By Adam Brady
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Ducks hoped the return of Teemu Selanne would jump-start their stagnant offense. And while he didn’t find the net himself, he was on the ice for two Ducks goals and had an assist as Anaheim rolled to a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
Selanne got the second assist on a Ducks power play goal to open the scoring, and saw linemate Doug Weight score the Ducks final goal on their way to their first win following six straight losses. It was also the first triumph at the halfway point of their eight-game, 15-day road trip. The loss was the fifth in a row for New York.
"Awesome," Selanne called his first game back. "But it wasn’t very easy. Missing that much time and playing my first game back, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But obviously the team played very well and it was a good win. You have to take baby steps to go forward and this was one of them."
Selanne was in the starting lineup for Anaheim, his first appearance since contemplating retirement over the summer and during the first four months of the season. He played 18:00 minutes on a line with Doug Weight and Todd Bertuzzi, as well as some time on the power play.
"I got tired easily," Selanne said, "but I knew I had to get to this next level of playing games."
Selanne earned his first point of the year on the Ducks’ first goal in eight periods, a Scott Niedermayer power play strike at 2:36 into the second. Selanne sent the puck back to Chris Pronger at the point, and Pronger shuttled it to NIedermayer at the right circle. Niedermayer’s one-timer slipped between Rick DiPietro’s pads, with Chris Kunitz screening him.
It was the third goal of the season for Niedermayer, and the first for the Ducks since the second period of a 5-1 defeat at Minnesota last last Wednesday.
The Ducks got another 2:51 into the third period from Todd Marchant, on a shot that surprisingly got through DiPietro. On the rush, Ryan Carter fed Marchant in the slot and Marchant skated toward the right circle with the puck on his backhand. His shot weaved under the armpit of a bewildered DiPietro,off the right post and in. Marchant got help from a screen from Carter and Islander Andy Sutton.
That gave the Ducks two goals in a game for the first time in their last six. They would quickly make it three goals when Todd Bertuzzi made a pass from behind the net to a charging Doug Weight just above the crease. Weight’s one-timer hit nothing but net to give him his first goal in 10 games and push the Ducks to a 3-0 lead.
It also led to chants of “Refund! Refund!” from several Islanders fans sitting behind the Ducks goal.
The Ducks, averaging just 2.36 goals per game entering the contest, had three goals for the first time since their last win, a 4-2 decision in Minnesota on Jan. 18.
Those three goals were more than the Ducks would need, as Jean-Sebastien Giguere earned his fourth shutout of the year to increase his franchise-record total to 29. Giguere saved all 25 shots he looked at, none of which were overly threatening.
|Ducks winger Teemu Selanne (8) attempts to put the puck past New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro during the second period at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)
"It’s everybody together," Giguere said. "Everybody was tightening it up in our own end and making sure we follow the gameplan. You can’t be successful in this league without your teammates, and I couldn’t do what I did tonight without them."
It was the second straight blanking for Giguere after earning an official shutout in a 1-0 shootout loss at St. Louis. That came after Giguere was pulled and was noticeably frustrated after giving up three second-period goals in that 5-1 loss at MInnesota.
"I don’t play for shutouts. I play to win, and at the end of the day, a shutout is just a cookie."
Tonight was the first visit for the Ducks to Long Island since the 2003 season. They play Thursday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, also for the first time since ’03. But before that, the team will be honored at the White House tomorrow afternoon to commemorate their Stanley Cup title.
"This was an important win," Selanne said. "Obviously losing so many games lately, it’s not a good sign. Hopefully this will be a turning point. Let’s enjoy this a little bit, but as always, keep pushing forward."
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks get three goals in snapping their six-game losing streak. Giguere gets the shutout, his fourth of the season and 29th of his career.
17:10 - NYI Penalty - Blake Comeau, 2 min. holding. The Ducks go on the power play again.
