By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – A few things have changed in the 271 days since the Ducks and Senators last faced off, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. But one thing remained constant -- the result.
|The Ducks, wearing their road whites on this night, continued their red hot play with their sixth straight victory.
First-period goals from Todd Bertuzzi and Corey Perry, and a vital insurance strike from Scott Niedermayer, merged with a stifling defense to give the Ducks a 3-1 victory over Ottawa and their sixth straight win. The Ducks became just the second team in NHL history (along with the 1972-73 Kings) to lose the first game of a homestand of seven or more and win the next six.
"Obviously, it is an exciting game to play the team we played in the Final last year," said Niedermayer. "We were ready for their best. I think they got a little off their game. Sometimes it is tough when you feel the calls and penalties aren’t going your way. We just tried to stay focused on what we were doing."
The Ducks prevailed in slightly more dominating fashion in that Game 5 last June at Honda Center, trouncing the Senators 6-2 to capture the first Stanley Cup in California in league history. Since that time the Ducks have endured the semi-retirements of two of its leaders, while Ottawa has undergone a coaching game of musical chairs.
Ottawa was playing its third game with Bryan Murray as head coach, and suffered its second loss with him in charge. Murray, the Sens coach all last season, had moved to GM and hired John Paddock to take his place last summer. But he fired Paddock on Feb. 27 and took his spot behind the bench.
Murray himself cost the Senators dearly when he vehemently argued a high sticking call on Mike Fisher 9:12 into the third period and was tagged with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor.
The Ducks quickly took advantage on the resulting 5-on-3, as Scott Niedermayer took a feed from Mathieu Schneider and snapped it under the crossbar. After an Ottawa clearing attempt hit Antoine Vermette and bounced to Schneider, the Sens found themselves overcommitted to the wing. Schneider moved into the slot and got the puck to Niedermayer for the defenseman’s third goal in the last six games.
That gave Anaheim a vital two-goal lead in a game where Ottawa threatened to tie it on several occasions. The goal also appeared to take the wind out of the Ottawa sails, as the Senators managed just two shots over the final 10 minutes.
Another change from that Game 5 was the Ottawa situation in net, as the starter throughout last year’s playoffs, Ray Emery, has fallen out of favor in Ottawa and has been replaced by former Duck Martin Gerber. Meanwhile, the Ducks still count on postseason superhero Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had 24 saves in earning his fifth straight win and ninth in his last 11 starts.
"We were expecting them to come out hard," Giguere said. "They played a really good game, but I thought we didn’t give them a chance. We started with a very strong first and after that we never looked back. All together, I think we played really well tonight."
Murray again lost his cool with just under six minutes remaining in the game, screaming at the officials after Travis Moen got a little too close to Martin Gerber on a rebound and Gerber threw a haymaker at Moen in a scrum around the net. No penalty was called on Gerber or anyone on the ice, but Murray laid into the official and was tossed.
The Ducks were missing Chris Pronger for the second straight game after Pronger had surgery seven days ago for a fractured jaw. But they had the services of center Doug Weight for the first time since Feb. 8 and Todd Marchant for the first time since Feb. 20. Both had been out with sore shoulders, but each put three shots on net in playing significant minutes (Weight on the second line with Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz). Head coach Randy Carlyle also re-took his spot behind the bench after missing Friday night's win over Calgary with the flu.
"We tried to stress that there was a different feeling about preparing for the game," Carlyle said. "We felt that the matchup against them last year that would be some incentive. They have had some change in their hockey club as we’ve had some change, so it was another test for us. They are a very highly skilled group and they won their last game, scoring some big goals against Pittsburgh. They were looking at this as maybe a possible springboard. It’s not like they played poorly."
In the opening period, Anaheim went up 2-0 on two goals from forwards on the top scoring line that hadn’t found the net at Honda Center in some time.
