By Adam Brady
The personnel for both teams was slightly different from the last time Vancouver faced the Ducks at Honda Center. Unfortunately for Anaheim, so was the result, as the Canucks rode a fast start and hung on for a 3-2 victory.
|Chris Pronger had the first of the Ducks' two goals, a slap shot in the second period.
The Canucks scored the first three goals of the game, two by players who had never scored goals in the NHL before, and barely withstood a Ducks charge in the third period.
Trailing 3-1 going into the final stanza, the Ducks outshot Vancouver a whopping 16-1 in the period, but didn’t find the net until there was 1:31 to go in game. That was on a slap shot by Mathieu Schneider deflected in by Todd Bertuzzi, with goalie J.S. Giguere pulled from the net to give the Ducks a man advantage. But Anaheim’s efforts to score the tying marker were denied over the final minute and a half.
It was Vancouver’s first visit to Anaheim for the Canucks in the regular season since the Ducks beat them in the clinching Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals. That game was won in double overtime on a Scott Niedermayer shot past a distracted Roberto Luongo, the star netminder who had briefly turned his head to dispute a no-call on a Rob Niedermayer hit.
Neither Scott Niedermayer nor Luongo played in this one, however. Niedermayer, whose comeback from retirement indecision is delayed for another game or two, was in attendance at Honda Center to catch the game. Luongo, meanwhile, sat out his second straight with rib soreness.
In his stead, backup Curtis Sanford had 34 saves to earn the victory, including 15 in the Ducks-dominated third period.
|Canucks goalie Curtis Sanford had 34 saves, including 15 in the third.
"I think we worked relatively hard in the last two periods and showed that desperation," said Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf. "The first period was a weird period. We were trying to get our matchups in and it was tough to get rolling. I thought we did a great job coming out in the last half of that game and working. The bounces didn’t go our way and they worked a little bit harder to get the win tonight."
For the 11th straight time, the Ducks gave up the first goal of the game, a streak in which they have gone 5-5-1. They also gave up the second and third, two of which were first the first NHL goals for their scorers. After more than 17 1/2 minutes of mostly uneventful hockey, Mason Raymond, just called up from Manitoba yesterday, found the net for the first time in his career at 17:35. Raymond took a feed from the left wing from Jason Jaffrey (also called up yesterday) and one-timed it inside the right post.
Jaffrey scored one of his own 4:54 into the second, when his pass from behind the net hit the post and he recovered it himself with enough space to turn and wrist it top shelf.
In between those NHL firsts was a goal by a guy who already had 130 of them. Daniel Sedin followed Raymond’s goal with another one just 1:05 later in the first. After Chris Kunitz’s clearing attempt slid off his stick, Sedin picked it up and slapped it over the shoulder of Giguere.
"We put ourselves in a hole in the first period," Schneider said. "A couple of mistakes cost us. I think after that we certainly came out with a lot of intensity."
The Ducks managed cut into the Vancouver lead 5:51 into in the second, as Corey Perry dropped a pass to Chris Pronger, who rifled a slap shot under the top right corner of the cage.
The third period was all Ducks as they kept the puck in the Vancouver zone for most of it, outshooting Vancouver 14-0 over a 17-minute period. But they could only get the late goal from Bertuzzi, and in the last minute a Ducks attempt to punch in a loose puck was barely thwarted by Sanford near the right post.
"That kid played the game of his life tonight over there," Schneider said. "I thought we had bodies in front. We had deflections. Everything just seemed to be hitting him in just the right spots."
Keeping the Ducks at bay in the third followed a trend for Vancouver, which is 14-0 when leading after two periods this year. The oft-penalized Ducks had no penalties in the first and third periods, but had six in the second. Vancouver was 0-for-4 on the power play, only the third time in 20 games the Ducks didn't allow a goal while short-handed.
Anaheim’s Andy McDonald played in his 276th straight game, breaking Samuel Pahlsson’s team record. Coincidentally, Vancouver forward Brendan Morrison sat out the game with a wrist injury, snapping his consecutive games streak at 542, which was the longest active run in the NHL. The injury to Morrison and Drew Isbister (groin) necessitated the call-ups of Raymond and Jaffrey, which paid immediate dividends for the Canucks.
"Everyone’s here for a reason. There’s a whole pile of guys that play in the minors that could probably play in the NHL if there were numbers," Getzlaf said. "When teams call those guys up, they’re more excited than ever. They came out and got big goals for their team."
The Ducks are back at it Friday at Honda Center, when they face another 2007 playoff opponent, Minnesota. The Ducks took down the Wild 4 games to 1 in last year’s opening round.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks put the pressure on in the last minute, but can't get off a decent shot as the Canucks hang on for the 3-2 victory.
19:04 - Ducks net still empty.
19:04 - The Ducks nearly get another, with the loose puck in front of Sanford and several Anaheim players trying to punch it in. But he holds it away from the stripe with the help of the right post.
18:29 - ANAHEIM GOAL - With the Ducks net empty, Schneider rips a one-timer from the top of the right circle that deflects off Bertuzzi, hits the right post and goes in. Suddenly, it's 3-2 Canucks.
17:58 - Giguere goes to the bench, as the Ducks get the extra man.
12:27 - Huge kill for Vancouver, as the Ducks put the pressure on.
11:40 - Schneider gets a couple of chances at it, the first a backhand in the slot that's just kicked away, the second a one-timer from the right circle that Sanford gobbles.
10:27 - VAN Penalty - Ryan Kesler, 2 min. holding. Big chance for the resurgent Ducks.
9:40 - Shots on goal in the last 17 minutes, 14-0 Anaheim.
9:40 - Perry is right there for a rebound with an open net, but his return shot is kicked by Sanford and flies over the crossbar to the crowd's dismay.
