By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Sunday night against Edmonton, the Ducks faced one former member of last year’s prosperous PPG line, and they were missing another because of injury. The third forward from that line, Corey Perry, did all he could in regulation with a goal and an assist. But he was one of the two Ducks to miss the mark in a losing shootout effort, as Edmonton prevailed, 3-2.
Perry had his team-leading sixth goal in pushing the Ducks to a 2-1 lead in the third period, but a late shorthanded goal by Edmonton tied it and they ultimately overtook the Ducks in the shootout that has been unkind to Anaheim since its inception in 2005-06.
The loss was Anaheim’s fourth in a row and dropped the defending Stanley Cup champ’s record to an eye-opening 4-7-2.
"It's disappointing," said Ducks goalie J.S. Giguere. We found a way to lose tonight. But you build with positives and I think there were a lot more positives tonight than negatives."
The game marked the return to Anaheim of former Ducks forward Dustin Penner, who signed a controversial offer sheet with Edmonton last August. Penner received a smattering of boos when he touched the puck on his first shift, and those few boos were mostly drowned out by classy cheers when a “Welcome, Dustin Penner” message went up on the video board.
"I didn't know what to anticipate," Penner said. "You never really fully understand what it is going to be like until you come back. That first period was just a lot of emotions and memories running through my mind. Seeing the Ducks jerseys on the other side of the bench and knowing I'm wearing an Oilers one was a pretty interesting feeling."
The Ducks again played without injured forward Ryan Getzlaf (the “G” on that PPG line), who is still nursing a strained forearm suffered at St. Louis last Tuesday. They were also missing Rob Niedermayer (groin) for the third straight game and continued to play without defenseman Mathieu Schneider (ankle) and forward Todd Bertuzzi (concussion).
The Ducks took a 2-1 lead the third when Andy McDonald retrieved the puck from the side boards and gave Perry a slick pass in the slot that Perry one -timed in the top-right corner of the goal.
It looked to be the Ducks’ game when Edmonton’s Steve Staios took a high-sticking penalty with 2:57 left and the Ducks still holding a one-goal lead. But Edmonton broke Anaheim’s back with a shorthanded goal by Andre Cogliano with just 1:27 remaining in regulation. Cogliano redirected a Geoff Sanderson wrist shot from the blue line for the shorthanded tally that took the life out of the sellout crowd at Honda Center.
After a scoreless five minutes of overtime, in which Perry put the pressure on in the final minute, he led off the shootout by being thwarted by Edmonton goalie Mathieu Garon, one of several big stops by the netminder. Sam Gagner responded by easily scoring on a deke past J.S. Giguere. Garon saved Chris Kunitz’s attempt at the equalizer, and Ales Hemsky followed by sealing it for Edmonton.
Hemsky scored the first goal of regulation for Edmonton, which improved to 5-7-0 on the season.
The two teams were scoreless for the first 12:41 of the game until Hemsky buried a one-timer over Giguere’s glove, straight off a Shawn Horcoff faceoff win in the Anaheim zone.
For the first period and a half, the Ducks had trouble getting anything past Garon, playing his first year with the Oilers after two in L.A.. Garon made the start over No. 1 netminder Dwayne Roloson, who was in goal the night before in a 4-1 loss at the Kings.
Garon entered the contest with a very mediocre 3-5-0 record and 3.67 goals against average in 11 games against Anaheim. He saved everything the Ducks threw at him until 11:51 into the second period, as Chris Kunitz gave the Ducks their first goal in the last six periods. Corey Perry made the play happen by taking the puck from Oilers center Marty Reasoner in the corner. He then made a perfect pass through the legs of Steve Staios and under the stick of Ladislav Smid, right to Kunitz who one-timed it in the open left side of the net.
If not for a huge save by Garon with 2:58 left in that same period, it could have easily been 2-1 Ducks going into the third. Garon went flat on his stomach after a Francois Beauchemin shot from the point was deflected in front. Brad May had a seemingly open top half of the net as he followed with a backhand, but Garon somehow swatted it away with the glove while still prone.
Garon saved 30 of 32 Anaheim shots on the night.
The Ducks will try to break their losing skid at Thursday at home against Columbus.
"It's not time to feel sorry for ourselves," McDonald said. "We've got to overcome this. It's not going to get any easier. Guys are pretty frustrated right now."
Edmonton wins it 3-2 in the shootout.
Ales Hemsky's shootout attempt is .. a goal
Chris Kunitz's shootout attempt is ... saved by a sprawling Garon
Sam Gagner's shootout attempt is ... a goal (dekes around Giguere)
Corey Perrry's shootout attempt is ... saved by Garon
PA announcer Phil Hullett announces, "We're tied. That means we're going to a shootout!" With the Ducks' record in the format, it's no surprise that wasn't met with a wild cheer.
