By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Inconsistency has been a problem for this year’s Anaheim Ducks, but there has been one constant – they can’t seem to figure out the Edmonton Oilers.
For the second time in three nights, the Ducks (12-12-4) were overwhelmed by an Edmonton team (12-14-1) that is near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Oilers scored twice in each of the first two stanzas on their way to a 4-0 victory over Anaheim at Honda Center.
The win was the second straight over the Ducks for the Oilers, who beat Anaheim 5-1 at Rexall Place on Friday night, and the third overall this season. (The Oilers took a 3-2 decision in a shootout in Anaheim on Oct. 28.)
"We’re the only guys, the guys in this room, that are going to turn this around," said Rob Niedermayer, whose Ducks have now lost three of four. "We just have to stay positive and work our room out of this.It’s not something in this league where it’s a switch that you can just turn on and off. It’s something that you have to work towards, that you have to commit to and that’s what we have to do in here."
Mathieu Garon, getting the nod in place of No. 1 goalie Dwayne Roloson (who beat the Ducks Friday night) had 25 saves in blanking the Ducks. Entering tonight, Garon had a pedestrian 3.49 goals against average in 12 games versus Anaheim, which included the past two seasons with the Kings. But he was very tough on this night, posting his first shutout against the Ducks and the 12th of his NHL life.
Raffi Torres got the scoring started for the Oilers 9:29 into the first, tapping in a rebound off Ducks goalie J.S. Giguere, who had trouble scrambling into position after blocking Zack Stortini’s slap shot.
Just 35 seconds before the end of the first, Edmonton capitalized on the last of three penalties in the period for the Ducks. Former Duck Dustin Penner was given the goal after a shot from the left circle by Robert Nilsson deflecting off Penner's face. It popped into the air off the big forward’s body and flipped over Giguere’s shoulder.
Meanwhile, the Ducks only managed four shots in the period, which was at least three more than the single shot they got off in the third period Friday night. Trailing 2-0 after the horn sounded, the Ducks’ trip to the dressing room was met with a smattering of boos.
Anaheim came back strong on the offensive end in the second period, putting 14 shots on Garon but getting none through. Meanwhile, the Oilers got two goals of their own within just more than two minutes of each other to make it 4-0.
Joni Pitkanen got a slap shot from the point through everybody at 7:15 with the Oilers on the power play, benefiting from screens in front by Penner and Torres. At 9:19, Tom Gilbert took a Sam Gagner pass in the slot and made a move to his forehand before flipping it past the outstretched skate of Giguere.
In between, Ryan Getzlaf had a wide open net but his one-timer was blocked by Edmonton defenseman Allan Rourke.
The two teams went scoreless in the third, with the Ducks outshooting the Oilers 7-5, giving Anaheim a 25-21 advantage for the game. But they couldn’t get anything past Garon in suffering their sixth shutout loss this season.
"At the end of the day, we have to realize that it’s a game and we need to have fun," said Giguere. "We’re just not having fun right now. "
Shane Hnidy and Todd Marchant were scratches for the Ducks. The Oilers had Fernando Pisani in the lineup for the first time this season, after Pisani missed the first 26 games with ulcerative colitis.
We couldn’t garner any emotional energy whatsoever," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "The analysis that I took out of it was it’s not like [we] didn’t try. It seemed like [our] gas tank was empty, emotionally, physically and mentally. [We] tried and got frustrated. But, we’ll have to re-charge our batteries and re-energize. We looked like we were a half a step behind all night."
The Ducks face Buffalo at Honda Center on Wednesday.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Garon shuts out the Ducks, 4-0 for Edmonton's second straight win over Anaheim.
18:02 - ANA Penalty - George Parros
, 10 min. misconduct. The Ducks and Oilers get into it after the whistle, and Parros, standing in the Ducks bench area, almost attacks someone on the Oilers bench soon after.
18:02 - Garon makes another great save, stretching out to knock down a Kent Huskins shot with the glove.
15:45 - Huskins clears the puck on the power play, and one guy in the crowd below us sarcastically yells, "YEAH!" I think he's drunk.
14:07 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. tripping. Soon after the whistle blows, Bertuzzi kicks the puck out of frustration.
14:07 - The Ducks look to get their first score with a loose puck, but neither Andy McDonald nor Todd Bertuzzi can punch it in.
There is a whole empty row about 10 rows behind the Ducks goal. That's pretty rare. Now it's getting even emptier, as several fans file out of here. Not a great night.
We're at the timeout and you could hear a pin drop in this place. I think I could actually hear the Power Players skates as they hit the ice.
4:28 - Giguere snags a shot from the slot high out of the air.
Two tennis balls tonight, five rows back.
0:37 - EDM Penalty - Joni Pitkanen, 2 min. interference. A chance for the Ducks to get an early one.
