By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – It was déjà vu all over again for the Anaheim Ducks.
For the second time in the last 24 hours, the Ducks came back with quick goals to tie the game 3-3, only to see the opposition retake the lead with in the third period and hold off Anaheim.
Last night it was the struggling Los Angeles Kings, and tonight it was the Tampa Bay Lightning, owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
"Tonight, we definitely didn’t play our best game," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. "Every chance they had they seemed to put in the back of the net on us. I guess that is the way it goes if you don’t play your best sometimes. You pay the price for it that way."
|Pronger tied the game with the second Ducks goal in a 12-second span, but that was the last time the Ducks struck in the game.
The Ducks erased a 3-1 lead in the second period with two goals in a span of 12 seconds. But Tampa Bay went back in front midway through the third when Ryan Malone picked up ta rebound and lifted the puck into the top left corner of the net.
The Ducks still had 8:10 left to tie it, but couldn’t find the net, even when they sent starter Jonas Hiller to the bench for an extra attacker in the final minute and a half.
"Two steps forward, one step back or one step forward and two steps back in this case," said Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger. "Again, it is consistency and coming with that same energy and excitement for three periods every game. Tonight, we were pretty flat in the first and it took us awhile to get going until midway through the second."
Anaheim had no less than six players in the lineup who started the season at their AHL affiliate in Iowa. The latest was emergency call-up Matt Beleskey, who arrived at Honda Center about 15 minutes before puck drop. He was summoned when Todd Marchant was declared day-to-day with an upper body injury. When it was determined just before the game that Marchant couldn’t play, Beleskey was thrust into the lineup.
"We’ve got a lot of injuries and a lot of things not going our way right now," Pronger said. "How we deal with it and how we handle it this adversity is going to make us better as a team and better as a group. We have to try to stay as positive as possible and take the good things we did. Some of us, including myself, need to pick up the play a little bit, especially defensively."
The Lightning took a two-goal lead late in the middle session, with a Malone power play goal just a few seconds after a Pronger cross-checking minor. Malone bullied his way toward the net, where he slipped the puck under Hiller just before running him over.
That could have easily dampened the spirits of the Ducks, but instead they came back quickly with a double-strike in that 12-second window to tie it in the final two minutes of the period. First was Steve Montador, who threw a seemingly innocent wrist shot on net that hit Ramo’s glove and flipped behind him.
Just after the ensuing faceoff, Pronger made up for his earlier penalty by pouncing on a puck in the slot and ripping a one-timer that darted under the crossbar. Ryan Getzlaf was trying to feed Beleskey from the corner, but Beleskey whiffed on the shot, and it headed behind him toward the middle of the ice. Pronger slapped it through before celebrating with a patented uppercut.
|Emergency call-up Beleskey was one of six Ducks in the lineup who started the season in Iowa.
Tampa had taken the game’s first lead at 3:28 in the first with the Ducks on the power play, as Martin St. Louis connected on a shorthander. The 5-9 St. Louis headed up the middle of the ice with just the 6-6 Pronger in front of him, and he darted around the big defenseman before wristing it top shelf.
The Lightning made it 2-0 just 1:41 into the second, as Vincent Lecavalier slid a pass to Vaclav Prospal near the far post, and Prospal punched it into the open net.
"They started well and came at us pretty hard," Niedermayer said. "We didn’t respond real well to that. Eventually, we did get going, but didn’t find a way to win the game."
Anaheim cut that lead in half on Andrew Ebbett’s second career goal, that came after Brendan Morrison’s rebound shot trickled behind Ramo. Just as it was inching toward the stripe, Ebbett reached out and helped it the rest of the way.
The Ducks roll on with their extended stay in Southern California with another home date, Sunday evening against the New Jersey Devils.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The clock hits zeroes, drawing some boos from the sellout crowd at Honda Center. A Ducks comeback is wasted for the second straight night.
19:50 - A Getzlaf one-timer barely misses wide.
18:28 - The Ducks empty the net.
18:10 - The Lightning nearly get another one a 2-on-1 rush, but Hiller deftly slides over to save a one-timer.
