By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – If you wanted any more indication the resurgent Ducks may be the class of the Pacific Division, you got it tonight.
Two nights after beating division frontrunner San Jose, the Ducks used a dominating second period to dispatch previously second-place Dallas 4-2 at Honda Center. Scott Niedermayer, Todd Marchant,, Ryan Getzlaf and Todd Bertuzzi each had goals, as Niedermayer added two assists to tie his career best with three points.
|Niedermayer had the Ducks' first goal and two assists to tie his career high with three points.
It was the seventh straight victory at home for the Ducks, and their first win against the Stars after three straight losses. The Ducks are 10-2-2 since Niedermayer rejoined the team on Dec. 16.
"The guys have been working hard trying to play the way we need to as a team," Niedermayer said. "We’re just trying to build something here. It’s tough. The standings are tight. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing."
Despite their lead in the division race over Anaheim entering the game, the Stars have been struggling, losing seven of their last nine games. The win catapulted the Ducks a point ahead of Dallas in the Pacific, just a point back of first-place San Jose.
The Ducks gained life from a one-sided second period in which they outshot the Stars 19-5 and connected twice, courtesy of Marchant and Getzlaf.
Among the 14 unanswered shots during one stretch was Marchant’s pretty wraparound at 9:02. After Stars goalie Marty Turco blocked a Ryan Carter shot from the right wing, the goalie tried to clear the puck behind the net, but didn’t get much on it. That allowed Marchant to scoop it up and tuck it inside the left post before Turco could turn around.
More than four minutes later, Getzlaf got an easy goal on the power play after Brandon Bochenski’s swing at a mid-air puck was denied by Turco, and Bochenski slapped the loose puck to Getzlaf, who went to a knee to whip it in the open net.
Only a Loui Ericksson goal with just 23.0 seconds remaining would spoil the period. Marchant fanned at the puck twice in his quest to deny a Nicklas Hagman pass to Eriksson in the slot for a one-timed goal.
"We had a dominating second period and then we seemed to build on that," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "Our power play got us some big goals tonight. We were able to shut down their power play. In the games that we previously lost to them, we lost the specialty teams battles. It’s amazing how much of a factor that can be in your success."
It was the first time Dallas had allowed two power-play goals in a game since Nov. 10 at Los Angeles, when they blew a four-goal lead in the third period and lost 6-5 in overtime. The Stars came in leading the NHL with an 87.8 percentage on the penalty kill, and had allowed just three goals on 47 short-handed situations in their previous 12 games.
Anaheim was again playing without the injured Samuel Pahlsson (abdominal strain) and George Parros (bruised knee). Rob Niedermayer also missed his first game after suffering a groin injury.
|Getzlaf had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to a current league high of 11 games.
Brad May made up for Parros’ absence by engaging in a lengthy fight with Krystopher Barch midway through the second period. Both combatants landed several blows, including several consecutive lefts by May, before it was broken up and May bellowed to the roaring crowd.
Despite a record when leading after two periods that now stands at 16-1-1, the Ducks looked in danger of losing that one-goal lead in the third, but were bailed out by several key stops by Jean-Sebastien Giguere. That gave way to a huge insurance goal by Todd Bertuzzi with 11:23 left in the period. On the power play, Getzlaf fed Bertuzzi in the corner near the left post, and Bertuzzi slid into a better angle to fire a point-blank shot that hit Turco and bounced behind him over the stripe.
The Ducks once again tested their league-leading 12 wins when giving up the first goal when Hagman found the net just 3:13 into the game. Hagman reached out with one hand to poke a bouncing puck in the slot and got it through Giguere for the early lead.
But the Ducks quickly bounced back on one of their prettiest goals of the year. A Corey Perry pass from the wing was touched backward to Todd Bertuzzi, who did a 360-degree spin before sending it to Perry in the corner. Perry quickly shuttled it to Niedermayer in the slot, and the defenseman one-timed it past Turco.
"Both those guys made pretty nice plays," Niedermayer said. "I just had to try and find about 80 percent net. It’s fun when plays work like that. In the league today, you don’t see a lot of goals like that. Teams are too good defensively. Players are too good. It’s nice to be part of it."
