on him and it's picked off by Drury at the blueline, he skates in a few paces and unleashes a wrist shot that sails over Hiller's glove. It's the first in 12 games for Drury and it's 1-0 Rangers.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - And it's a relatively quick one, as we have no score with the two teams firing seven shots apiece. The Rangers will have 1:47 of power play time when we come back.
19:46 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. tripping. Kunitz takes down the Rangers player with just a few seconds left in the period.
A few in the crowd start a "Let's go, Rangers!" chant, to which Ducks fans respond with a much louder "Rangers suck!" chant. This goes on for about 30 seconds.
16:55 - Perry makes a pretty slaloming move through two defenders, but his one-on-one attempt is knocked away by Lundqvist.
15:43 - Festerling tries to put a hit on Marc Staal, but instead takes a hard shot of his own and goes flying.
By the way, it's the last game before Christmas and the Power Players are NOT wearing their traditional Santa suits, but instead wearing just the hat. What's the deal? Wild Wing is dressed in a Santa suit. I'm not the hugest Christmas guy, but I'm a little disappointed.
11:55 - Selanne comes around the back of the net and makes a doorstep feed to Marchant, who tries to sweep it in to no avail.
After the whistle, we hear a hard rock remake of the Tears for Fears song "Shout" for what I believe is the first time. Wouldn't mind if it's the last.
During the timeout, Henry and Susan Samueli are shown on the video board and get a nice cheer. They wave to the crowd, Henry gives a thumbs up and ... they kiss.
5:30 - You've got to love Scott Niedermayer. He screws up by whiffing on the puck while trying to take it out of the Anaheim zone, then makes up for it by intercepting a centering pass in front of the net.
5:13 - Rangers kills the penalty. The Ducks haven't had a power play goal since last Wednesday against St. Louis and league-leading Selanne hasn't had one since Dec. 3 at Chicago.
3:13 - NYR Penalty - Markus Naslund, 2 min. hooking. Chance for the Ducks to get on top.
1:45 - Selanne races down the wing and lets go of a shot that Lundqvist just does squeeze the pads together to save. The rebound darts out to Morrison, but it's too quick for him to react.
0:23 - First save of the game for Hiller. Once again, he's in there instead of Giguere, whose father passed away yesterday.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:08 p.m. - A harmonilicious rendition of the anthem by the four-woman group Harborlite Quartet. And for the first time that I've seen, Scott Niedermayer skates off the line before they're through (although in his defense, they appeared to be finished seconds before they actually were). On the other end, all but one Ranger skates off the line before the song is done.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; NYR Henrik Lundqvist
Starting Skaters - ANA Scott Niedermayer, Brett Festerling
, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; NYR Michal Rozsival, Marc Staal, Nikolai Zherdev, Scott Gomez, Markus Naslund
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Brad May; NYR Petr Prucha, Corey Potter, Dan Fritsche
Giguere sits out tonight a day after his father passes away in Montreal