18:01 - Miller gets tripped and hits hard into the boards, and he's very slow to get up.
17:13 - The Ducks drill Remo with several shots over a span of 10 seconds, with Morrison twice trying to punch in rebound and coming up empty.
16:15 - The Ducks have only given up 18 shots, but four goals.
12:40 - Ramo falls to the ice making a save as the puck kicks behind the net. Moen tries to shoot it off the goalie's back, but Ramo is wise to his ways.
Just like last night, the Ducks come back to tie it with two quick goals, only to go down again 4-3. Let's hope this one doesn't end the same way.
11:50 - TAMPA BAY GOAL - RYAN MALONE - Jeff Halpern takes a shot from the low left wing that Hiller knocks away, but it rebounds to Malone, who sends it into the top left corner of the net. Away from the play in the slot, Pronger high-sticks St. Louis and was going to get a penalty if not for the goal.
5:43 - So much for good decision-making. Getzlaf and Pettinger finally have enough of each other and they drop the gloves. Getzlaf gets a few shots in before taking him to the ice. The downside? We'll see you at the nine-minute mark, Getzy. Randy Carlyle and Newell Brown are caught on TV replay basically saying, "What is he doing?"
On this date a year ago, Doug Weight got his 700th assist. Meanwhile, the guy who sort of replaced him at center, Brendan Morrison, has a season-high two assists tonight. Connection? Absolutely none.
3:33 - Getzlaf starts to get into it with Matt Pettinger after Pettinger objects to a Getzlaf check in the glass. To Getzlaf's credit, he pushes a little and jaws with Pettinger, but doesn't fight. Good move. The Ducks can't afford to have him off the ice.
2:40 - Getzlaf steals the puck right in front of the net, makes a move to the backhand to lure Ramo, but shoots it over the bar.
0:40 - The Lightning have a couple of chances to catch Hiller out of position, but he stays strong.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, where the Ducks start by trying to kill another Pronger penalty.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Just when it seems like the Ducks are doomed after going down 3-1, they score two in 12 seconds to tie it.
19:58 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. hooking. Back to the box for Pronger, mostly for the beginning of the second.
18:40 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS PRONGER - Getzlaf goes behind and feeds Beleskey, who fans on the shot as it rolls through his legs out to the slot, where Pronger pounces and one-times it top shelf. Uppercut to the sky for Pronger as he gets the Ducks' second goal in 12 seconds and we're tied.
18:28 - ANAHEIM GOAL - STEVE MONTADOR - Morrison feeds the puck from the corner back to Montador, and he throws a seemingly innocent wrist shot on net that hits Ramo's glove and flies behind him. Ducks pull within a goal, 3-2.
17:51 - TAMPA BAY GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN MALONE - Tampa doesn't take long to cash in. Malone picks up the puck near the right wing boards before forcing his way toward Hiller and pushing the puck underneath him before bowling him over. It's 3-1.
17:40 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. cross checking.
15:30 - Ebbett again has a chance, getting loose on the wing and taking a shot that Ramo stops. If close counted, Ebbett would have a hat trick by now.
14:40 - Ducks outshooting the Lightning 18-9, but Tampa leads in a more important category.
There is an odor wafting through this press box that smells like old cheese. It is absolutely horrendous. Please tell me that's going away.
12:58 - Now Montador hits the post.
12:45 - Pahlsson hits the crossbar with a slap shot from the slot.
12:10 - The Ducks continue to knock on the door.
11:00 - Morrison makes a great feed to Ebbett on the doorstep, but somehow his one-timer misses the mark. Ramo might have gotten some of it.
10:26 - TBL Penalty - Steve Eminger, 2 min. holding. Another chance for Anaheim.
With all these recent call-ups for the Ducks, there are more high numbers out there than a five-day summer forecast in Phoenix. That's terrible. I apologize.
8:42 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - ANDREW EBBETT - Bret Hedican takes a shot from the point that hits Ramo in front and bounces out to Brendan Morrison. He shoots it through traffic, and with Chris Kunitz all over him, Ramo lets it squirt behind him. As it's slowly rolling toward the stripe, Ebbett reaches out and chips it the rest of the way. Huge goal for Anaheim and it's 2-1 Lightning.