Said Giguere, "We weren’t satisfied with our beginning of the year and the result that we had in our own barn. Last year part of our success was that we were a very difficult team to beat here in our own building. With the building being sold out every night all we need to do is finish a couple of checks and the crowd’s going to be right into the game and behind us. It’s awesome right now."
The Ducks won’t be able to test that home winning streak until next Wednesday against Western Conference leader Detroit. Anaheim hits the road to play Nashville on Thursday and Minnesota on Friday, part of a 13-game stretch in which they play at home only once.
"It’s a huge stretch for us," Giguere said. "It’s going to be very difficult. It’s good that we have some kind of momentum going into the road. We’re going to have to use that. The key thing is not change anything because we are on the road. We are going to need to play the same type of hockey. It’s going to be a challenge for our team. We’re going to have to make a statement."
The Ducks have won four consecutive games, including points in seven straight (6-0-1). The club is also 10-2-2 over the last 14 games.
The Ducks have scored 18 goals over the last four games (4.5 per game), scoring at least four in each contest.
Anaheim has won seven straight games at home and has points in eight straight contests at Honda Center (7-0-1). It is the longest home winning streak of the season and the longest since the club also recorded seven consecutive wins at home from March 7-Apr. 4, 2006.
The Ducks are six-for-16 (37.5%) on the power play over the last four games, scoring two power play goals on three occasions.
Ryan Getzlaf’s 1-1=2 points tonight extends his point streak to a career-high 11 games (5-10=15). The 11-game streak also marks the longest by a Ducks player since Andy McDonald’s 11-game streak from Jan. 23 – Feb. 12, 2006 (5-13=18). He is now tied with McDonald for the seventh-longest point streak in franchise history. Getzlaf’s point streak is tied for the longest current streak in the NHL (also Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson, 9-6=15 points over 11 games).
With a goal and an assist tonight (1-1=2), Todd Bertuzzi extends his point streak to four games (3-5=8). He also has 4-9=13 points in the last 11 games.
With a goal and two assists this evening (1-2=3), Scott Niedermayer tied his career-high for points in a game. It is the 15th three-point game of his career with the most recent coming on March 16, 2007 vs. Chicago (0-3=3). He is currently riding a four-game assist streak (1-5=6), his longest since Dec. 26, 2006-Jan. 11, 2007 (2-10=12).
Corey Perry has a four-game point streak (3-4=7), his longest of the season while also tying his career high (Oct. 5-14, 2005, 1-3=4 points). He has also earned 4-5=9 points in the last six games.
With an assist tonight, Brandon Bochenski has a three-game point streak (1-2=3), tying his career-high (Feb. 19-23, 2007 w/BOS, 2-3=5 points).
J.S. Giguere has won four consecutive starts and has stopped 96-of-103 shots for a .932 SV% and 1.17 GAA during that span.
The Ducks are now one-for-three on penalty shots this season. Samuel Pahlsson scored a penalty shot goal on Dec. 10 @ CBJ, while both Todd Bertuzzi (Dec. 22 @ SJ) and Chris Kunitz (tonight) have gone scoreless.
Tonight’s game marked the Ducks’ 59th consecutive sellout (17,174) at Honda Center (47 regular season plus 12 playoff games).
20:00 - END OF GAME - A dominating second period and a big insurance goal by Todd Bertuzzi ice the victory for the Ducks, their seventh straight at home.
19:27 - The Ducks get it deep, but can't get it to the net.
19:00 - The Dallas net is empty.
17:05 - Bochenski gets it on another Ducks breakway, but his wrist shot hits Turco and goes into the netting.
15:54 - Kunitz looses the puck after trying to make a deke move on Turco. No goal. First career penalty shot for Kunitz.
15:54 - Kunitz expertly pokes the puck away from Zubov and goes on a breakaway before Zubov hooks him from behind to lead to a penalty shot.
13:46 - ANA Penalty - Brandon Bochenski, 2 min. tripping. A chance for Dallas to cut into it.
8:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TODD BERTUZZI - On the power play, Getzlaf feeds Bertuzzi in the corner near the right post. Instead of making the pass, Bertuzzi slides into a better angle and fires a point-blank shot that hits Turco high and bounces behind him barely over the stripe. Huge goal for Anaheim to give them a 4-2 lead.
