ANAHEIM – New players, same old story for the Anaheim Ducks.
Despite four recent acquisitions making their Honda Center debut, they Ducks suffered the same fate that has plagued them so many times this season – seemingly outplaying the opponent, only to fall short on the scoreboard. This time is resulted in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the rival Dallas Stars.
|Nokelainen, Bodie, Wisniewski and Whitney (with Sheldon Brookbank, second from right) were all making their home debuts for the Ducks, but couldn't help them get past Dallas.|
Trade deadline acquisitions Petteri Nokelainen, Erik Christensen and James Wisniewski were playing their first games as Ducks, while Ryan Whitney was in his fourth with his new team, but first at Honda Center. (Recent callup Troy Bodie was also playing his first game in a home uniform.) And while Wisniewski scored a goal, and all four helped the Ducks to an overwhelming 38-16 shot advantage, it wasn’t enough to overtake Dallas and goalie Marty Turco.
"With the team losing guys that they won a Stanley Cup with, I think the chemistry in the room is going to take awhile to adjust," said Christensen, who came over in a trade with Atlanta. "Some of the guys just don’t know the new guys here, like me. It might just take a couple of games for everything to feel somewhat normal again. I thought we played well. We put a lot of shots on goal. Turco stood on his head."
Former Blackhawk Wisniewski cut a 2-0 Dallas lead in half with a goal 7:31 into the third period, sending a wrist shot top shelf from the left wing after a drop pass from Corey Perry.
But the Stars quickly retook a two-goal lead when Loui Eriksson potted his second of the night a little more than a minute later, snapping a hard wrist shot from the left wing over the glove of a nearly frozen Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
Bobby Ryan, wearing a new No. 9 for the first time tonight, gave the Ducks faint signs of life with another highlight reel goal, with just 2:32 remaining in the game. Ryan sped up the left wing, eluding Mike Modano and making a slick move around Stephane Robidas before cutting toward the net and sending the puck under Turco just before spilling to the ice.
The goal ignited the sellout Honda Center crowd, but it would mark Anaheim’s last real threat, even during the closing half-minute when the Ducks sent Giguere to the bench for an extra attacker.
|Turco was very strong in net, stopping 36 of 38 Anaheim shots.
It was sweet revenge for a Dallas team that suffered a 3-2 loss at home to the Ducks in a heated affair less than a week ago. And it slightly made up for a loss they took last night in Los Angeles, when they blew a two-goal lead in the final 3:18, only to lose to the Kings in overtime.
The win also boosted the Stars two points past the Ducks in a tight race for the final Western Conference playoff spots.
"Everybody is going to beat each other and it’s going to be real tough," Giguere said. "Obviously, we want to get the points here at home. It’s not about the other team right now, it’s about us trying to win games and trying to put ourselves in a good situation. It’s up to us."
Christensen made his presence felt early in an unfortunate way, committing a hooking penalty just 29 seconds into his Ducks career.
That led directly to a Dallas power play goal 1:14 later, as Steve Ott made a nice drop pass to Mike Ribeiro, who one-timed it into the open net. That gave Ribeiro nine points in five games against the Ducks this season, the most against any team in the league.
"It was just a bad break," Christensen said. "I was nervous for sure. You try to make a good first impression and on the first shift, you take a penalty and they score. It’s not the best feeling."
Ribeiro later added a 10th point on Dallas’ second goal, a heartbreaker for a Ducks team that thoroughly dominated most of the second period, only to go down 2-0. They outshot Dallas 19-8 in the session, but were frustrated by several big stops by Turco. Dallas took their 2-0 lead with 5:21 left in the period when Ribeiro dropped the puck to Steve Ott, who sent it across the middle to Eriksson for the payoff one-timer.
Eriksson’s two goals were his 30th and 31st of the season, and Turco came up big with 36 saves, giving them just their second win in the last eight games.
"I think with the number of chances that we did create and the pucks we directed at the net, he made some big stops," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "Some stops he didn’t even see. But that is when things are going your way as a goalie and things are hitting you. You have to take your hat off to him. He battled and had made the stops for their hockey club."
The Ducks will look to bounce back Sunday when they take on Minnesota at Honda Center .
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks outshoot Dallas, 9-6, but Dallas gets a big early one on the power play following a Christensen hook. It's 1-0 bad guys.
19:13 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. tripping. Selanne comes from behind Robidas playing the puck in the corner and throws his stick into the back of the little guy's legs.
From looking at the overhead replay, I'm still not sure how Perry's wraparound didn't cross the stripe. Actually, I think it might have.
18:11 - Perry comes from behind the net and tries a wraparound that Turco stops. After Perry tries one poke at it, Mark Fistric gives him such a shove, Perry goes flying to the ice.
Can't believe that when Erik Christensen was playing here with Atlanta this year, I made a joke that "she was really good in 'Swimfan' and 'Traffic'" and now we have him.
16:09 - First timeout of the game comes with 3:51 left in the period. Not sure how that happened. The Power Players fell asleep.
5:10 - Christensen gives a nice feed to Getzlaf for a backhand he can't quite get a lot on. Still, nice feed.
Kinda weird seeing Bobby Ryan wearing 9. I guess I'll get used to it.
10:40 - Perry dumps it into the corner and it takes a crazy hope off the seem in the glass and heads toward the net. Turco isn't really paying attention and it almost sneaks inside the near post.
8:30 - The Ducks aren't doing much in the Dallas zone, while the Stars put some pressure on in the other end.
Before the game I gave a talk to a group of Girl Scouts that are here for the game. I gave a brief opening speech, and then asked if they had any questions. After a couple of questions like, “Why do you like your job?” and “Are you friends with any players?” I got one from a girl in a white Ducks jersey with the number 14 on it. She raised her hand and asked, “Why did you trade Kunitz?” How do you explain that to a 10-year-old?
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