0:00 - The puck is dropped for the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks play much better offensively, getting off 14 shots after just four in the first period. But they get nothing through, and give up two to the Oilers during the middle part of the period. It's 4-0 Edmonton and there is more booing as the Ducks head to the room.
19:54 - The Ducks again put shot pressure on Garon, but can't get anything through. He's playing quite well in place of Roloson, who also traditionally kills the Ducks.
18:45 - Garon comes way out to clear the puck and it's knocked down by Bertuzzi, but he can't put it on net before Garon scrambles back.
17:57 - Perry's shot on the move is stopped by Garon, as is Getzlaf's rebound try.
15:26 - Just as the second penalty runs out, McDonald's wrister is saved and held by Garon. The Ducks and Oilers get into it after the whistle, reflecting some Ducks frustration with the goings-on.
14:25 - Brodziak gets behind the defense on a breakaway, but Giguere stops him nicely.
13:23 - EDM Penalty - Tom Gilbert, 2 min. tripping. The Ducks get a 5 on 3, something they had trouble with in Edmonton on Friday.
13:11 - A Pronger slapper is stopped briefly by Garon, but slides away from him. But they blow the whistle anyway, saying he froze it. Bad call.
The video board shows a young boy jumping up and down, and the wall behind him clearly reveals he and his dad are in the last row. Still, he looks pretty happy.
12:03 - EDM Penalty - Denis Grebeshkov, 2 min. interference. Grebeshkov gets nabbed while trying to thwart the Ducks' sudden offensive push.
12:00 - The Ducks have several shots on the Edmonton net, but Garon denies them all, the last a Drew Miller one-timer from the slot.
9:19 - EDMONTON GOAL - TOM GILBERT - Gagner feeds Gilbert in the slot, and Gilbert makes a move to his forehand before snapping a wrister that slides by the outstretched skate of Giguere. It's 4-nil.
7:15 - EDMONTON GOAL(POWER PLAY) - JONI PITKANEN - Horcoff feeds it to Pitkanen at the top, and after holding it awhile, Pitkanen fires a slap shot that gets through everybody, including Giguere. It's helped by a Raffi Torres screen in front. It's 3-0 Oil.
5:52 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. interference. A suddenly pumped up Bertuzzi impedes the path of Gilbert. Another Edmonton PP.
5:41 - Torres speeds by Schneider to pick up a puck that Schneider mishandled, but his shot is stuffed by the Ducks. After the whistle, Bertuzzi shoves Stortini in the face. We'll see how that develops.
2:50 - Miller makes a nice pass to Kunitz in the shlot, but Kuni's wrister is stopped by Garon.
0:00 - Second act.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks take three penalties and pay for the last one, as Penner gets the PP goal. That and the goal midway through it by Torres makes it 2-0 Oilers. A smattering of boos comes up from the crowd as the Ducks leave the ice for the break.
18:25 - EDMONTON GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DUSTIN PENNER - Robert Nilsson throws the puck on net from the left circle and it deflects off Penner in front, popping into the air and over Giguere's shoulder. A short review to see if Penner kicked it confirms the goal. It's Penner's fifth of the season, after he had 29 last year for ... I can't remember who he was with. Ducks fans boo when his name is announced as the goal scorer.
17:03 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. hooking. Another minor for C.P.
13:29 - The Ducks have trouble finding their way during the power play, and shots by Pronger and McDonald can't get through.
13:03 - EDM Penalty - Kyle Brodziak, 2 min. holding. The Ducks get an opportunity now.
11:29 - The Ducks take advantage of an Edmonton turnover to spend the last 30 seconds of the power play in the Oilers zone.
10:32 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. cross checking. Getzlaf gives Joni Pitkanen a shot to the face into the boards. Pitkanen doesn't like it, so Getzlaf gives gives him a shot to the face and gets caught.
9:29 - EDMONTON GOAL - RAFFI TORRES - Zack Stortini's slap shot from the point is awkwardly saved by Giguere, who has trouble getting back into position as Torres one-times the rebound past him on the stick side. Second assist goes to Jarrret Stoll, who fed Stortini in the middle. It's 1-0 Edmonton.
7:57 - The Ducks get a big kill.
5:57 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. goaltender interference. Perry runs into Garon as the goalie clears the puck behind the net. I've seen European soccer players do a more convincing job of flopping to the ground.
3:46 - Giguere's mask gets knocked off after he's run into by Fernando Pisani after smothering the puck. Pisani is back after missing the whole season so far with ulcerative colitis. Look it up.
0:35 - Garon makes his first save, on a Pronger rocket.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center. Luckily, none of the Edmonton goals from Friday night carry over tonight.
Starting Goaltender: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; EDM Mathieu Garon
Starting Skaters: ANA Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; EDM Shawn Horcoff, Joni Pitkanan, Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert, Sam Gagner
Scratches: ANA Shane Hnidy, Todd Marchant
; EDM Geoff Sanderson, Ales Hemsky