8:21 - DAL Penalty - Nicklas Grossman, 2 min. hooking Perry gets on the breakaway off a nice headman feed from Getzlaf and Grossman gets him from behind just as he's shooting.
8:00 - Giguere makes a cold-blooded save on a Modano redirection try from in tight.
6:42 - Giguere somehow makes the save as the puck is deflected off a hard-charging Antti Miettinen.
4:25 - Sutherby charges down the left wing shorthanded and gets in tight for a shot but Turco denies. But it leads to the end of the Stars power play.
2:33 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. slashing.
1:32 - Bochenski tries a one-timer from the slot off a Getzlaf pass, but misses way wide.
0:04 - DAL Penalty - Loui Eriksson, 2 min. holding the stick. Eriksson gets caught holding right off the draw.
0:00 - The puck is dropped to start the thrid with the Ducks clinging to a one-goal lead.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In a second period completely dominated by the Ducks, they outshoot Dallas 19-5 and get goals from Marchant and Getzlaf. But the Stars get one from Ericksson with just 23 seconds left to cut the lead to 3-2 going into the third. The Ducks are 15-1-1 when leading after two periods.
19:37 - DALLAS GOAL - LOUI ERICKSSON - With just 23.0 seconds remaining, just after the Ducks penalty expires, Todd Marchant whiffs trying to clear the puck out of the zone. Then he comes up empty again as he swings at Niklas Hagman's pass to Erickson in the slot. Erickson deposits the puck under the crossbar. The Stars cut it to 3-2 late.
17:28 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. interference. Just the second minor on the Ducks.
13:42 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - After a Niedermayer shot is deflected into the slot, Bochenski bats it off Turco, then pokes the loose puck to Getzlaf, who goes to a knee to punch it in the wide open net. It's 3-1 Ducks and it's 11 straight games with a point for Getzy.
13:32 - Turco makes a nice save on a pass from Bertuzzi from behind the net to Getzlaf for the one-timer.
12:09 - DAL Penalty - Brenden Morrow, 2 min. tripping. This one could also be called "2 minutes for knocking Scott Niedermayer down." Morrow obviously doesn't like the call, as he loudly slams something in the box, inciting the crowd around him.
During the Kiss Cam, one guy is caught picking his ear rather than paying attention to either his girl or the screen. Big surprise. No kiss. Meanwhile, a video screen malfunction causes a man and his baby daughter to be up there with the Kiss Cam graphic around them way too long. Got a little uncomfortable.
10:44 - We go into the timeout with the Ducks having gotten off 11 unanswered shots.
9:36 - Brad May and Krystopher Barch (whose name looks like a typo) stop the action by circling each other near the Dallas blueline. An epic battle ensues, in which they both land several blows, including about eight straight lefts by May at one point. It's finally broken up, leading to May letting out a bellow to the wildly cheering crowd on his way to the box. They each get 5 for ... well, you knew that.
9:02 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TODD MARCHANT - After a Ryan Carter shot from the right wing is stopped by Turco, the goalie tries to clear it behind the net. But he doesn't get much of the puck, allowing Marchant to grab it and tuck in a wraparound near the left post before Turco even can turn around. Second assist to Niedermayer, who got Carter started with a feed at the red line. It's 2-1 Ducks and it's Marchant's first goal since Nov. 29.
8:19 - The Ducks generate a chance or two in the first minute of the power play, but look a little lost in the latter half.
The Carl's Jr. trivia question inexplicably asks the female contestant what team Jordan Tootoo plays for (mentioning something about how he wears the number 22, as in 2-2). She's given three choices and correctly (thanks in part to some yelling fans), guesses Nashville correctly. The bonus question: Name one of the two states that border Tennessee to the west. She correctly guesses Missouri. Who the heck came up with those tonight?
6:19 - DAL Penalty - Mattias Nortstrom, 2 min. tripping. Marchant carries the puck into the corner to draw the penalty.
4:50 - After a Niedermayer shot from the point rebounds off Turco, Bochenski looks like he has a shot to punch in the rebound, but a flailing Turco keeps that from happening by tying up Bochenski's stick and the puck just enough.
