By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Hoping to start their homestand the same way they ended their long road trip, the Ducks were thwarted by a Dallas Stars team they’ve had trouble figuring out all season.
Two Chris Kunitz goals for Anaheim were offset by three Dallas power play strikes and a late empty netter as the Stars prevailed 4-2 and halted Anaheim’s five-game winning streak. It was the fifth win in six games for the Stars over the Ducks this season, and the eighth victory in the last nine overall for the Pacific Division frontrunners.
|Kunitz's two goals weren't enough as the Ducks lost for the first time in six games.
The Ducks fell behind 3-1 after a lackluster second period that saw them victimized by Stephan Robidas twice on the power play. But Kunitz got the Ducks within one with 8:42 left in the third, ripping a one-timer off a Ryan Getzlaf pass from behind the net. The shot whizzed by Dallas goalie Marty Turco, who never moved, giving Kunitz his second goal of the night.
A late rally over the final minutes was not to be, and the only result of Anaheim sending Jean-Sebastien Giguere to the bench in the final minute was a Steve Ott empty-netter with 17.4 seconds left to ice it.
The Dallas triumph spoiled the home debut for Teemu Selanne, who came out of semi-retirement last month and joined the Ducks lineup in the midst of the Ducks’ recent road trip. His first appearance at Honda Center since last June 6 came 1:52 into the game and was met with rousing cheers from the sellout Honda Center crowd. It was the first time the Ducks lost with Selanne in the lineup this season.
"We knew that the first game is always tough coming off a road trip, but still it’s disappointing," Selanne said. "The bottom line is really we didn’t play good enough. All their goals came on the power play, two 5-on-3 goals and one 5-on-4. At this level you can’t do that. Overall we tried hard, but I think we were still a little flat emotionally."
The Ducks were zero for four on the power play, something Kunitz said factored into the defeat. "I think our power play has to be better," Kunitz said. "We had some chances there, a couple of back-to-backs, and we couldn’t find one and put it away. They stuck to their gameplan well. They went in and kept the puck away from us. I don’t think we had much zone time. They played their gameplan better than we did tonight."
Anaheim struck first in the game when Kunitz connected on a one-timer off a Corey Perry pass 3:51 into the game. Perry had stolen the puck away from Matt Niskanen in the corner and quickly fed a waiting Kunitz in front of the net.
About 30 seconds later, Kunitz would make his presence felt in a different way, jumping in on a potential fight between Corey Perry and Steve Ott. After Ott drove Perry into the boards, Perry confronted him, and Kunitz came out of nowhere to rain punches on Ott, even after Ott went to the ground. Kunitz got minors for instigating a fight and for using his visor in the fight in addition to his fighting major and 10-minute misconduct.
"You’re just trying to go with the spur of the moment and trying to protect your player," Kunitz said. "Obviously Corey’s been scoring a lot for us. We need him on the ice. Any time he’s out there it gives our team a better chance to win, so you want to protect him."
And the Ducks lead he had provided quickly became a memory as the Stars countered with three power play goals, one by Mike Ribeiro in the first and two by Stephane Robidas in the second.
Ribeiro tied it at 1-1 on the 5 on 3 with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot with Samuel Pahlsson and Mathieu Schneider both in the box for roughing.
|Selanne acknowledged the crowd, who were seeing him at Honda Center for the first time this season.
Then after Getzlaf skated off with a hooking call, Robidas sent a slap shot from the point over Giguere’s glove at the 4:56 mark. He struck again on the 5 on 3 late in the period, with Travis Moen and Francois Beauchemin in the box. Robidas again launched a slap shot from the point, which snuck through Giguere’s led pads with help from a screening Brendan Morrow.
That ended up being the game-winner, as the Ducks were denied a chance at becoming the first team in NHL history to win six in a row, then lose six in a row, then win six in a row. Dallas also took a six-point lead over the Ducks in the Pacific Division race.
Turco earned his 200th career victory, and has beaten the Ducks four out of five times in the campaign.
It was the first of a seven-game homestand for Anaheim, which will try to bounce back Sunday against Calgary at Honda Center.
"We don’t make any excuses here," Selanne said. "We were not good enough. We didn’t even play close to the level where we usually can play. We have to be better and smarter.We have to forget this one and re-group Sunday."
