By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – As valuable as Samuel Pahlsson has been over the years for the Anaheim Ducks, most of his work doesn’t show up on the evening’s highlights.
But tonight Pahlsson scored a vital power play goal in the third period, in addition to his normal work on the defensive end, to help lead the Ducks to a 3-1 decision over the visiting Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center. It was the fifth straight win at home for the Ducks over their Freeway Faceoff rivals, as Pahlsson helped hold Los Angeles to just 18 shots all night.
"I’m usually not out there a lot on the power play, but I got a couple of chances there and it is fun," Pahlsson said. "It’s going to be tough to stay when we get some guys back here. I’m going to try to help out when I get my chance out there."
|Pahlsson had a huge power play goal in the third and did his normal work on the defensive end to lead the Ducks.
Pahlsson broke a 1-1 tie halfway through the third period with a tip-in goal on the power play off a feed from Scott Niedermayer. The Ducks were on a 5-on-3 resulting from a Drew Doughty delay of game call, as he tried to clear the puck from his own blue line on the penalty kill and send it sailing over the glass. The Kings managed to hold off the Ducks during the two-man advantage, but Anaheim capitalized on the 5-on-4. Niedermayer threw the puck on net from the right wing circle and Pahlsson tipped it just inside the far post from the top of the crease.
"I tried to get it on the far post and it hit my stick," Pahlsson said. "It was in the air and it went in. That is all that matters."
Pahlsson joined the first power play unit when Corey Perry was suspended for four games and has been on the ice for all four man-advantage goals the Ducks have had in the last two contests. As a team, the Ducks have had two power play goals in each of the last three games and four of the last five.
"It’s nice to see a guy get an opportunity," said Scott Niedermayer. "He does a lot of the tough work that isn’t all the glory. Now he’s out there on the power play. It’s nice to see get him rewarded with a goal. He’s a gifted player, has a great wrist shot and is a big, strong guy."
The Kings had an opportunity to tie the game late in the third period when Brett Festerling took a holding call with 4:33 left. But with Pahlsson’s help, the Ducks held the Kings at bay throughout the penalty, to hang on to the one-goal lead.
Anaheim slammed the door in the final minute when, with goalie Erik Ersberg on the bench for an extra attacker, Rob Niedermayer picked up the puck in his own zone and sent it the length of the ice into the empty net. It was the 10th of the year for Niedermayer and iced the second straight win for the Ducks.
The Ducks didn’t manage a shot on goal until a relatively benign Scott Niedermayer attempt 13:13 into the first period. And in a relatively uneventful period, Bobby Ryan finally made things exciting with a power play goal at 17:32, following a Drew Doughty cross checking minor. Ryan waited in the slot for a Ryan Getzlaf feed and went to one knee to sling a one-timer past Ersberg on the stick side. It was the 22nd point in 23 games for Ryan, who leads NHL rookies in points per game.
The Ducks hurt themselves near the end of that period, as Rob Niedermayer took a hooking penalty with 31 seconds left and Samuel Pahlsson joined him in the box for tripping with six seconds left. That gave the Kings a 5-on-3 on fresh ice to start the second and they cashed in, as Kyle Quincey converted with a point shot that sailed through a Michal Handzus screen and eluded Hiller.
|Ryan (middle) put the Ducks on top late in the first with a power play strike.
That was the first goal for the Kings against Anaheim in 143 minutes, six seconds, dating back to 18:48 of the third period on Oct. 14 at Los Angeles. It was also the only blemish on Hiller’s night, as he improved to 4-0-0 with a 0.65 goals-against average in five career appearances versus the Kings.
It was the second straight start over newly crowned All-Star starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere for Hiller, who blanked the Coyotes at Honda Center two nights prior.
"With Jonas, any time a goalie pitches you a shutout, why fix it if it isn’t broken? " said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "Tonight, he didn’t have that much work, but he was called to make some big stops at critical times."
Los Angeles, which leads the league by giving up a little more than 26 shots per game, allowed exactly that number tonight.
It was the first start for Ersberg since suffering a groin injury Dec. 15, and he has yet to beat the Ducks (0-2-2) despite posting some impressive numbers against them.
The 18 shots allowed was the fewest for the Ducks since they gave up 17 to St. Louis in February of last year.
"We just try to go out there and play defensively as well as we can," Scott Niedermayer said. "Every team you play has some highly skilled forwards that you have to respect. But it comes down to us doing out job. That is really what we can control. We’ve being doing it lately, playing smart, simple and hard in the tough areas."
The Ducks and Kings battle again in two nights up the road at Staples Center.
The Ducks have garnered standings points in five of their last six games (3-1-2). The club has earned points in 10 of their last 13 contests (8-3-2) at Honda Center.
