By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – The return of Corey Perry from suspension was supposed to breathe life into the Ducks’ top forward unit, but it was his linemate who benefitted most.
|Kunitz had two big third period goals, with Perry getting an assist on both.
Chris Kunitz had two huge goals in the third period, scoring the go-ahead and a vital insurance marker, in helping the Ducks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Honda Center. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Ducks and was the third victory in the last four at home.
"It’s been up and down this year so far," Kunitz said. "It feels good to help contribute and get the win. We’ve been hovering around the .500 mark the last little while and not really advancing ourselves. Every win is important for us and to get the home wins before we start out on the road."
The Ducks had Perry back for the first time since serving a four-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux on Jan. 2. And he made his presence felt with assists on both Kunitz’s goals.
"He’s a great offensive player that can move the puck and draws people to him," Kunitz said. "Any time you have a key offensive guy out of the lineup and you get him back, it gives the whole team a boost."
On Kunitz's anticlimactic go-ahead score, officials couldn’t tell it was a goal for several seconds before ruling it in Anaheim's favor. Kunitz came from behind the net and stuffed the puck under New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmenson, who trapped it under his leg pad and out of sight. Officials leaned in for a closer look before determining that the puck was over the stripe. The sellout crowd at Honda Center reacted relatively quietly to the signal, but got louder several seconds when the horn went off and even more boisterous when it was announced that a quick video review determined it was indeed a goal.
The goal that gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead with 3:33 left was much prettier, as Perry dropped the puck to Ryan Getzlaf on the right wing, and Getzlaf slid it across to Kunitz, whose wrist shot rang the post before finding the net.
"It was nice to see Kunitz come through," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "I thought it was his best game in a long time. He was skating and banging and the puck seemed to follow him around that way."
The Devils managed to cut the lead to one with 31 seconds left with their net empty for an extra attacker. In a play similar to Kunitz's first goal, Zach Parise came from behind the net to force it under Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and it took several seconds to be ruled good, since the puck was again hidden under the leg pad.
But that was all the Devils would manage down the stretch, as the Ducks defense kept them from putting anything on net in the final half-minute. That was the story for most of the night for a Ducks defense that held the Devils to just 21 shots, just 10 in the first two periods.
"That one felt good. I won’t lie to you," said Giguere, who hadn't won since Dec. 14 against Minnesota at Honda Center. "At the end of the day, this game is about winning. You’ll always look better when you win. Hopefully this will give me a little bit of confidence, as well as the team and then we can start something from today’s game."
|Ryan had yet another highlight-reel goal, off a great feed from Morrison in the first period.
After trailing 1-0 midway through the first following a Bobby Holik goal at 12:53, the Ducks came back with two in the final five minutes of the period.
Bobby Ryan added to his collection of highlight-reel goals with a gorgeous one with 4:39 left on the clock. Ryan started the play by giving a nice leading pass across the ice to Andrew Ebbett, who quickly dropped the puck back to linemate Brendan Morrison. He waited until the perfect time to slide a pass across the middle toward Ryan, and as he fell to the ice, Ryan redirected it home just before sliding into the net.
Samuel Pahlsson gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead with 8.2 remaining on the clock, as Travis Moen dug the puck out of the corner and sent it off the stick of Brian Gionta toward the slot. Pahlsson was right there to quickly flip it under the crossbar.
The Ducks had two opportunities in the second to add to their cushion on the power play, but couldn’t get much going. The Devils, on the other hand, took advantage of the first Anaheim penalty of the game, a Steve Montador hooking call. David Clarkson made the Ducks pay, getting his stick on the puck as it sat at Giguere’s feet and sending it underneath him.
It was the first visit to Anaheim for the Devils since Nov. 24, 2006. The two teams battled in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, with the Devils prevailing in seven games.
For the second straight game, the Ducks were without Todd Marchant, who is recovering from a finger injury and remains day-to-day. Recent call-up Matt Beleskey took Marchant’s place again, while fellow rookie Drew Miller was a healthy scratch.
"I thought we played very well 5-on-5," said Carlyle. "The shots that we gave up were on the power play. We gave up too many from that standpoint because they had some flurries on the power play. Other than that, I thought we played a pretty solid game."
The Ducks return to Honda Center on Wednesday night, where they take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Detroit Red Wings.
The Ducks have earned standings points in four of their last six games (3-2-1) and six of their last nine (4-3-2). At Honda Center, they have won three of their last four games (3-1-0) and garnered standings points in nine of their last 12 (8-3-1).
The Ducks have scored three-or-more goals in five of their last six games (3.2 per game).
Anaheim extended its winning streak vs. New Jersey to three games (3-0-0).
