By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – The only scoring through regulation for the Ducks and Blues came during a two-minute stretch in the third period when they each found the net once. But the Ducks broke character by striking quickly in overtime, as Samuel Pahlsson put a puck through just 32 seconds into the extra session to give Anaheim a slim 2-1 victory at Honda Center.
|Pahlsson's game-winner was the first overtime goal of his career.
Pahlsson took a Rob Niedermayer pass from the corner at the top of the crease and let go of a forehand shot that got past Manny Legace, who had been tough on the Ducks for the second straight contest. It was the first career overtime goal for Pahlsson.
Niedermayer's backhand feed traveled just past the outstretched stick of Legace to a waiting Pahlsson, who called it "a really great pass. It was almost perfect. Robby saw that there were two guys going to net, me and Scotty, and he saw me on the back post there."
It wasn't the first connection between Niedermayer and Pahlsson, who are in their third season of clicking on the Ducks checking line with Travis Moen.
"We have an understanding that those players check the best players in the league," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "Tonight was another indication that they found a way to get the job done for us in scoring a goal. Offense isn’t one of the fortes, but when the game is on the line, those players have been able to deliver for us before and they delivered again tonight."A St. Louis goal by Ryan Johnson 2:17 into the third period broke a stretch of 107 minutes, 50 seconds of scoreless skating between the Ducks and Blues, dating back to a 4-2 St. Louis win on Oct. 23 at Scottrade Center.
The win was the third straight and eighth in nine games for Anaheim.
"You always want to try and get it in overtime and not wait until the shootout," Pahlsson said. "Of course with [Paul] Kariya and [Andy] McDonald out there, you have to keep your head up and be ready for them. It’s big for us. We got two more points. We need these extra points. One is not good enough."
That goal seemed to wake the Ducks, who countered less than two minutes later on a Teemu Selanne tip-in tally at 4:15. After a faceoff win, Kent Huskins shipped the puck to Mathieu Schneider, who launched a one-timer from the point that Selanne deflected on its way to the net over the head of Legace. It was the second goal in as many games for Selanne and his third of the year since coming out of semi-retirement.
That was all the Ducks would get – and need – in regulation, though their inability to find the net wasn’t for a lack of chances. Anaheim put 29 shots on Legace in the game, while St. Louis countered with only 17. Jean-Sebastien Giguere knocked away 16 of those, running his record to 7-1-1 in the month of February.
The game marked the return of McDonald to Honda Center, his first game there since being traded by the Ducks to the Blues for Doug Weight (and other considerations). Weight was one of three Ducks centers absent from the contest with an injury. Todd Marchant (like Weight, suffering from a bad shoulder) and Ryan Carter (broken wrist) also weren’t able to suit up. Carter had successful surgery on his wrist this afternoon and is scheduled to be out four to six weeks.
|Legace was tough on the Ducks for the second straight game.
McDonald was honored with a video tribute during the first period, drawing cheers from the crowd, which he acknowledged with a wave from the bench.
"What a nice thing to do for a former player," McDonald said. " I certainly was treated well while I was here and you saw it again tonight. To see that kind of reception from the fans is quite an honor."
McDonald admitted it was odd skating at Honda Center as the enemy.
"I’m kind of glad that it’s over with," he said. "It’s kind of a weird feeling stepping on the ice. It was a pretty warm reception. I saw a lot of signs during the warmup and the fans treated me great while I was here and then again tonight. I’m going to have nothing but positive memories about being here and I will always cherish my time here in Anaheim."
McDonald received a better welcome than the one afforded former Ducks Kariya, who also made his first Honda Center appearance as a Blue, receiving light boos whenever he touched the puck.
Rookie Andrew Ebbett made his Ducks debut, skating on a line with Selanne and Todd Bertuzzi in over 11:57 of ice time.
"I think we’re really playing our system very well," said Ducks defenseman Mathieu Schneider. "We’re limiting other teams’ chances. There still a lot for improvement on our power play. I think that could really make us an elite team. Right now we are finding ways to win. We’re getting goals from everyone, which is another big key to success at the end of the season and in the playoffs."
The Ducks roll on with their seven-game homestand in a date with Chicago at Honda Center on Sunday.