The Ducks have scored two power play goals in each of the last three games (six-for-13, 46.2%) and in four of the last five, going eight-for-22 (36.4%) over the five-game stretch. The club has gone 11-for-30 on the power play (36.7%) dating back to Dec. 22 at Vancouver (eight games).
The Ducks are 9-2-1 in the last 12 contests at home against the Kings. It is the longest home winning streak vs. Los Angeles in club history. Overall, Anaheim has gone 19-7-3 vs. Los Angeles dating back to Feb. 29, 2004 (6-3 win at Honda Center).
Ryan Getzlaf has earned points in eight of the last nine contests 2-8=10 points, which includes a current three-game point streak (1-3=4). At HOME, he has earned points in 11 of the last 13 games (7-8=15).
Bobby Ryan has extended his point streak to three games (2-2=4) and has earned points in eight of the last nine games (4-8=12).
With two assists tonight, Chris Pronger has points in three consecutive games (1-3=4) and in five of the last six (1-5=6).
Scott Niedermayer has a three-game assist streak (0-4=4) and points in four of
Tonight’s attendance is 17,174.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It's not sexy, but the Ducks hang on to take down the Kings, 3-1.
19:53 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - ROB NIEDERMAYER - Niedermayer picks up the puck between the circles in his own end and gently sends it sliding the length of the sheet into the empty net. It's the 10th of the year for Niedermayer and this bad boy is over.
19:00 - One minute left, as Ersberg is on the bench for an extra attacker.
18:53 - Kunitz picks up the puck with Ersberg on his stomach, way out of position, but can't do anything with the wraparound but put it into the goalie.
17:27 - Monster kill for the Ducks, but the Kings still own it in Anaheim's end.
15:27 - ANA Penalty - Brett Festerling
, 2 min. holding. Absolutely not what the Ducks needed right now, as Festerling grabs onto Dustin Brown as Brown tries to move into the attacking zone.
12:00 - Frolov tries a wraparound with pressure from Ebbett and it's wide. The Kings are putting the pressure on. The Ducks need to finish this thing.
9:45 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - From the right wing circle, Scott Niedermayer throws the puck on net toward Pahlsson on the doorstep, and he reaches out to just get his stick on it and redirect it inside the far post. Great goal for Pahlsson, who is a relatively new member on this power play unit. Four PP goals in two games for Anaheim and he's been on the ice for all of them. It's 2-1 Ducks.
9:27 - LAK Penalty - Drew Doughty, 2 min. delay of game. Doughty tries to launch the puck into the Ducks' end but catches it wrong and sails it over the glass.
8:25 - Sullivan and Frolov get on a 2-on-1 against Pronger, ending with Frolov ringing one off the post from the left wing.
7:45 - Doughty boards Ryan.
7:29 - LAK Penalty - Dustin Brown, 2 min. elbowing.
TV reveals the Kings have used 12 different goalies since 2005-06, while the Ducks have used five (including the likes of Michael Wall and Sebastien Caron).
5:32 - Ryan puts a shot on net from the far right wing, and it bounces high off Ersberg toward Pronger, who punches it in (literally) with the gloved hand. It's waved off right away by the officials, as well as Ersberg, who feverishly waves his arms.
4:25 - Carter gets hooked to the ice by Matt Greene, no call. Not sure why, but no call.
3:48 - Parros puts a shot on net from the right wing, then circles around to get in Brian Boyle's face. Somebody's trying to get something going, and I can't blame him. This game is a snoozer for the most part.
2:40 - Morrison puts a rather tame shot on net that Ersberg gloves easily.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - The Ducks get nothing going in the period, after the Kings cash in on the 5-on-3 and we're tied 1-1.
19:58 - Ryan tries a slap shot from deep with a couple seconds left on the clock, into the goalie pads.
18:50 - Parros gets the puck at the blue line fresh out of the box and gets on the rush. He tries to feed a charging Miller across the slot, but it's too far ahead of him. In fact, it almost hits Ersberg.
17:25 - Two big saves by Hiller before Niedermayer clears it out of there.
16:40 - ANA Penalty - George Parros
, 2 min. interference. The Kings control it for awhile during the delayed whistle, but can't get anything on net.
13:54 - Not a strong power play for the Ducks, who don't put too much pressure on the entire two minutes.
During the Fan Cam segment at the timeout, they alternately show fans in Ducks jerseys (cheers) with a guy in a Kings jersey (boos) who looks like Sam Elliott in "The Big Lebowski." Each time they show him, he's harrassed by Ducks fans sitting behind him, who rub their hands on him and even try to put a Ducks cap on his head. The segment ends with a shot of the Ducks' Stanley Cup Champions banner. And even though it's shielded by the rafters, it's a nice move.
11:54 - LAK - Alexander Frolov, 2 min. tripping. Kunitz draws it, crashing the net to take a Getzlaf feed before he's taken down from behind.