Bobby Ryan has earned points in five of his last six games (6-2=8) and in 10 of his last 13 (8-8=16). Since his season debut on Nov. 16 vs. LA, he has led all NHL rookies in goals, assists and points (12-14=26). Below is a look at the top three rookies in the NHL since that date:
Player Team GP G A P
Bobby Ryan ANA 26 12 14 26
Kris Versteeg CHI 24 10 10 20
Blake Wheeler BOS 25 7 12 19
Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to six games with an assist tonight (1-7=8) and has earned points in 11 of the last 12 contests (2-12=14). At HOME, he has earned points in 13 of the last 15 games (7-10=17), including points in five straight (1-5=6).
With an assist tonight, Scott Niedermayer has recorded 0-6=6 points in his last six games and 1-7=8 points in the last eight.
Chris Kunitz’s two-goal effort tonight was his second multi-goal game of the season and ninth of his career.
Andrew Ebbett has collected 1-2=3 points in the last two games.
Brendan Morrison has earned 0-3=3 assists in the last two games and 4-5=9 points in the last 10 games.
J.S. Giguere earned his 12th win of the season, stopping 18-of-21 shots on net.
Tonight’s attendance is 17,331, a sellout.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Devils try to get the equalizer, but don't get a decent opportunity, as Anaheim holds on for the win in yet another 4-3 game.
19:29 - NEW JERSEY GOAL - ZACH PARISE - It's another weird one, as Parise comes from behind the net to try and stuff it under Giguere. The puck is again hard to see as there is a scrum around the Giguere, as both Ducks and Devils try to poke at it. But officials signal it's a goal as the Devils half-heartedly celebrate it.
19:00 - Clemmensen gets to the bench with exactly a minute left.
17:39 - The puck comes to Morrison at a bad angle in front of the net with Clemmensen still back there after he chased it. Morrison tries to bounce it off the stick of Madden, but it pops in the air and Clemmensen saves it.
16:27 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - The top line comes through in a big way, as Perry skates up the middle of the ice and drops the puck to Getzlaf. He sends it across the slot to Kunitz on the left wing and his wrist shot tinks off the post and into the net. Second goal of the game for Kunitz, and the Ducks take an all-important two-goal lead.
14:40 - The Ducks are trying desperately to finish this one, as the Devils apply the pressure.
Devils coach Brent Sutter looks like a villain in a bad action movie.
11:45 - Bobby's out there with Morrison and Ebbett.
11:04 - Big kill for the Ducks, especially since it looked like they didn't deserve to be on one.
9:59 - A Rolston slap shot goes under Kunitz trying to slide and block it, and Giguere makes a nice stop with a couple of Devils on top of him.
9:10 - Bobby Ryan
emerges from the locker room and joins his teammates on the bench.
9:04 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 2 min. roughing. Trouble away from the puck as several Ducks get into it with several Devils, after Colin White shoves Ryan Carter
down to the ice. Of course, no call on White, but Moen goes to the box for coming to his teammate's defense.
7:20 - The Ducks dodge a bullet, as Jamie Langenbrunner chases down the puck with only Giguere to beat. He makes a couple of deke moves, but Giguere isn't going for it and makes a big save.
7:10 - Bobby Ryan
goes down awkardly as he's tripped up near the net trying to punch in a loose puck and he limps off the ice toward the locker room. Not good.
6:30 - Anaheim outshooting New Jersey, 28-13.
5:41 - NJD Penalty - Bobby Holik, 2 min. hooking.
5:38 - You could just tell something good was happening as Ryan get the puck on the wing against Mottau. He loses him a bit with a drag move, but the backhand goes wide.
4:50 - Morrison jumps on a puck in the slot and takes an ultra-quick shot that is stopped.
1:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - It might be the most anti-climactic goal in Ducks history, since it took so long to determine whether it was good or not. Kunitz chases the puck down behind the New Jersey net and tries a wraparound that he jams into Clemmensen's leg pad. No one can see the puck as it's trapped under the pad, but the official gets right in there and determines that it's just over the stripe. Fans barely react as the officials rule it's a goal, and they get a little louder when the horn finally goes off several seconds later. There is an even bigger roar after they do a quick review and decide that the goal stands. It's 3-2 Anaheim.
1:28 - Getzlaf digs his way near the net and drops it to Kunitz in the slot, but he whiffs on it.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, tied 2-2.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It's not a productive one for Anaheim, which doesn't do much on its power play opportunities, while the Devils make the most of their only one. They get a power play goal from Clarkson to tie it 2-2.
19:45 - The Ducks are outshooting New Jersey 25-10, but the score doesn't reflect it.
16:56 - NEW JERSEY GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAVID CLARKSON - The first Ducks penalty ends up a costly one. Brian Rolston launches one from the top of the circle, and Giguere makes the initial save with two Devils all over him. But he leaves the puck at his feet, as Clarkson punches it underneath him. Giguere turns to the official to complain, but replays show no legitimate gripe.
15:19 - ANA Penalty - Steve Montador, 2 min. hooking. Surprisingly enough, first penalty on the Ducks.
