By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – A happy new year indeed for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks, in their first game of 2008 and first at home since Dec. 19, used goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Pronger and a stifling defense over the final two periods to hold off Columbus 2-1 in front of another sellout crowd of 17,174.
|Chris Pronger's goal in the second would turn out to be the game-winner.
The win snapped a two-game win streak for Columbus and gave Anaheim its fifth victory in seven games.
J.S. Giguere was the star of that defense, constantly putting himself in prime position on his way to 26 saves and his 16th win of the year. In his last six starts, Giguere has posted a 1.48 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.
Anaheim got on top on Ryan Getzlaf’s 15th goal of the season, set up by a great saucer pass from the redline by Francois Beauchemin. Getzlaf caught up to Beauchemin’s pass behind the defense, then made a move to his backhand before flicking it past Columbus goalie Pascal Leclaire.
Columbus erased the deficit with 4:01 left in the first, as rookie Andrew Murray rushed into the attacking zone on his way to his first career goal. Murray’s first shot on the move was kicked away by Giguere, but Murray put back the rebound off the post, off Giguere’s skate and in. 700K
Murray almost got his second goal 12 minutes into the second period when a loose puck went spinning precariously behind Giguere near the left post. But before Murray could get a stick on it, both Scott and Rob Niedermayer contributed to sweep it away. Scott Niedermayer had a one-timer hit the post in the latter part of the period, just after Bobby Ryan came close to pushing the puck through on a couple of point-blank shots.
That was among the several chances for both teams in the second, but neither found the net until the Ducks took advantage of a Sergei Fedorov hooking call and converted on the power play with 14.7 left. Todd Bertuzzi dropped a pass back to Chris Pronger at the blueline, and Pronger let go of a wrister that hit off defenseman Ron Hainsey and past Leclaire. 700K
"Those are bounces that you get sometimes," Pronger said. "For awhile there, those were going against us. Thankfully tonight we got some of those bounces to go our way."
Said Leclaire, "It hit one of our guys. It’s bad luck. You try to stop it, but nine times out of ten it’s going to end up in the slot. Tonight just didn’t go our way. It’s just bad luck and it’s nobody’s fault."
The Ducks denied Columbus over the final period, including killing a Blue Jackets power play with 6:36 left after Scott Niedermayer took a hooking penalty. That gave the Ducks, a team that has struggled when down a man this season, 33 out of 36 penalty kills over the last eight games.
Anaheim, which snapped a two-game Columbus winning streak, pushed its record to 20-17-5 going into its battle with Chicago at Honda Center on Friday.
"We need our best players picking it up from now until hopefully June again," Pronger said. "We have to slowly continue to build and get better with every game. It wasn’t our best effort or the prettiest effort of the year, but when you get the results and you’re able to win games like that it helps you move in the right direction."
With a goal and an assist tonight (1-1=2), Ryan Getzlaf has a five-game point streak (2-4=6), his second-longest of the season (6-6=12 points in eight games, Nov. 7-25). He has also earned 4-10=14 points in the last 14 games.
Todd Bertuzzi also is riding a season-high five-game point streak, collecting 2-3=5 points during that span (including an assist tonight).
Tonight’s game marked the Ducks’ 54th consecutive sellout (17,174) at Honda Center (42 regular season plus 12 playoff games). Anaheim’s sellout streak is the third-longest among U.S.-based NHL teams.
20:00 - END OF GAME - A desperation shot from the redline with a second left is easily stopped by Giguere, his 26th save of the game. The Ducks win it 2-1.
19:25 - Leclaire heads to the bench and nearly gets hit with the puck as its sent out of the Anaheim zone.
Attendance is announced at 17,174, the 54th consecutive sellout. And the PA announcer says to the crowd, "Can you believe it? For Columbus on a Wednesday?" Okay, not really.
15:40 - We go to the timeout with the Ducks needing to lock it down over the final 4:20. Speaking of 4:20, there was a strange smell coming from the tunnel on the 400 level underneath the press box during the intermission. Seriously. I'm not kidding. I can't imagine who would be doing that at a hockey game. An NBA game, sure.
13:32 - Hainsey fires a shot that Giguere gloves easily.
13:24 - Columbus takes a timeout.
13:24 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. The crowd boos the official, simply for daring to call a penalty on Scott Niedermayer.
10:56 - The Jackets have some trouble retrieving the puck behind the net and it almost goes in as Leclaire scrambles to get back.
10:18 - Giguere makes a nice stop on a Chimera rocket from the blueline.
9:02 - Weight gets drilled by Jared Boll in the corner behind the CBJ net.
7:21 - The Jackets look to have a chance to punch in a loose puck, but Giguere drops the glove on it.
6:39 - Doug Weight tries to poke in a loose puck near the right post, to no avail.
5:30 - Perry charges hard to the net on a rush and goes sliding into Leclaire, which in turn knocks the goal off its moorings.
3:15 - After there is a bit of a scuffle after the whistle, George Parros
is not surprisingly put in the game. The crowd roars.
3:15 - Schneider tries a slap shot from the point that Leclaire stops and then literally kicks away with his skates as he falls on his rear.
2:08 - CBJ Penalty - Adam Foote, 2 min. slashing and ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. diving. Foote swings his stick into Kunitz's chest and Kunitz makes like he got shot in flopping to the ice. Kunitz might want to become a European soccer player when his hockey career's over.
0:24 - CBJ Penalty - Jan Hejda, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks look to pad the lead.