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks get within a goal in the third thanks to Chris Kunitz, but Dallas hangs on for the 4-2 victory. The Ducks' five-game winning streak is snapped.
19:42 - DALLAS GOAL - STEVE OTT - Ott chases down the puck near the red line and gets ahead of the defense to easily lay it in the empty net. It's 4-2 and this one's over.
19:22 - The Ducks take a timeout with 37.4 remaining.
19:22 - Schneider tries a shot from the point, but it's deflected way over the glass.
19:05 - Getzlaf makes a feed to a charging Kunitz, but his redirect goes over the net.
18:45 - Giguere heads to the bench and the Ducks are 6 on 5.
16:40 - Perry collides with his own man near the red line and goes flipping down. Not a good sign.
We go to the final timeout with 3:57 left and the Ducks needing the equalizer.
16:03 - Modano rips a slap shot from the top of the circle, but Giguere comes out to stop and hold it.
The change in urgency for the Ducks is clear, as the crowd rejoins this game.
11:18 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Getzlaf feeds Kunitz from behind the net and Kunitz slaps a hard one-timer that flies by Turco, who was absolutely frozen. Second goal of the game for Kunitz and we have ourselves a game at 3-2 Dallas.
During the timeout, two scores go up that I can't figure out: Columbus 5, Detroit 1 and L.A. 6, Calgary 2. Strange night in the West.
10:00 - Ryan Carter
continues to work his rear off, putting shots on net, diving at loose pucks, etc.
7:00 - Moen tries to bully his way in, but his attempt is knocked away by Turco.
3:49 - Carter gets a pass from Beauchemin in the slot, spins and shoots, but Turco stops it and then dives on the loose puck before Sutherby can touch it.
2:45 - Just as the power play is expiring, Schneider rips a slap shot that squirts out behind Turco, but goes just wide.
0:43 - DAL Penalty - Brendan Morrow, 2 min. holding. Morrow holds onto Samuel Pahlsson. The Ducks need to get something going now.
0:00 - And away we go.
Hey, the Honda Ridgeline videos are back. The first one is two green ducks puppets saying something hard to understand about the Ducks. The second is a guy getting surgery while wearing a Parros jersey and he groggily asks the doctors not to cut it off. They do to reveal a Ridgeline t-shirt, and then his wife inexplicably pulls the plug. Looked somewhat clever, actually. And it gets the bigger cheers, taking the victory.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks are badly outplayed in a mostly lifeless second, as little Stephane Robidas gets two power play goals to stake Dallas to a 3-1 lead.
18:21 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - STEPHANE ROBIDAS - With Morrow screening in front again, Robidas launches a slap shot from the center point that gets through Giguere's leg pads. It's the second of the period for Robidas and it's 3-1 Stars and this crowd is not pleased.
17:54 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. cross checking. Beauchemin takes a couple of pokes at Brendan Morrow as Morrow is on the ice trying to play the puck against the wall.
17:22 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 2 min. cross checking. Moen definitely does not agree.
16:20 - Selanne gets deep and takes a bad-angle shot that bounces off Turco.
I really enjoy the Kiss Cam. Simple minds...That is, except when people hold it too long. That's just icky.
11:25 - At the tail end of the power play, Perry makes a nice feed across the middle to Beauchemin, who misses the net and he's not happy about it.
10:40 - The Ducks look a bit lost on the power play.
9:28 - DAL Penalty - Stu Barnes, 2 min. holding. Barnes grabs ahold of big Chris Pronger in the Anaheim zone. During the delayed penalty, the Ducks try to get it in deep and it's touched up, just before Turco looks to put a hit on Marchant behind the goal. Looked a little suspect.
7:23 - Kunitz gets the puck way down low and alone, and throws it on Turco. He stops it initially, but it leaks out behind him. But he's able to throw himself on it before the Ducks can get to it.
6:38 - DAL Penalty - Nicklas Grossman, 2 min. tripping. Ducks get a chance.