5:00 - About 10 seconds before the period ends, Andy McDonald makes a drop pass to no one in particular. The Oilers recover it and get off a shot that Giguere saves just before the horn. The Ducks dodge a bullet. It's shootout time.
1:15 - A suddenly offensive Kent Huskins tries a one-timer from the slot off a Marchant pass, but it misses the net.
0:45 - Pahlsson finds the puck at the top of the crease, but his backhander is saved by a sprawling Garon.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - A back-breaking goal with 1:27 left forces overtime. We're tied 2-2 going into the five-minute extra session.
19:58 - Kent Huskins nearly finds the net with a one-timer off a loose puck from the left circle, but Garon expertly kicks it away just before time expires.
19:14 - Moen tries to do the same thing as Cogliano, redirecting a Francois Beauchemin slap shot from the point, but it just slides by the left post.
18:33 - EDMONTON GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - ANDREW COGLIANO - Geoff Sanderson wrists a shot from the blue line that Cogliano redirects with a quick flick in front of the net. Devastating goal given up by the Ducks, who were on the power play. It's tied 2-2.
17:03 - EDM Penalty - Steve Staios, 2 min. high sticking. Staios accidentally hits Perry in the face behind the Edmonton net.
There is a large sign up on the wall between the 422 and 423 levels. It's a drawing of Waldo (as in Where's Waldo?) with Scott Niedermayer's face pasted over Waldo's. I like it.
12:04 - Andy McDonald's one-timer is knocked away by Garon's glove. The puck is momentarily loose in front, but Anaheim can't follow it before Oilers defensemen kick it away.
10:39 - EDM Penalty - Zack Stortini, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. Stortini gets the minor for his post-whistle shenanigans.
10:39 - Brad May gets the puck at the red line and moves well down the left wing. His shot is deflected out of play. George Parros and Zack Stortini get into it a bit after the whistle, much to the crowd's approval.
7:50 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Andy McDonald tracks down the puck in the left corner and gives a slick pass to Perry who rifles a one-timer under the top left corner of the net. Kunitz helps with a bit of a screen in front of Gardon. It's 2-1 Ducks and this crowd comes alive.
6:17 - Pahlsson gets off a slap shot on the move in the slot and Garon saves and holds it from a charging Moen.
5:30 - Andy McDonald speedily skates with it down the left wing and unleashes a low shot that Garon kicks away and it trickles just past the right post.
4:15 - An Oiler shot from the point gets behind Giguere and sits in the blue paint. Sam Gagner tries to reach out and scoop it in, but can't get to it before Pahlsson clears it out of there. The Ducks dodge a bullet.
3:00 - Anaheim kills. Say this for the Ducks - their penalty kill looks solid right now.
2:45 - Huge play by Marchant to tap the puck out of the zone with Samuel Pahlsson rushing to the bench to get a new stick after his broke on the faceoff.
2:00 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. hooking. Oilers get the man advantage.
1:30 - Penner whiffs on a one-timer attempt right at the top of the crease.
0:00 - We're back at it in the third, the Ducks and Oilers tied at 1.
During the intermission, it's time for the What Would You Do For a Honda Ridgeline video contest. The first video is a rather tame one in which a fan shows off his Ducks tattoo. The second one shows a guy getting a back waxing from his wife while he wears a Ducks cap. At the end she says, "Ready for a Brazilian?" and he believably says, "What's a Brazilian? ... Seriously, what's a Brazilian?" When it's time for the fan vote at the end, the first video gets little cheering, and even some boos. The waxing video gets huge cheers and wins by a mile.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks come on strong, outshooting Edmonton 14-9 in the period and getting a pretty Chris Kunitz goal at 11:51. But Garon almost single-handedly keeps it from getting any worse. We're tied 1-1 with 20 minutes of regulation to go.
19:21 - Pronger's hard slap shot from the point is gloved by Garon.
17:02 - In one of the greatest saves of the season, Garon is flat on his stomach after a deflected Beauchemin shot from the point. When May tries to bury a backhand shot on the rebound, Garon somehow throws the glove in the air and swats it away. Just a monstrous stop.
16:30 - Travis Moen makes a gorgeous move to take the puck and spin around Tim Gilbert. His subsuquent slap shot from the left wing is knocked away by Garon.
15:45 - Speaking of hard work, Jason King is skating very well tonight.
14:32 - Pahlsson, who continues to work harder than anyone out there, tries to backhand a pass to a charging McDonald, but Garon gloves it before it can get there.
13:44 - As the Ducks do well to keep the puck in the Oilers zone, Andy McDonald throws a pass in front that Perry tries to re-direct, but Garon swallows it.
11:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Corey Perry takes the puck from Marty Reasoner in the corner, then slides a perfect pass through the legs of Steve Staios and under the stick of Ladislav Smid, right to Kunitz who one-times it in the open left side of the net. It's a pretty goal, the Ducks' first goal in their last six periods, and it's 1-1.