8:23 - Ryan gives a splendid backhand pass across the crease to Kunitz near the far post. He kicks it to his stick, and Ersberg does a nice job to spring out and stop the shot and the rebound attempt.
A soft "Let's Go, Kings!" chant is soon drowned out by Ducks fans with a chant of their own.
5:36 - The Ducks escape when Hedican turns the puck over behind the Anaheim net and a Patrick O'Sullivan one-timer is saved by Hiller.
4:07 - Pahlsson, a new member of the first power play unit the past couple of games, tries to punch in a loose puck after a Scott Niedermayer shot is stopped. No go.
3:49 - LAK Penalty - Kyle Quincey, 2 min. hooking. Ducks get another shot.
2:41 - Getzlaf heads down the right wing on the rush with Ryan. He sends Ryan the puck and as Ryan sends it back, Getzlaf can't handle it and goes slamming into the cage.
1:14 - LOS ANGELES GOAL (POWER PLAY) - KYLE QUINCEY - The Kings pass the puck around the triangle for awhile before Quincey rips a slap shot from straightaway that sails past a Michal Handzus screen and gets by Hiller. It's 1-1 and the Kings got that with 16 seconds left in the first penalty, so they're still on the power play. By the way, it's the first goal for the Kings against the Ducks in more than 142 straight minutes.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, where the Ducks start on their heels, with 1:30 of 5-on-3 time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A snoozer of a first picks up when the Ducks get a Bobby Ryan
goal on the power play. The Ducks put themselves into a 5-on-3 to end the period and for a good portion of the beginning of the second.
19:58 - The Ducks dodge a major bullet when Dustin Brown has a chance at a one-timer into a wide open left half of the net and he whiffs on it.
19:54 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. tripping. Ducks face a lengthy 5-on-3 as Pahlsson takes down a King near the blue line.
The tennis ball husband is wearing an orange Ducks practice jersey over his flourescent hoodie tonight.
19:29 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking.
17:32 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BOBBY RYAN - Just seven seconds into the power play, Getzlaf slides the puck from the top of the right wing circle to Ryan in the slot, and he goes to a knee to one-time it past Ersberg on his stick side. Didn't look like Ryan got all of it, but it still slips inside the left post. I'm just gonna say it, I love this kid. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
17:25 - LAK Penalty - Drew Doughty, 2 min. cross checking. Karma's a bitch, my friend. First power play for Anaheim.
16:55 - Doughty throws Moen into the wall fairly hard.
It's trivia time and it's a long one. I'll shorten it. They're asking which year the Kings sent Gretzky, Robitaille and Duchesne to the All-Star Game. The dude guesses 1992-93 and he's ... WRONG. It's 1988-89.
15:59 - Sorry, I just fell asleep for a couple minutes.
14:32 - Todd Marchant
does a great job to race back and tip the puck away to thwart a 2-on-1 pass to Frolov.
13:13 - At the unlucky time of 13:13, Scott Niedermayer throws a knuckleball on net that Ersberg easily holds to the chest. It's the first of the game for the Ducks, 1,000th shot of the year given up by the Kings and it doesn't get through.
11:35 - The puck squirms in front of Hiller, but nothing gets through.
10:40 - Still no shot for Anaheim. Remember, the Kings lead the league in fewest shots allowed at just more than 26 per game. The Kings are still stuck at 999 allowed. Let's hope the 1,000th is a special one.
And like clockwork, the "Did you know we could have had Kopitar instead of Ryan?" text arrives from my friend and co-worker.
9:30 - Ducks fans hear the boos when Pronger touches, and they try to drown them out with cheers. Keep that up.
9:20 - I could be wrong, but I don't think we've had a whistle yet.
7:01 - Chris Pronger gets booed when he touches the puck in his own rink. Way too many Kings fans here. And by way too many, I mean some.
6:30 - George Parros
out there for the first time with his short hair. If he fights tonight, do you think he'll have lost some strength?
6:00 - No shots on goal for the Ducks in the early going. They have fired wide a couple of times. Those rarely find the net.
0:10 - Ersberg is in net for the Kings, with the hot rookie Jonathan Quick out sick. Ersberg has been great in three games against the Ducks, but has yet to beat them. I don't see any reason for that to end tonight.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - During the anthem, all five Ducks skaters stand next to each other at the blue line. On the other end? Three Kings forwards stand together on the wing, while way at the other end of the ice, two d-men stand about 15 feet apart from each other. Yes, I notice things like this.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; LAK Erik Ersberg
Starting Skaters - ANA Travis Moen, Samuel Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer, Scott Niedermayer, Brett Festerling
; LAK Patrick O'Sullivan, Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Matt Greene, Kyle Quincey
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Corey Perry
, Brad May; LAK Derek Armstrong, Tom Preissing