Todd Bertuzzi initially put the Ducks in front 11:58 into the first, benefiting from a nice cross-ice feed from Ryan Getzlaf. After Corey Perry tapped the puck to Getzlaf at the blue line, Getzlaf looked to have the shot from the inside right wing, but instead fed Bertuzzi for the one-timer upstairs. Bertuzzi hadn’t scored at Honda Center since Jan. 15
About three minutes later, Corey Perry gave the Ducks a 2-0 cushion, with a tip-in off a Scott Niedermayer shot. Niedermayer put a shot on net from the high slot, and it nicked off Ottawa d-man Mike Commodore before hitting off Perry and past Gerber. Not the prettiest goal of the season for the Ducks' goal-scoring leader, it was his first since Feb. 7 and first at home since Jan. 13.
|Randy Carlyle returned behind the bench after missing the last game with the flu.
Ottawa sliced the lead in half with a slapshot goal from defenseman Christoph Schubert that traveled low to the ice through the legs of teammate Jason Spezza and past a shielded Jean-Sebastien Giguere on the glove side.
The goal came on one of the three shots the Senators managed in the period, a carryover of that Game 5 in which they were held to just 13.
But Ottawa got that exact amount in the middle session, though neither the Sens nor the Ducks (who had 12 shots) dented the net in the period.
Ottawa had a few chances in the third, but were denied on all of them by Giguere, who pounced on several loose pucks that danced around the Anaheim net. The Ducks are now 26-1-1 when leading after two periods.
Anaheim hits the road for the first time in three weeks with tilts at Chicago and Colorado before returning to Honda Center to face Montreal on Sunday.
"We want to be strong at home before the playoffs come," Giguere said. "It’s important to make a statement right now. As of late, we’ve been playing really well at home. Especially going on the road for the next two games, we wanted to finish this homestand on the right foot and I thought we did that tonight."
The Ducks have won six straight games (all at home) and 11 of their last 12 overall (11-1-0). The Ducks’ six-game streak is tied for the longest active in the NHL (also San Jose). The club is also 13-2-1 in their last 16 games at Honda Center. Anaheim remains four points behind Dallas for the Pacific Division lead with 14 games remaining.
Longest Winning Streaks Longest Home Winning Streaks
7 games (Feb. 20-Mar. 7, 1999) 7 games (Dec. 19, 2007-Jan. 15, 2008)
6 games (Feb. 17-present) 7 games (Mar. 7-Apr. 4, 2006)
6 games (Mar. 17-25, 2006) 6 games (Feb. 17-present)
6 games (Jan. 23-Feb. 6, 2002) 6 games (Feb. 25-Mar. 11, 2007)
6 games (Mar. 8-22, 1996) 6 games (Dec. 1-12, 2002)
*The two longest home winning streaks in the NHL this season belong to Anaheim (above) and Edmonton (active), both with seven-game streaks.
Anaheim has gone 21-for-22 (95.5%) on the penalty kill in the last five games. The club has allowed just two power play goals in the last six games, going 23-for-25 (92.0%) overall.
The Ducks have allowed only five goals in their last 12 games in the third period/overtime (286 MIN, 1.05 GAA). In addition, the club has allowed only nine goals in the last six games (1.48 GAA, 9 GA/ 366 MIN) and 19 goals in the last 12 games overall (1.57 GAA, 19 GA/726 MIN).
J.S. Giguere recorded his fifth consecutive win tonight, tying his season best (also Jan. 7-17). He remains one win shy of tying his career high for consecutive wins (six games, Jan. 23- Feb. 6, 2002). In his last 11 starts, he has a 9-1-1 record, posting a 1.26 GAA (14 GA/668 MIN) and a .950 SV% (264-for-278).
Mathieu Schneider has recorded 1-4=5 points in the last six games. In addition, his “even” rating this evening extended his plus-or-even streak to 31 games (+17), the longest such streak in the NHL since the 2006-07 season (last: NYI’s Shawn Bates, 36 games, +14 rating, Oct. 28, 2006 through Jan. 18, 2007).
Ryan Getzlaf has extended his point streak to three games (1-5=6). In addition, he has collected points in 13 of the last 14 home contests, earning 5-16=21 points during that span (dates back to Jan. 2 vs. CBJ). He has earned 2-10=12 points in the last nine games overall.