9:30 - The Ducks spend a good two minutes in the Vancouver zone before it's kicked out.
7:45 - Kunitz gets loose in the slot and whips one that is saved high by Sanford.
The scoreboard asks the fans to "Make Some Noise." It doesn't really work.
4:10 - Getzlaf gets in deep with the help of a Bert screen. His shot trickles off Sanford and just past the outside of the right post. Tough break.
3:51 - VAN Penalty - Lucas Krajicek, 2 min. hooking. Pahlssson makes a nice pass to a streaking Marchant in front, but he goes down before he can tip it. That's where the penalty came from.
0:00 - We're underway.
During the intermission, Scott Niedermayer is interviewed on TV. So, he's in the house, just not where he belongs.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get one back, from Chris Pronger 5:51 into it, but they also give one up and still trail by two goals.
17:55 - Bertuzzi makes a nice pass to Marchant in the slot, but his shot is kicked free.
16:43 - ANA and VAN Penalties - ANA Travis Moen and VAN Mike Brown, 4 min. each roughing. Right off the draw, Moen and Brown face off, and it quickly ends when Moen drags Brown to the ice. They both get 4 and head straight to their rooms. Dressing rooms, that is.
The video board shows Willie O'Ree, who broke the color barrier in pro hockey on Jan. 18, 1958.
14:15 - Marchant inexplicably sends the puck right in front of the Ducks net, and Jaffray pounces on it and takes a shot, but Giguere is right there.
13:15 - Giguere makes a nice save in the gut from the top of the crease on an Edler shot.
12:32 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. holding. Pahlsson gets whistled after diving for the puck and sweeping at it as he and Daniel Sedin both go down to the ice. Absolutely atrocious call. Pahlsson went to the locker room and Bertuzzi will serve the penalty.
11:49 - VAN Penalty - Markus Naslund, 2 min. hooking. We're 4 on 4 for a bit.
11:26 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. hooking. Just after the Vancouver power play runs out, Perry creates another one.
9:29 - Marchant outskates everybody to pick up a loose puck and eludes a diving Mattias Ohlund to race out on the breakaway. But his wrister on the move is blocked and then scooped up by Sanford.
9:10 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. hooking. The Canucks go on the PP.
8:19 - Hard-skating Miller makes a nice pass to Bertuzzi in the middle, but his shot is stopped by Sanford.
7:00 - May's pass to the slot intended for Marchant deflects back to Sutherby, whose hard shot is nicely saved by Sanford.
5:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS PRONGER - Corey Perry drops a pass behind him to Pronger who is just crossing the blueline on the left wing. Pronger launches a rocket that sizzles under the top right corner of the cage. The Ducks cut it to 3-1. Second assist to Chris Kunitz.
4:54 - VANCOUVER GOAL - JASON JAFFREY - Jaffrey attempts to pass it from behind the net, but it hits the post and comes back toward him. He picks it up near the bottom of the right circle, turns and wrists it where they keep the peanut butter. It's the first NHL goal for Jaffrey, who was called up just yesterday and it's 3-0 Vancouver.
0:56 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. hooking. First penalty of the game.
0:00 - And we're back.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In what starts out as a mostly excitement-free period, the Ducks give up two late ones within 1:05 of each other. It's 2-0 VAN.
18:40 - VANCOUVER GOAL - DANIEL SEDIN - Chris Kunitz attempts to clear the puck near the blueline, but it slips off his stick to Sedin, who fires a slap shot over Giguere's left shoulder. It's quickly 2-0. (Guess I jinxed it by calling out the twins.)
17:35 - VANCOUVER GOAL - MASON RAYMOND - Jason Jaffray scoops up the puck in front of the Ducks bench and is on a 2-on-1 with only DiPenta back. Jaffray makes a cross-ice feed to Raymond (called up yesterday), who one-times it inside the right rail. And the Ducks give up the first goal for the 11th straight game.
16:45 - ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
15:34 - No penalties yet.
During the timeout, first shot on the video board of Snoop Dogg, who is shooting his new reality show tonight. He opens his jacket to reveal ... a Ducks jersey. "Go Mighty Ducks. Go Mighty Ducks."
14:10 - The Sedin twins didn't start the game on the same line, but they're skating together now. You'll recall that during the playoffs last year against the Ducks they had about as many goals as I did.
I've heard louder crowds at the movies.
10:50 - Bertuzzi gets it on a mini-breakaway, but the puck is knocked away at the last instant.
Inexplicably, the tennis balls are sitting on the complete other side of the rink, behind the Ducks' first and third period goal this time. No idea why. They've never been there before, as far as I can tell.
8:40 - Joey D sends a shot to the net that nicks off Perry's stick and over the glassy glass.
7:05 - Sutherby gets free in the slot, but his shot is kicked away.
We're at the first timeout and this game has been about as exciting as trigonometry.One shot on goal for the Ducks. But to liven things up, first appearance of the Power Players in their little Santa's helper outfits. Outstanding.
4:05 - Getzlaf makes a great cross-ice pass to a charging Beauchemin, but it's knocked away by Sanford.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, Vancouver's first visit since that fateful Game 5. Speaking of that, Luongo is sitting five seats to my left in the press box. Better here than in front of their net.
7:08 p.m. - Wonderful rendition of both anthems by resident both-anthem singer Amanda Guerrero.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; VAN Curtis Sanford
Starting Skaters: ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Drew Miller, Andy McDonald, Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger; VAN Sami Salo, Willie Mitchell, Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, Daniel Sedin
Scratches: ANA George Parros
, Geoff Platt, Bruno St. Jacques; VAN Roberto Luongo, Brendan Morrison, Mike Weaver, Brad Isbister
Ducks defenseman Kent Huskins was placed on Injured Reserve