Ducks wrap up road swing by taking on Panthers
Monday, 02.01.2010 / 4:30 PM
NHL.comDUCKS (25-23-7) at PANTHERS (24-22-9)
Anaheim 6-4-0; Florida 6-2-2
This is the only meeting of the season between the Ducks and Panthers. They last met on Nov. 9, 2008, with Florida claiming a 3-1 win in Anaheim behind a natural hat trick from David Booth.
There will no longer be any sort of goaltending controversy in Anaheim. First, Jonas Hiller
received a contract extension and then the Ducks traded former Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup winner Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the Maple Leafs on Sunday for goalie Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake
Hiller, who has posted 21 wins, a 2.75 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage this season, unseated Giguere heading into last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs and has firmly established himself as the go-to guy in net.
"We are pleased to add Jason and Vesa," Anaheim GM Bob Murray said. "Vesa will get an opportunity to play behind Jonas Hiller
and Jason brings veteran leadership and offense to our club."
This is the finale of a six-game road trip for Anaheim, which could salvage a split by winning Monday. The Ducks started it by losing three of four, but came up with a 2-1 shootout win over the Lightning on Friday. Defensemen James Wisniewski
has become their secret weapon in the penalty-shot tiebreaker -- he is now 2-for-2 career with a pair of game-deciding goals.
"We might have to stick with him," coach Randy Carlyle said. "The guy won the last one for us (Jan. 23 in St. Louis), so if it's not broken, don't try and fix it."
Booth's return was one of the highlights of Sunday's 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders. The other was the seventh shutout of the season for Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun, tying him with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the league lead. Defensemen Jordan Leopold and Keith Ballard scored the goals, but Booth was the darling of the home fans as he played his first game for the Panthers since a scary incident in an Oct. 24 game against Philadelphia where he suffered a serious concussion. He assisted on the Leopold goal and had three shots in 12:55 of ice time.
"It was exciting," Booth said. "It felt like October again. You just jump right back into the flow and it's a good feeling."
In addition to his two shootout winners, Wisniewski also has a goal and two assists during regulation of Anaheim's past four games. … Vokoun has made up for an anemic Florida offense that has scored just nine goals in its last seven games by recording three shutouts over that span and allowing just one goal three other times.
Forwards Teemu Selanne
(broken jaw) and Joffrey Lupul
(back surgery) remain out for the Ducks. … Forward Nathan Horton (broken tibia) is sidelined for the Panthers.
Blake has 10 goals and 26 points in 56 games this season. During an 11-year career with the Kings, Islanders and Maple Leafs, he has 184 goals and 427 points in 724 games. Toskala is 7-12-3 this season with a 3.66 GAA and .874 save percentage. During an eight-year career with the Sharks and Maple Leafs, he is 127-82-25 with five ties, a 2.77 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
In addition to the trades, Anaheim recalled goalie Justin Pogge from the AHL to back up Hiller while it waits for Toskala's immigration paperwork to process and reassigned forward Dan Sexton
to make room on its roster for Blake.