By Adam Brady
NEWARK, N.J. – The Ducks haven’t had standout defensive center Samuel Pahlsson for the past 20 games as he’s healed from a nagging abdominal injury. But the play of rookie Ryan Carter in his stead has made Pahlsson’s absence much easier for Anaheim to take.
Carter made his presence felt more than ever with two first period goals – the first two of his young career – to pace the Ducks to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils in front of a reported crowd of 15,332 at Prudential Center. It was the third straight win for Anaheim on the sixth leg of its eight-game, 15-day road trip. They became just the second team in NHL history to beat all three New York-area teams in a span of four days.
“I’m excited, and I’m a little relieved too,” Carter said. “To finally get that goal is the best feeling. [My teammates] were all happy for me that I finally got it out of the way. And to help the team win makes it that much better."
|Carter's first two career goals were enough to pace the Ducks to victory.
The game was notable for the return of Scott Niedermayer, who hadn’t played in New Jersey since joining the Ducks as a free agent in 2005 following 13 seasons with the Devils. Some of the sparse crowd at "The Rock" booed Niedermayer when he touched the puck, though cheers went up when he was introduced as a starter before the game.
"Yeah, it was a little different than when we played them back in Anaheim, that's for sure," Niedermayer said with a smile. "There was the team and that was it. But here, there was people in the stands that obviously I knew. Being here in New Jersey, it was a little bit different place. I was here for a long time. There was definitely a different feeling."
Though Niedermayer got plenty of attention, it was Carter and fellow rookie Jonas Hiller who took center stage. Carter’s goals in the opening segment were all the Ducks would need, as Hiller helped them hang on over the final two periods, including a 6 on 4 in the final minute. Hiller saved 34 of 35 shots, only giving up a goal to Jay Pandolfo in a rough second period.
The 24-year-old Carter was playing in his 28th career regular game, all coming this season. He didn’t play in the regular season for the Ducks last year, but did appear in four games between the Western Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final. He said that first goal was a long time coming.
"It’s only a matter of time, Carter said. “I’ve had good chances to score where I’ve beat the goalie and it’s stood on the goal line or hit my own guy. Sooner or later it you keep shooting, you know it’s gonna go in. It was a bit frustrating that it took this long, but at the same time I’m glad it’s over."
He put the Ducks on the board 10:12 into the game, flying down the right wing looking to pass, but instead letting go of a wrist shot that slid under Devils goalie Martin Brodeur’s right leg pad.
His second goal with 2:07 left in the period was even prettier, as Carter made two nifty moves to free himself in the slot, the last a drag move between two Devils defensemen. His wrister flew past Brodeur on the stick side. The stage was set for the play when a New Jersey clearing attempt hit the official and bounced to Chris Kunitz, who fed it ahead to Corey Perry. Perry batted it in mid-air to Carter.
|Hiller was outstanding in net, saving 34 of 35 Devils shots.
“I looked up and saw the d-man and he was looking right at my chest,” Carter said. “He probably wanted to put me in the fifth row. I made sure he didn’t hit me and he missed, and that left me alone there in the slot. I shot it and I think the puck had eyes."
As good as the Ducks looked in the first, they fell off that pace in the second, turning the puck over several times and getting outshot 12-6. One of those found the net for the Devils, as a snap shot from the top of the left circle by former Duck Vitaly Vishnevski nicked off a screening Jay Pandolfo and bounced past Hiller’s skate on the far side.
Carter ironically put the Ducks in danger with 43 seconds remaining, when he took a delay of game minor after accidentally sending the puck over the glass with the Devils on a 6 on 5 after Brodeur went to the bench. But the penalty kill unit was able to snuff out the threat the fifth power play they killed on the night.
"I sweated a little more in the last 45 seconds in the penalty box than I think I had the whole game," Carter said.
Surprisingly, it was just the second win for the Ducks in the state of New Jersey in their history, as they were 1-10-1 (including playoffs) entering the game. The only other win came Feb. 11, 1996, a 4-2 victory that was the second game for Teemu Selanne in a Ducks uniform.