16:00 - Not much to write home about action-wise in the last several minutes. But that's fine with Anaheim at this point.
A group of fans behind the Anaheim goal chant "Refund! (clap-clap) Refund!" Later they chance it to "We suck!...We suck!" There's one I've never heard before.
7:34 - ANAHEIM GOAL - DOUG WEIGHT - After a battle in the corner, Bertuzzi picks up the puck behind the net and feeds a charging Doug Weight just above the crease. Weight's one-timer hits nothing but net. A plethora of goals for the Anaheim Ducks. It's 3-0.
6:37 - Kunitz rips a slap shot that hits DiPietro, then the left post, before trickling through the crease wide.
2:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TODD MARCHANT - On the move, Ryan Carter feeds Todd Marchant in the slot. Marchant heads toward the right circle with the puck on his backhand. He lets go off a shot that somehow gets through DiPietro, seemingly under his armpit, hits the post and goes in. DiPietro looks absolutely bewildered. Marchant got help from a screen from Carter and Islander Andy Sutton. It's 2-0 Anaheim. Rob Niedermayer gets the second assist.
I see dead people. Oh, it's just this crowd.
0:00 - Off and running in the third with the Ducks on the power play.
During the intermission, they have a fan throwing a frisbee down the ice for prizes. Why throwing a frisbee and not shooting a puck? Odd.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks finally get one, from Scott Niedermayer just 2:36 into the period. Giguere, meanwhile, stops the limited chances the Islanders have and it's 1-0 Anaheim.
19:24 - NYI Penalty - Blake Comeau, 2 min. roughing. Comeau hits Rob Niedermayer at the blueline, then pushes his head down and his helmet off his face. Niedermayer doesn't like it and swings a stick at him, causing a bit of a coming-together of all 10 skaters. Only Comeau gets the gate.
18:36 - Getzlaf passes up an open shot, instead opting to make a sweet pass across the middle to Kunitz, whose one-timer is nicked by DiPietro and gets behind him, but slides wide.
They did a text message poll during asking fans to vote for the player they thought played the best in January. Big surprise, it's DiPietro. I tell you, the Islanders are THIS close to renaming themselves the New York Ricks.
17:01 - Selanne skates into the zone before having the puck taken away. But I tell ya, he was moving
During the intermission, the video board shows various Islanders trying to say phrases like "Peter Piper picked a peck..." and "How much would would a woodchuck chuck..." It's vaguely humiliating. Not the fact that they struggled with it, but the fact they had to sit through that in the first place.
13:46 - ANA and NYI Penalties - Rob Niedermayer and Bruno Gervais, 2 min. roughing The normally low-key Niedermayer gets into it away from the puck with Bruno Gervais. There are four gloves surrounding them, but it's mostly a lot of jersey pulling before it's broken up. They each get 2 regardless. Although, the PA announcer initially announces it as Scott
Niedermayer -- twice -- even getting the number wrong.
13:10 - Comrie receives the puck with room in front of Giguere, but his shot goes wide.
This place holds around 18,000 and there is at most 7,000 in here right now.
8:16 - After a nice steal by Getzlaf, Marchant charges in toward the post, spins back and shoots a backhander that DiPietro stops.
7:31 - Guerin appears to have a wide open net after a rebound off Giguere, but Schneider reaches out to knock it away. Great play by a guy who hasn't been his best tonight.
The ice girls here are noticeably busty. Must be a Long Island thing.
2:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - Chris Pronger moves the puck from the point to Niedermayer at the right circle and he bats it through DiPietro's legs with Chris Kunitz expertly screening in front. First goal for the Ducks in eight periods, since the second Friday night at Minnesota. Hallelujah. Second assist goes to Teemu Selanne, who fed it to Pronger.
1:41 - NYI Penalty - Bill Guerin, 2 min. high sticking. Another change for Anaheim.
A Ducks beat writer sitting next to me just said, "They can't beat these guys?" We'll see.