Consistent with the energy in this place tonight, even the Rod Stewart lookalike's traditional on-camera dance up the aisle was kind of half-hearted.
7:22 - TBL Penalty - Matt Smaby, 2 min. tripping. Power play goal coming up. Bobby Ryan
from the left wing circle. Wait for it.
5:10 - On the ice, four guys who weren't on the team last year and Getzlaf.
4:09 - The Ducks have a couple of chances as Festerling rips a one-timer that Ramo just saves and Pahlsson tries to punch in the rebound, but can't get it through all that traffic.
1:41 - TAMPA BAY GOAL - VACLAV PROSPAL - Vincent Lecavalier skates into the left wing circle and slides a pass to Prospal waiting by the far post. He easily redirects it into the open half of the net. It's 2-0 Tampa and this crowd is not pleased.
0:00 - And we're back for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - And it's a brutal one for the Ducks, as they get little energy going and give up a shortie to the shortie, as St. Louis puts them on the board.
3:28 - ST. LOUIS GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - MARTIN ST. LOUIS - St. Louis races up the middle of the ice with the puck and only Pronger in front of him. The 5-9 St. Louis skates around the 6-6 Pronger like he's not even there, as Pronger actually tries to reach out and grab him with both hands. He's unsuccessful as St. Louis flips a wrist shot top shelf. Big breakdown for Anaheim and they trail 1-0.
19:45 - Pronger doing a little half-hearted pushing and shoving with Adam Hall. Stupid name.
19:10 - The Ducks have sent the puck into the Tampa bench at least three times tonight. It's just about the only thing they're doing well in this period.
18:50 - Beleskey, wearing No. 64, skating with Ryan and Getzlaf.
14:28 - TBL Penalty - Paul Ranger, 2 min. tripping. You can park Ranger on the bench in the penalty box. Zing.
It's trivia time and Rick from Newport Beach is asked which team entered the league the same year as the Lightning. He guesses Ottawa and he's right! And to top it off, as he's getting applause, he turns around to reveal he's wearing a Brad May jersey. Very cool.
13:50 - Karri Ramo handles the puck behind the net like someone trying to pick up a live fish off the ground. Let's hope that pays off for Anaheim.
11:10 - Bobby Ryan weaves his way into the zone and gets shoved in the face, sprawling to the ice. No call.
By the way, it should be noted that callup Matt Beleskey arrived at Honda Center literally minutes before this thing got started, at 6:45.
7:33 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking.
Lightning goalie Karri Ramo belongs on the list of pro athletes whose names make them sound like hot girls, along with guys like Lindsey Hunter, Ashley Lelie, Brook and Robin Lopez, Tracy McGrady and Tatum Bell .
2:24 - TBL Penalty - Ryan Craig, 2 min. tripping. First power play for the home team.
1:40 - Goalie Karri Ramo goes behind the net for the puck, only to see it bounce out of the corner right to Drew Miller. He quickly throws it on net as Ramo dives back, but it's chopped away at the last second by a Lightning defenseman.
0:31 - St. Louis gets into it early, streaking down the wing before flipping a backhand that Hiller has to lunge for to glove, as his own stick goes flying.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, much preferable to where we were last night.
7:07 p.m. - Another nice rendition of the anthem for alto Amanda Guerrero, although apparently Steve Montador didn't think so. He was caught on the video board yawning during the song. Look for a big game from him tonight.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; TBL Karri Ramo
Starting Skaters - ANA Scott Niedermayer, Brett Festerling
, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; TBL Steve Eminger, Paul Ranger, Jeff Halpern, Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Corey Perry
(suspended), Todd Marchant
(upper body injury); TBL Olaf Kolzig, Steve Stamkos
Marchant is a last-minute scratch with an upper body injury and Matt Beleskey was quickly called up to replace him. He's in the lineup. For Tampa, Stamkos is scratched as expected, for the first time this year.