Anaheim lost all four games they played in New Jersey during the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, the last a 3-0 defeat in Game 7. All of those defeats came at Continental Airlines Arena in the Meadowlands, as the Devils moved into Prudential Center last Oct. 27.
With the win, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle earned his 121st victory, passing Ron Wilson for the franchise record.
The Ducks head to Detroit, where they face the Red Wings on Sunday. The game, which has been switched to a 12:30 p.m. Pacific start, will be televised on NBC as their NHL Game of the Week.
- More from Niedermayer on the reception he received: "In some ways you take that as a bit of a compliment. "Obviously they didn't want you to leave, so in that respect it was good.
"It wasn't another game. I didn't sleep that well. Usually I'm able to nap pretty easily, and I didn't. I was excited. It was a special night for sure."
- Travis Moen missed his third straight game with the flu, but did skate in the morning and hopes to return Sunday at Detroit. Coach Randy Carlyle said his checking line winger has lost 10 pounds since coming down with the illness.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks are paced by two first period goals by Ryan Carter
, then hang on for dear life the rest of the way in a narrow 2-1 victory. Third straight win for Anaheim.
19:55 - The Ducks, especially Scott Niedermayer and Todd Marchant
, beautifully tie the puck up in the corner as the seconds tick down.
19:45 - Parise gets room and fires a slap shot from the slot that Hiller takes into his belly.
19:17 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. delay of game. Bad break for Anaheim as Carter sends it over the glass. It's nervous time now.
19:10 - Gionta's pass from behind the net hits somebody and almost bounces past Hiller.
19:01 - The Devils empty the net.
18:39 - The Devils take a timeout.
18:30 - Schneider hits hard on a slapper from the point that Brodeur reaches out to stop.
16:43 - Another huge kill for the Ducks.
16:01 - Hiller leaves a rebound sitting in the slot, but Pronger scoops it out of there.
15:06 - Gionta's shot from the left wingkiccks off Hiller and sits near the post, but he's able to cover it.
14:43 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Niedermayer hooks Parise behind the Ducks net.
13:24 - Elias gets free and fires a wrister that HIller blocks.
12:16 - The Ducks catch the Devils on a change and have numbers on the rush, led by O'Donnell. He takes a shot from the top of the left circle that a charging Brodeur gloves.
9:28 - Big kill for Anaheim.
9:00 - Hiller makes two nice saves on hard Devils shots.
7:28 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. tripping. Didn't look like a very good call, as Andy Greene appeared to fall on his own. Perry certainly doesn't like it, but he never does. Third PP for NJ, who is 0-2.
7:20 - Kunitz gets denied on two shots in close.
5:50 - Carter looks for the hat trick, trying to redirect a mid-air shot in front, but it deflects wide
4:54 - New Jersey kills it.
3:58 - Pronger's rocket bounces straight out off Brodeur, but Selanne misses trying to bat it back.
2:54 - NJD Penalty - Karel Rachunek, 2 min. delay of game. Second PP of the game for Anaheim.
Scoring change on the Devils goal, which now goes to Pandolfo (see below).
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - After a strong first, the Ducks look lackluster (outshot 12-6) in the second and they pay for it, as Vishnevski gets one back at 15:36. We head to the third with the Ducks up 2-1.
18:40 - Francois Beauchemin takes a puck off his upper body and might be smarting a bit.
16:35 - David Clarkson is having some issues with the Ducks. The faceoff was delayed after he and Kunitz appeared to be snapping at each other. Behind them, you can see George Parros
smiling on the bench.
15:36 - NEW JERSEY GOAL - JAY PANDOLFO - (SCORING CHANGE) After getting the puck from David Clarkson, who took a big hit from George Parros just after giving it up, former Duck Vishenski snaps a shot from the top of the left circle that deflects off a screening Pandolfo and flies by Hiller's skate on the far side. The Ducks lead is cut in half.
Lights are off.
12:12 - Selanne gets behind the defense on the right wing, but his shot goes right into the pads.
Inexplicably, the spotlight has come on over the center ice area. Not sure why. The officials are talking to the benches about it, maybe asking if they want to delay the game to turn them off.