Reader Luke writes to say that according to Rule 78.5 (iii), the puck off the official wouldn't have counted even if it went in. I must admit, I didn't know that.
15:02 - Another ineffective Ducks power play.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" is played for, I believe, the first time in this building. At least this year. What took them so long?
13:02 - NJD Penalty - Zach Parise, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks get another shot at it.
13:01 - Hedican puts it on net and Getzlaf's redirect is saved. The rebound comes to Carter and his shot is barely gloved.
12:48 - Not a good power play for Anaheim, which gets no shots on goal during the stretch. A point shot from Montador went wide, and that was it.
10:48 - NJD Penalty - Travis Zajac, 2 min. hooking. Zajak gets his stick into Brett Festerling
10:16 - Getzlaf glides around the back of the net and tries a wraparound with Clemmensen out of position, but Getzlaf pins it against the near post. That was a huge opportunity squandered for the Ducks.
8:55 - As Festerling dumps the puck toward the corner before a change, it hits the official in the leg and nearly bounces into the net as Clemmensen started chasing it and wasn't in front. It barely slides wide. That would have been some goal, especially considering the Ducks had zero guys in the attacking zone at the time. Also would have been the first of Festerling's career.
5:35 - Getzlaf gets some room deep on the left wing, but his shot is deflected into the netting. The wrong netting.
3:45 - Ryan takes a puck in or near the face and feels it a bit, but he looks okay.
1:33 - Two big kick saves by Giguere. Keep it up.
0:32 - Getzlaf bullies his way in and his point-blank shot hits off Clemmensen to Kunitz, whose backhand rebound try rings the post.
Did you know Bobby Ryan has 12 goals and 14 assists in 25 games and he's NOT in the YoungStars Game? Yeah, I thought you did.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks recover from the slow start to get goals from Ryan and Pahlsson to take a 2-1 lead.
19:51 - ANAHEIM DUCKS GOAL - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - Travis Moen grabs the puck out of the corner and sends it to the middle of the ice, where it nicks off Brian Gionta's stick to Pahlsson. He quickly flips it into the top corner of the net with 8.2 remaining. The Ducks take a 2-1 lead.
A Devils fan is obviously getting a little unruly, as he's escorted out from section 442 to the applause of everyone sitting around him.
Chants of "Bobby! Bobby!" go through the crowd. Love that.
15:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Without question, one of the best plays of the year for the Ducks. Ryan starts it by giving Andrew Ebbett a leading pass up the left wing. Ebbett drops the puck back to Morrison and Morrison waits for just the right time to slide a pass across the slot to a charging Ryan. He gets in front of John Madden and is actually falling to the ice as he one-times it home before slamming into the net. Unreal play, as Bobby Ryan has two highlight-reel goals in the last three games. But give credit to Morrison for a phenomenal feed. We're tied 1-1.
12:53 - NEW JERSEY GOAL - BOBBY HOLIK - Here's one you don't see every day. Right off the draw in the Anaheim zone, Jay Pandolfo takes a hard shot from the point that looks like it ricochets off Holik's head and the redirection fools Giguere enough to have it fly by his glove. Holik was actually trying to get out of the way of the flying puck. Instead, he's got his second goal of the season. It's 1-0 Devils.
11:56 - Kunitz gets a nice headman feed from Perry and let's fly a shot from the top of the circle that Clemmensen holds.
8:15 - Ebbett dishes to Ryan in the slot and his heavy shot is kicked away by Clemmensen.
I can't believe what I'm seeing. Husband tennis ball is wearing a Devils jersey over his flourescent hoodie. I feel betrayed.
8:05 - Giguere makes a nice stick save on an Elias shot from the wing.
Just want to let everybody know I'll be on with Steve Carroll and (possibly) Brent Severyn during the first intermission. You can listen by clicking here.
6:05 - Mike Mottau handles the puck for NJ, wearing No. 27. Can't believe they let somebody else wear that number in that uniform.
4:38 - The Ducks put a few shots on Clemmensen, but get nothing past him.
4:00 - Perry, Ebbett and Morrison on the second unit.
2:40 - Samuel Pahlsson on the first unit, despite the return of Corey Perry
2:33 - NJD Penalty - Brian Rolston, 2 min. tripping. Rolston, former Wild man, takes down Montador in the corner.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center.
5:07 p.m. - Kristen Romero of the Fullerton Police Department susprises us with her high-toned rendition of the anthem. I don't know, I guess we figured a cop would sing in a deeper voice. Nicely done, nonetheless.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; NJD Scott Clemmensen
Starting Skaters - ANA Chris Pronger, Brendan Mikkelson
, Corey Perry
, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf
; NJD Paul Martin, Johnny Oduya, Dainius Zubrus, Brian Gionta, Patrik Elias
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Drew Miller, Todd Marchant
; NJD Sheldon Brookbank
, Jay Leach