The Ducks are 10-2-1 in their last 13 games at Honda Center.
Tonight marks the 64th straight sellout (17,174) at Honda Center. It also marks the 52nd consecutive sellout in the regular season, breaking the club record of 51 consecutive regular season sellouts, set from Dec. 22, 1993-Oct. 20, 1995.
Anaheim has been perfect on the penalty kill in the last two games, going eight-for eight. The club has allowed just one power play goal in the last three games, going 10-for-11 (90.9%) overall.
Teemu Selanne extended his point streak to three games (2-1=3). He has also earned 3-1=4 points in his last five games.
In the month of February, J.S. Giguere has posted a record of 7-1-1, with a 1.31 GAA and a .948 SV %. He has also won his last three starts (3-0-0).
0:32 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - Rob Niedermayer heads toward the corner with the puck and sends a pass just out of stick reach of Legace to Pahlsson and the top of the crease. In one motion, Pahlsson gathers and fires a forehand past Legace for the game winner. The Ducks take it 2-1 in overtime.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - Nothing doing over the final 35.9 seconds, just like all but a two-minute stretch in this game. We're going to overtime for the second straight night.
19:24 - St. Louis takes a timeout with 35.9 left.
19:24 - Getzlaf tries to make a feed to Perry streaking to the middle, but it's knocked away, setting up a 2 on 1 in which Backes fires a shot that goes off Giguere over the glass.
18:31 - The boos get louder as Kariya races up the left wing and takes a shot that Giguere gloves high.
15:31 - Giguere kicks a loose puck away, while at the same time tripping up David Backes, who goes slamming into the post.
14:10 - Samuel Pahlsson takes a shot that gets through traffic, but Legace sees it all the way to kick it.
12:45 - The Ducks kill the penalty, actually outshooting the Blues 2-1 during the two minutes.
12:20 - Scott Niedermayer gets the puck on a 2 on 1 with little brother on the left. He decided to hold the puck, make a deke and take a shot himself that hits the side of the net. Half the fans think it went in and cheer.
11:04 - Rob Niedermayer gets a leading pass at the red line and gets on a breakaway, but his attempt shows you why he's never used in the shootout.
10:45 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 2 min. holding the stick.
8:43 - After some contact behind the net, Perry falls into it and it tips over right on top of Legace. That was a sight to see. He almost looked like he was caught in a trap.
We go to the timeout with this thing having been brought to life in a hurry. The Ducks are outshooting St. Louis by a whopping 26-12.
7:00 - After a hard hit in the corner, Perry gets the puck sent to him on a nice forecheck, but his shot is blocked on the way to the net.
4:48 - The Ducks almost get another one as Niedermayer takes a shot that deflects off Legace and off the glass. It bounces right back over the goal, but a heads-up play by Legace keeps it out.
4:15 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - The faceoff goes back to Kent Huskins, who feeds Schneider at the blue line for a blasted one-timer that sizzles into the slot. It's tipped by Selanne over the head of Legace and just under the bar. After a long drought, two quick ones and we're tied 1-1.
2:17 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - RYAN JOHNSON - Stempniak feeds Johnson in the left circle and he has some room before Schneider can check him. Johnson lets go of a wrister that flies over Giguere's shoulder and under the top corner on the near side. It's 1-0 Blues. First goal between the teams in 107 minutes, 50 seconds.
2:00 - Bertuzzi gets some room in the right circle and slaps a shot that Legace stops with no problem.
Andy Murray looks like an older version of Willem Dafoe. That was just pointed out to me.
0:00 - The puck is dropped for the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Much like the last time these two faced off, no soring. They have now gone five straight periods without a goal. It's tied at a bagel apiece. The Ducks are at least outshooting St. Louis 21-10.
19:36 - Nice kill by Anaheim.
17:36 - ANA Penalty - George Parros
, 2 min. tripping. Parros takes down a Blues player behind the cage.
17:19 - Bertuzzi gets it barely ahead of the defense, but it's knocked away right to Parros, whose shot is kicked away.
16:32 - Perry slaps the puck into the corner and it actually comes off the boards right toward the crease and through Legace's legs as it heads toward the circle. It's the only thing that's gotten through Legace all night.