8:34 - Mathieu Roy slides a backhander from the left faceoff dot that Giguere covers. The Oilers are outshooting the Ducks, 16-9.
7:02 - Kyle Brodziak's pass across the crease is almost tapped in by a charging Geoff Sanderson, but Giguere steps up to thwart it.
At the timeout, it's time for the Ducks Trivia Challenge. Here we go, Tim from Riverside. On Oct. 6 vs. Pittsburgh, this Anaheim Ducks player scored his 100th career NHL point. Was it Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz or Ryan Getzlaf? He guesses McDonald. That's dead wrong. It's Getzlaf. Poor effort, if you ask me.
5:25 - Kent Huskins picks up a rebound in the slot after a Brad May shot, but misses the cage with his follow-up. May tries to follow that up as Roloson is way out of position, but his quick shot from the corner slides across the crease.
3:50 - Garon makes a nice high save on an Andy McDonald shot from the slot.
2:59 - The Ducks luckily kill it.
2:55 - Giguere again makes more big saves as the Sam Gagner and then Cogliano try to stuff the puck in on the power play.
2:10 - Andrew Cogliano tries a one-timer from the slot and Giguere is in perfect position to make the save.
0:59 - ANA Penalty - Sean O'Donnell, 2 min. cross checking. With the Oilers still on the power play, Torres tries a backhander that Giguere makes a nice glove save on. After the whistle, O'Donnell pushes Shawn Horcoff from behind right into Giguere.
0:00 - And we're back at it in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Oilers outshoot the Ducks, 8-5, and get a goal from Ales Hemsky 12:41 into it. It's 1-0 Oilers after one.
19:04 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. hooking. It's a questionable call on Pahlsson as he allegedly hooks the Oilers player behind their net. Edmonton goes on the power play.
17:45 - Tom Gilbert puts a nice, low hit on Jason King as King skates up the left wing into the Edmonton zone. It sends King to the ground. There is no whistle and the crowd doesn't like it.
16:44 - Giguere goes behind the net to clear the puck and is drilled by Raffi Torres, as Torres goes down and Giguere loses his mark. The play is whistled dead, but there is no penalty.
12:41 - EDM GOAL - ALES HEMSKY - Right off the faceoff, Hemsky slaps a one-timer from the top of the right circle that sails high past Giguere's glove. Shawn Horcoff, who won the faceoff, gets the lone assist. It's 1-0 Oilers.
12:10 - The Ducks kill the penalty with only one shot on goal.
10:10 - ANA Penalty - Petteri Wirtanen, 2 min. slashing. Wirtanen gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar as the Ducks try to clear it in front.
10:00 - Ales Hemsky rips a one-timer from the right circle that Giguere saves.
9:23 - WELCOME DUSTIN PENNER goes up on the video board, with a shot of him on the bench. It leads to mostly cheers from the crowd, accompanied by some boos.
8:46 - Pronger takes a slap shot that Garon kicks wide and Mowers can't put back the rebound.
8:35 - Mark Mowers does a nice job to keep the puck in the Edmonton zone, and gets it to Jason King, who feeds Sammy Pahlsson in the slot. Pahlsson's shot goes wide.
6:49 - EDM Penalty - Marty Reasoner, 2 min. tripping. The Ducks go on the power play, where they are 4 of 55 in their last nine games coming into this one.
4:50 Marchant tries a one-timer from the right circle off a Moen pass, but misses the net.
3:34 - Garon goes behind the net to chase the puck, but it hits the boards and comes right to Kunitz. He winds up and fires a one-timer just as Garon is rushing to get back, but it flies over everything and into the protective netting. Replays show the puck was bouncing a bit on Kunitz.
0:43 - Penner gets the puck in the corner and a smattering of boos emanates from the Honda Center crowd. Not overly loud, however.
0:00 - We're underway as the Ducks put their fourth line of Parros, Marchant and May out first. Edmonton counters iwth Stoll, Stortini and Penner. D-man Ladislav Smid, a former Duck who went over in the Chris Pronger trade, was just called up by the Oilers and starts.
Pregame 5:07 - Fabulous version of the Canadian anthem by Dawn Wright and the U.S. anthem by Gunnery Sgt. Juan Contreras.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; EDM Mathieu Gardon
Starting Skaters: ANA Shane Hnidy, George Parros, Todd Marchant, Francois Beauchemin, Brad May; EDM Ladislav Smid, Jarrett Stoll, Dustin Penner, Mathieu Roy, Zack Stortini
Scratches: ANA Ryan Getzlaf, Maxim Kondratiev, Rob Niedermayer; EDM Dick Tarnstrom, Joni Pitkanen, Marc Pouliot