It's time for the Ducks Trivia Challenge. Matt from Norco is asked how many games the Ducks played on this recent road trip. The choices are 7, 9 and 11 and the answer is 9. Though, I say that game before the All-Star break at L.A. doesn't really count. They ask how many days the Ducks have been away from Honda Center and he answers 23, but it's 22. I think I wrote 23 today. I hope he didn't get that from me.
5:45 - Kunitz cycles it off the board and it bounces to Turco, who again comes way out for it. He tries to clear it, but it's taken away by Getzlaf who has a wide open net behind Turco, but somehow can only hit the post. Heartbreak for Anaheim.
4:56 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - STEPHANE ROBIDAS - Robidas holds the puck at the point before unleashing a slap shot that flies just over Giguere's glove. Giguere may have been blocked a bit by his own player, Samuel Pahlsson.
4:24 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. hooking. The Stars have it forever on the delayed penalty until Beauchemin jumps on and touches it.
0:50 - The Ducks play a little tic-tac-toe after Getzlaf takes it away in the Stars zone. He feeds Bertuzzi in the slot with his back to the net. Bertuzzi shuttles it to a charging Selanne, who had the open net, but it's just barely poked away by Trevor Daley.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In a somewhat physical first stanza, the Ducks and Stars are even at 1-1. Kunitz puts Anaheim on top at 3:51, but Ribeiro gets one back for Dallas with 3:18 left.
19:48 - Jere Lehtinen tries to deflect the puck on net, but Giguere is right there.
16:42 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MIKE RIBEIRO - You could see this one coming a mile away. Ribeiro holds the puck in the right circle, and holds, and holds and finally takes a wrist shot from the faceoff dot that gets under Giguere's leg pad with the help of a Brendan Morrow screen. It's 1-1.
15:49 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. roughing. The Ducks go down 5 on 3.
15:37 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. elbowing. Schneider, anticipating a hit from Ott, puts a forearm in Ott's face and he's slow to get up.
15:24 - Rob Niedermayer gets some space in the right circle and slips in a shot. It's held by Turco, who's immediately converged on by four Ducks players and the pushing and shoving commences.
14:48 - Away from the puck, Moen gets into it with frequent Brad May opponent Kris Barch. Nothing too major, aside from a hard left that Moen gets in at one point. They both take 5.
13:32 - Turco gets a little careless with the puck behind the net and it's taken away from him by Selenna. Bertuzzi looks like he has an easy chance to punch it in the open net, but it's blocked by Jussi Jokinen at the last moment.
11:19 - Brian Sutherby, in a rare PP stint, nearly deflects one in.
9:40 - DAL Penalty, Niklas Hagman, 2 min. tripping. During the delayed penalty, Selanne nearly punches in a loose puck that came off the back boards. Selanne will be on the ice for the power play.
We won't see Kunitz again until the middle of the second period, but his memory lingers on.
6:59 - Parros picks up a loose puck and looks to have a clear shot from the near slot, but it's blocked in front. A second glance shows it might have gotten through if it didn't hit the leg of a falling Ryan Carter
4:23 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. instigating a fight and 5 min. fighting and 2 min. for using his visor in the fight and a 10 min. misconduct. DAL Penalty - Steve Ott, 2 min. roughing and 5 min. fighting After Perry misses with a one-time attempt, he's thrown into the board by Steve Ott. Perry initially gets into it with Ott, but out of nowhere Kunitz comes up and drills Ott. He immediately begins throwing punch after punch on Ott, even after the Stars center goes down and gets back up to take some more. Kunitz needs an assist for the Gordie Howe hat trick.
3:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Corey Perry nabs the puck away froom Matt Niskanen in the Stars' zone, then recovers it in the corner. He turns and gives a nice feed to Kunitz right in front, and Kunitz taps it low and inside the right post. Huge first goal for Anaheim.
1:52 - Teemu Selanne
hits the Honda Center ice for the first time since June 6 and the crowd erupts. Goosebumps, baby
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center for the first time in a long time.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters - ANA Corey Perry
, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf
, Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger; DAL Nicklas Grossman, Stephane Robidas, Mike Modano, Jeff Halpern, Steve Ott
Scratches - ANA Brandon Bochenski, Brad May, Joe DiPenta; DAL Brad Winchester, Joel Lundqvist
Turco gets the start in net for the second consecutive night.