0:00 - We're underway in the third with the Ducks up a goal.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks generate plenty of chances in the period, and finally get one through on the power play with 14.7 left. They lead it 2-1 after outshooting Columbus 16-9 in the period.
19:45 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - CHRIS PRONGER - With 14.7 remaining in the period, Bertuzzi drops a pass back to Pronger a the blueline. Pronger's wrist shot appears to be tipped in front by Corey Perry, allowing it to get through Leclaire. It's initially announced as Pronger's goal, but we'll see if it changes. UPDATE: Another look reveals that Ron Hainsey deflected the puck right in front of Leclaire, helping it in.
18:50 - Scott Niedermayer's one-timer off a pass from behind the net hits red metal.
18:28 - Bobby Ryan
tries to stuff it in and can't get it through Leclaire.
17:50 - CBJ Penalty - Sergei Fedorov, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks, who have been pelting the Jackets with shots, get a big opportunity.
During the timeout, a group of 20-somethings is shown on the video board and they jump up and down and scream. That includes the young girl with the surgically enhanced physique who nearly falls out of her loose-fitting black top. Highlight of the night.
14:40 - Bobby Ryan
tries a slick wraparound move from behind the net that Leclaire has to save twice as Klesla almost knocks the rebound in.
12:00 - A loose puck spins behind Giguere before being cleared away just in time. Murray tried to get his stick on it and score his second of the game but couldn't do it.
11:38 - Giguere makes a great save on a point blank shot by Joakim Lindstrom near the right post.
10:05 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant
, 2 min. closing the hand over the puck. Man, we've had a couple of rare ones tonight.
By the way, in the section where the tennis balls normally sit is the dude who wears a wig and a t-shirt that says Rental Man and dances in the aisles during timeouts. We haven't given him his due this year.
It's Carl's Jr. trivia time and the contestant is asked to name the first player in Ducks history to appear in an All-Star game. Somehow the guy guesses Alexei Kasatonov from choices that include Kariya and Sean Hill and he's right! He also gets the bonus question, which asks "Which year did Alexei appear. The guy guesses 1993 and they give it to him since it was the 1993-94 season.
I'll tell you what, it's a pretty good crowd tonight considering it's Columbus on a Wednesday. "Columbus on a Wednesday" is usually code for the game that's tough to sell tickets to. By the way, conspiculously absent from the crowd tonight are the tennis balls. I hope nothing happened to them.
5:55 - A Pronger rocket is deflected on its flight and nearly gets by Leclaire.
4:31 - CBJ Penalty - Jan Hejda, 2 min. interference. The Ducks actually go on a 5 on 3, instead of defending
3:16 - CBJ Penalty - Sergei Fedorov, 2 min. playing with a broken stick. It's a rare penalty, but Sergei is nabbed for it. Incidentally, moms frown on you doing that too. It's dangerous.
2:46 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. slashing. Columbus on its third power play.
2:35 - Rob Niedermayer makes a great feed to a streaking Moen in the slot. His tap is blocked by LeClaire and Robby can't control the rebound.
0:00 - The puck hits the ice for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get one early from Getzlaf on the breakaway, but Columbus comes back with one by Murray with 4:01 left in the period. Shots are eight apiece and we're tied 1-1.
19:24 - CBJ Penalty - Rick Nash, 2 min. slashing. Nash breaks a Ducks stick in half.
15:59 - COLUMBUS GOAL - ANDREW MURRAY - After a collision at the blueline with Beauchemin, a Columbus player appears to be offside as Murray skates with it into the zone, his first shot is saved by Giguere, but Murray bats the rebound off the right post, off Giguere's skate and in. Murray becomes the 574th player (just guessing) to score his first career goal against the Ducks this year. We're tied at 1.
14:29 - The Ducks kill the penalty as they head the other way and a healthy Brian Sutherby gets off a shot that is blocked.
12:47 - Duvie Westcott rips a shot off a rebound at Giguere, but the goalie is ready for it as he goes to his knees.
12:29 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. tripping. Not this again, please.
Tonight's lucky section is 307. That means nothing to you.
10:40 - Behind the net, Jiggy bats the puck in the air like Sid the Kid in yesterday's game. This one probably won't make Sportscenter.
9:25 - Bobby fires a nice wrister froom the slot that LeClaire knocks down and smothers before Doug Weight can poke at it.
7:40 - Giguere makes a save on a hard slapper by the Jackets, tipping it in the air to himself before grabbing it.
6:30 - Todd Marchant
intercepts a pass on the PK and starts a Ducks rush. Marchant tries to feed a streaking Moen, but he can't get good stick on the one-timer try.
6:07 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. hooking. Beauch wraps the blade around Jason Chimera and the stick goes flying.
3:03 - ANAHEIM GOAL- RYAN GETZLAF - Francois Beauchemin makes a great saucer pass from the red line ahead to Getzlaf behind the defense. Getzlaf makes a great move to his backhand before flicking it past Leclaire inside the left post. It's 1-0 Anaheim early.
Sammy Pahlsson, by the way, is not in the lineup.
2:03 - Kunitz fires a shot from the lower left corner that Leclaire easily handles.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center for the first time in '08.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; CBJ Pascal Leclaire
Starting Skaters: ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer; CBJ Jan Hejda, Jiri Novotny, Nikolai Zherdev, Jason Chimera, Adam Foote
Scratches: ANA Drew Miller, Joe DiPenta; CBJ David Vyborny, Curtis Glencross, Ole-Kristian Tollefsen