0:00 - We're underway in the second.
There is a blonde here who does a lot of the in-arena promotional stuff, holding a microphone and interacting with fans during certain contests. She's kind of like a Power Player, if we actually let Power Players talk. Anyway, she looks like she could be the daughter of one of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Almost looks like she's had some work done, but I could be wrong.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get a few chances, but are denied on all of them, as they have now gone eight straight periods without a goal. They take eight shots in the period, three of them from Selanne. We're tied at a bagel apiece.
19:22 - Perry is wide open in front of DiPietro, as a loose puck comes his way, but he whiffs.
19:05 - Giguere makes a nice kick save on a Bill Guerin shot.
17:26 - Selanne gets some space in the slot after a nice Getzlaf pass, but his shot is pad saved and covered by DiPietro. Chants of "DeePee!" emanate, though not that loudly.
17:15 - The Ducks look very confused on the power play tonight.
16:33 - NYI Josef Vasicek, 2 min. slashing. Vasicek gets Bertuzzi behind the NYI net. It's a 5 on 3 for Anaheim.
15:07 - NYI Penalty - Mike Comrie, 2 min. high sticking. Selannne is on the PP for Anaheim.
12:21 - Robbie Niedermayer battles for the puck in the corner, eating up the penalty kill time.
This arena may be old, but at least the music is somewhat new, unlike some places. Not naming any names.
10:33 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. tripping. Getzy takes down an Islander behind the NYI net.
Diane McGrath is the State Farm agent of the game, complete with a beautiful picture up on the video board. You can call her at 516-878-2...I can't remember the number.
10:15 - On the rush, Comeau makes a nice pass to Satan, whose one-timer is blocked beautifully by Giguere. Meanwhile, Satan slams into the boards and is not getting up right away. With help from the trainer and teammates, he slowly gets to his skates and is led to the bench.
9:18 - Selanne, Bertuzzi and Weight aren't quite in sync, as Bert jumps offside as Selanne tries to skate it into the zone.
8:25 - A one-timer by Kunitz from deep goes off DiPietro.
During the timeout, they play footage of today's New York Giants champions parade. I'm still bitter about that thing.
7:13 - Scott Niedermayer flicks a shot from the top of the circle that DiPietro gloves despite a screen from Rob Niedermayer.
7:06 - With Moen and Pahlsson out, the checking line is Marchant, Carter and Rob Niedermayer.
6:32 - Selanne makes a great feed from behind the net right in front to Bertuzzi, but Todd, somewhat surprised by the pass, misses the net when he gets control.
3:22 - Comrie's shot from the top fo the circle is deflected, but it doesn't faze Giguere.
2:43 - Selanne comes from behind the net to try and stuff it through DiPietro, but he's denied. First shot for Selanne.
2:21 - Selanne, Getzlaf and Kunitz come on after the puck goes out of play with Niedermayer and Beauchemin.
1:18 - Weight, Bertuzzi and Perry on the PP with Pronger and Schneider.
1:16 - NYI Penalty - 2 min. too many men on the ice. The funniest part was after the whistle when all six of them kind of stood there looking at each other.
0:33 - Teemu Selanne
touches the puck in the Ducks zone. First time he's touched a puck in an NHL game since June.
0:00 - We're underway at Nassau Coliseum, and guess who's on the ice for the team in white?
7:02 p.m. - It's official. He's in the starting lineup. By the way, it's minutes from puck drop and this place isn't half full. There is a whole section of seats on the lower level, right by the benches, that has exactly 17 people in it. Then when the Islanders came out onto the ice, I've felt more energy at the DMV.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; NYI Rick DiPietro
Starting Skaters: ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Teemu Selanne
, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer, Doug Weight; NYI Andy Sutton, Freddy Meyer, Blake Comeau, Miroslav Satan, Mike Comrie
Scratches: ANA Brandon Bochenski, Travis Moen, Joe DiPenta