3:04 - After May drills the delicate Zubov against the end boards, little Stephan Robidas tries to pick a fight with May. They circle each other for a while when the puck is on the other side of the ice, but it's broken up before anything can happen.
0:00 - We're underway in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In an evenly matched first period, the Ducks give up an early one, but get one back on a gorgeous passing sequence between Niedermayer, Bertuzzi and Perry for the Niedermayer goal. The Stars spend the better part of the last half of the period in the Ducks zone, but Anaheim still outshoots them 13-12.
18:01 - Scott Niedermayer turns the puck over trying to make a centering pass from the extended goal line and is still one of the first three Ducks back on defense. I'm not sure how he did that.
17:57 - The Ducks are having trouble keeping it out of their zone.
16:20 - The Stars kill it with little noise from the Ducks.
15:00 - Getzlaf, Bochenski, Bertuzzi, Pronger and Schneider on the PP against the No. 1 penalty kill team in the league.
14:20 - DAL Penalty - Jeff Halpern, 2 min. interference. The Ducks go on a 4 on 3 for 22 seconds, then the 5 on 4 as soon as the roughing minors expire.
Rob Niedermayer's injury was just described as a groin strain and he's listed as day to day (aren't we all).
12:41 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen and DAL Penalty - Brenden Morrow, 2 min. each roughing. Carter finds himself along with the puck just above the crease, but can't get a backhand shot high enough over Turco. Marchant tries to poke at it after Turco freezes it and promptly gets shoved hard by Mattias Nortstrom. In the scrum that follows, Moen and Morrow get tagged, with Morrow called for putting his glove in Carter's face for seemingly no reason. It seems like the Stars want to start it up with the Ducks tonight. Too bad Parros is hurt.
9:20 - After a Kent Huskins slap shot is saved by Turco, he tries to freeze it, just before May comes up and pokes it underneath him and over the line. But the official rules the play dead, which looked to be a mistake. After a bit, the crowd begins its "Ref, you [are not very good]" chant, and I think in this case they're right.
9:09 - Moen fires a shot from the blueline that Turco saves up high. It's already the 11th shot for Anaheim, against six for Dallas.
We've got a late-arriving crowd tonight, much more so than in recent games. Either they're late-arriiving or they're showing up at all. It is a Tuesday night and American Idol premieres tonight. Among the no-shows so far, our friends the tennis balls. In fact, there are two people in orange in their seats.
4:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - A brilliant tic-tac-toe with some flair, as Niedermayer takes a Perry pass from the wing and touches it to Bertuzzi behind him. Bertuzzi does a 360 spin before feeding the puck down in the corner to Perry, who quickly sends it back to Niedermayer for a one-timer past Turco. I think it's safe to say it was one of the three prettiest goals of the year for the Ducks. We're tied at 1.
3:54 - Turco just does glove a Schneider shot that slightly deflects off a Star on its way to net.
3:13 - DALLAS GOAL - NICKLAS HAGMAN - Hagman reaches out with one hand to poke a bouncing puck in the slot and somehow sends it through Giguere. Mike Modano and Stu Barnes get the assists. It's 1-0 early for Dallas, but remember the Ducks have a league-leading 12 wins when giving up the first goal.
2:19 - Turco flops to his side to barely stop a Travis Moen try, in which he chopped down on a Pronger shot from the point.
1:52 - Brian Sutherby, Drew Miller and Brad May all bat at the loose puck around the Dallas goal, but no one can get it through as they all converge on Turco. Inevitably, that leads to some squawking and shoving. Miller takes it a little further, in his first game back from Portland.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center after the baritone Robbie Britt belts out the anthem. Britt is a graduate of the Jessica Simpson School of Overly Bobbing Your Head While Singing. Actually, he did a heck of a job with it.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters: ANA Brian Sutherby, Drew Miller, Sean O'Donnell, Brad May, Chris Pronger; DAL Matt Niskanen, Jeff Halpern, Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Sergei Zubov
Scratches: ANA Joe DiPenta, Rob Niedermayer; DAL Mark Fistric, Jussi Jokinen
Zubov gets the start after being a question mark with a foot injury.