10:12 - Brian Sutherby pastes former Duck Vitaly Vishnevski into the boards.
For a team up 2-0, the Ducks are turning the puck over an alarming amount.
8:03 - Parise gets the puck in the slot, spins and takes a point-blank shot that's denied.
5:10 - Travis Zajac takes a shot off a loose puck in the slot, but Hiller is there.
4:21 - John Madden rips a slap shot from the red line that Hiller just does save. Man, Madden looks a lot thinner in person.
3:43 - Parros tries a shot from a hard angle, but Brodeur puts the pads together to save it.
2:55 - Scott Niedermayer breaks his stsick in the Ducks zone and tries to clear it with his hand, but it goes to Rupp, who misses the net with a subsequent shot. There goes another $200.
1:23 - Hiller nearly puts the puck in his own net as he's trying to control it off the back wall. Then he goes ahead and passes it right to the Devils.
Just looked at the replay of the second Carter goal and now I see why they gave the first assist to Perry, though it was originally announced that Kunitz got the only helper. See the goal below.
0:00 - We're underway in the second, the Ducks with a minute of power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks can't ask for a much better opening stanza, as Ryan Carter
nets the first two of his NHL life to give them a 2-0 lead.
19:57 - Teemu Selanne
absolutely kills a slap shot from the left circle on the power play, and Brodeur somehow gets a piece of it between his pad and stick, then pounces on the loose puck.
19:00 - NJD Penalty - Patrik Elias, 2 min. holding. Elias holds Bertuzzi to put the Ducks on the power play.
17:53 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - The Ducks get a break when a clear attempt by NJ hits the official. It bounces to Chris Kunitz who flicks it ahead and it's helped forward to Carter in mid-air by Corey Perry. Carter makes a nifty move to tap it to himself around a Devils player, then makes an even niftier drag move into the slot between Paul Martin and Johnny Oduya before sending a wrist shot past Brodeur on the stick side. Absolutely gorgeous goal for Carter, the second of the game and second of his career. It's 2-0 Anaheim.
17:15 - Clarkson gets loose on the right wing, but whiffs on the shot.
16:22 - Perry springs from behind the net and tries to stuff it through Brodeur on the wraparound and nearly pulls it off.
14:07 - Ducks kill.
14:01 - Brian Gionta gets it low and near Hiller, but his shot goes right into Hiller's chest.
12:07 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. holding. Bertuzzi gets called for knocking down Zach Parise. He's not happy.
10:12 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - Carter flies down the right wing and looks like he's going to make a pass to the slot. But instead lets go of a wrister that goes under Brodeur's right leg pad. First career goal for Mr. Ryan Carter and it's 1-0 Ducks. Assists go to Beauchemin who got it out to Carter and Scott Niedermayer, who started the play . Niedermayer's name is booed when it's announced he got the second assist.
10:02 - Niedermayer holds the puck behind the net and here come a few boos. Finally.
A random chant of "Rangers suck!" goes up out of nowhere. Must be another tradition.
7:07 - A seeing-eye shot by Andy Greene nearly gets by Hiller, but he kicks it away.
You've heard nothing every time Niedermayer has touched the puck, so they aren't booing. Then again, they're hardly making any noise at all.
5:28 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. hooking. Getzlaf gets the stick around a Devil around the net
This crowd is awful right now. Can't believe how many empty seats there are.
1:14 - Rob Niedermayer makes a nice cross-ice feed to Marchant, but his shot is stopped. He's had a few good chances saved in the last couple games.
0:00 - We're underway at Prudential Center.
7:08 p.m. - The anthem singer is a woman named Arlette (and just Arlette) who looks srikingly like Natalie Cole. Nice job.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA Jonas Hiller
; NJD Martin Brodeur
Starting Skaters: ANA Chris Kunitz, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer; NJD Paul Martin, John Madden, Jay Pandolfo, David Clarkson, Johnny Oduya
Scratches: ANA Brandon Bochenski, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Joe DiPenta; NJD Sheldon Brookbank
, Rod Pelley, Mike Mottau
Mike Mottau, who wears Scott Niedermayer's old No. 27 for the Devils, won't be out there tonight.