15:50 - The Ducks look like they're going on an odd-man rush but Bertuzzi is barely offside.
14:57 - Getzlaf does a heck of a job to swipe the puck behind the St. Louis net, then makes a feed to Schneider who can't find a shot.
13:42 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. slashing and STL Penalty - Jamal Mayers, 2 min. cross checking. We'll go 4 on 4 for a couple of minutes.
13:36 - Eric Brewer takes exception to a hit by Travis Moen on Christian Backman and they go after each other with a fury. They mostly wrap each other up before Brewer takes Moen down and gets the jersey off him. More damage to Moen's already imperfect mug. Is it just me or have the Ducks not won a fight in weeks? They both get five.
An older couple goes after it hard on the Kiss Cam, even going back for seconds before the shot changes.
11:55 - Giguere's stick goes flying out between the circles, but luckily the Ducks clear the puck as Huskins retrieves it for him.
11:15 - The Blues get a little 2 on 1 with McDonald and Kariya, but Mac tries to feed Kariya instead of taking the shot and it's taken away.
9:18 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Niedermayer puts the stick around Kariya from behind him.
9:01 - McDonald gets checked to the ice by Beauchemin as he crosses the blue line.
7:46 - Kunitz tries a shot from the slot off a nice Selanne feed from behind the cage that Legace makes a great save on. Can they get anything past this guy?
7:01 - George Parros
and frequent nemesis D.J. King go at it. Parros takes King down after a couple of punches, but King pops right back up and gets off a few shots on Parros, who heads right to the dressing room when it's broken up. They get five each. George might need more than that.
We go to the first timeout in a second period that's been about as action-packed as "The English Patient."
6:40 - Perry tries to skate in from behind the net and does little more than fall down.
5:15 - They're not booing. They're saying "Paul."
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks can't get anything going in the remaining minute and we go to the break scoreless.
18:40 - Kunitz gets free for a shot that Legace knocks away.
18:24 - STL Penalty - Jay McKee, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks get another shot at it on the power play.
2:03 - Legace makes a couple of nice saves on Ducks attempts. I think he's saved 652 straight Ducks shots dating back to last game.
17:32 - Scott Niedermayer makes a diving play to try to one-time a Getzlaf pass that led him too much. Strange to see Scotty do anything that doesn't look smooth.
16:03 - STL Penalty - Lee Stempniak, 2 min. hooking. Second minor in less than four minutes for the Stemper.
15:31 - Getzlaf steals the puck and makes a nice cross-ice feed to Schneider, whose slapper is stopped by Legace, who came way out of the crease to do it.
14:07 - The Ducks don't get much going on the PP until Schneider blasts a shot into Legace's midsection.
12:33 - STL Penalty - Lee Stempniak, 2 min. slashing.
10:00 - Giguere makes a nice stop as Lee Stempniak tries to bat the rebound by him.
9:04 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice.
During the timeout, a video tribute to Andy McDonald is shown on the video board, then Andy is shown live looking up at it. He waves to the cheering crowd as the board says "Thank You Andy" underneath his image. Nice moment. Somehow the Bryz one was louder.
7:35 - Bertuzzi takes a shot from the right wing that Legace easily snags out of the air like a guy in an easychair killing a fly.
5:55 - Kariya passes to McDonald, neither of whom is wearing a Ducks uni.
5:22 - Selanne makes a nice feed to new call-up Ebbett from behind the net and Ebbett's one-timer almost sneaks through Legace.
4:15 - Kariya touches the puck in the corner. Slight boos rain down.
The tennis balls are back! And there appears to be a third one two rows behind them. An offspring, if you will.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center with Andy McDonald looking strange in blue and white.
7:08 p.m. - Powerful rendition of the anthem by the ... let's say dramatic .. Jill Burke.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; STL Manny Legace
Starting Skaters - ANA Teemu Selanne
, Chris Kunitz, Andrew Ebbett, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer ; STL ERic Brewer, Keith Tkachuk, Andy McDonald, Bryce Salvador, David Backes
Scratches - ANA Brandon Bochenski, Todd Marchant
, Joe DiPenta; STL Yan Stastny, Matt Walker, Dave Perren