By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – A night that got off to an odd start ended in dramatic and thrilling fashion for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning each went scoreless through all of regulation and almost all of overtime, before Ryan Getzlaf scored with just 5.2 seconds left in OT to give his team a spectacular victory in front of 16,648 at Honda Center. It was the ninth win in 10 home games for the Ducks this year, and triumphantly snapped a five-game losing streak.
Things got off to a strange start even before the puck was dropped tonight. Viktor Fasth, who was slotted to be the starter, was a late scratch after suffering a lower-body injury in warm-ups, giving way to Jonas Hiller. And national anthem singer Dawn Wright had no audio coming from her mic during the entire song, with the crowd making up for it by singing along vociferously.
Once things got started, they didn’t exactly get going on the scoreboard. Neither the Ducks nor the Lightning found the net for the first 64:54 of the game, despite combining for 73 shots on net. Hiller and Tampa Bay netminder Ben Bishop were both outstanding, as Bishop turned away 42 Anaheim shots and Hiller stopped 31 of his own for his first shutout of the season. "Just a couple minutes before we went out, I got the call that I'm starting," Hiller said. "It wasn't easy, but I had a couple good saves early, so I got into the game right away."
Getzlaf finally ended the drought with a desperation shot late in overtime, firing a hard wrister from the left wing that caromed hard off Bishop and was knocked just past him by defenseman Sami Salo on the rebound. Bishop just missed snatching the puck with his glove, and defenseman Richard Panik almost made the save as he dove for the puck with his stick, but he ultimately knocked it over stripe.
As he did, the home crowd nearly blew the roof off Honda Center and Getzlaf’s teammates came pouring off the bench to mob him near the glass.
"I just knew there wasn’t much time left, so I just wanted to go on one last rush and get one on net," Getzlaf said. "I ended up getting two cracks at it and managed to get it over the shoulder, and I kind of blacked out after that."
Despite the pregame oddities, there was a nice moment prior to puck drop when Scott Niedermayer was honored with his family for his recent induction into the Hockey Hall-of-Fame. And it came on a night when he had to be proud of the defensive effort by both sides, not to mention the overtime dramatics he was known for in his decorated career.
Not only that, but according to Hiller, the pregame festivities helped him get settled. "It was almost nice to have the ceremony for Scotty," he said, "so I had a little extra time to focus and warm up."
His play, as well as Bishop's impressed Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "I didn’t think anybody was going to score on those goalies," he said. "That was probably as good a goaltending display from both goaltenders I’ve seen in a very long time."
The Ducks will look to keep the momentum going tomorrow night in Phoenix.
Tonight marks Anaheim’s first 1-0 OT win since Nov. 4, 2008 at Los Angeles (Pronger OT goal, Giguere with 35 saves).
Tonight marks Anaheim’s first 1-0 win at Honda Center (regulation or OT) since Oct. 14, 2011 vs. San Jose (Hiller, 31 saves).
Ryan Getzlaf scored the first OT goal of his career. His five game-winning goals this season lead the NHL. He has scored 13 goals this season and has earned 8-5=13 points with a +9 rating in his last eight contests. His team-leading 13-13=26 points rank tied for second in the NHL, while his 13 goals rank tied for fourth.
Jonas Hiller recorded his second shutout of the season and 18th of his career, stopping all 31 shots he faced.