Scott Niedermayer has earned 2-2=4 points in the last two games.
With a goal this evening, Todd Bertuzzi extended his point streak to three games (1-2=3).
Corey Perry extended his point streak to three games (1-3=4) with a goal and an assist tonight.
Anaheim continues its franchise-record sellout streak at Honda Center, recording their 67th straight sellout (17,174) this evening. In addition, it marks the 55th consecutive sellout in the regular season, also a franchise record.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks send it down the ice and Ottawa can't get it back in before time expires. Ducks win 3-1 and have won 11 of 12.
19:44 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin and OTT Penalty - Dany Heatley, 2 min. cross checking.
19:44 - Giguere makes another great save, this time on a shot from the wing, a a screening Vermette goes toppling over him. Hey, look at that. Giguere doesn't throw a punch at Vermette.
19:10 - The Sens empty the net.
18:09 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. slashing. the Ducks send the puck into the empty net after the delay, but it's of course no goal.
18:02 - Perry tries a one-timer from the slot off a Weight pass, saved.
17:10 - Perry makes a nice move in the slot, then tries a spinning backhander that goes wide.
16:30 - Ottawa has zero shots since the Niedermayer goal at the halfway point of the period.
15:40 - OTT Penalties - Randy Robitaille, 2 min. slashing and 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. Second time in as many games the Ducks have benefited from a double minor near the end of the game.
13:20 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. roughing. Bert grabs the neck of an Ottawa player. This thing is definitely getting physical.
13:03 - OTT Penalty - head coach Bryan Murray, game misconduct. Moen goes spilling toward Gerber trying to go after a possible rebound, but doesn't get all that close to him. That doesn't prevent Gerber from throwing a haymaker at Moen as he's held up by Ottawa teammates. It's the second time in three games an opposing goaltender has lost it on a Ducks player. But surprisingly, there is no penalty. Murray is again screaming at the official, who threatens to toss Murray and eventually gives him the heave-ho.
9:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - It's a defenseman-to-defenseman connection, as Mathieu Schneider picks up the loose puck when an Ottawa clearing attempt hits Antoine Vermette and stays in the Anaheim zone. With two Sens players overcommitted to that side of the ice, Schneider moves to the slot and makes a feed to his right to Niedermayer, who snaps a shot under the near corner. The Sens pay in a major way for those penalties.
9:12 - OTT Penalties - Mike Fisher, 2 min. high sticking and bench minor, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. Murray doesn't like the call at all and looks like he wants a piece of the official. Could cost him.
8:35 - Weight does a great job to outskate the Ottawa player for the puck, then makes a pretty feed to Selanne on the doorstep, but the Flash can't punch it in.
7:16 - Marchant takes yet another shot, but Gerber has the perfect angle on it, and takes it in the gut. Marchant
6:30 - Little bit of commotion over by the Ducks bench as some Ducks and Sens tangle with the puck behind Anaheim's goal.
5:44 - Giguere makes another smooth stop on a Mike Fisher shot from the right wing. The fact that Fisher had that much room is a bit of a concern.
The dude who looks like Rod Stewart's less-successful brother isn't shy about dancing up and down the aisle when the camera comes to him.
5:15 - The Ducks take a rare early-period timeout. Carlyle obviously doesn't like the looks of things.
5:15 - Giguere comes up big, making too big saves on shots by Spezza and Heatlley, then finally diving on the puck. Beautiful.
5:01 - Marchant protects the puck as he races down the middle, then shoots a backhand that Gerber gloves easily.
4:50 - The Ducks are whistled for icing, though it looked like Brad May got to the puck first. He doesn't like the call.
1:27 - Spezza makes a pretty toe drag move around Beauchemin, but Giguere makes a fantastic save to deny him one-on-one.
0:33 - Getzlaf makes a nice backhand feed to a streaking Selanne, and it's deflected by Fisher almost into the net.
0:00 - We're off and running in the third, the Ducks with 1:26 of power play time.
During the timeout, it's time again for the What Would You Do for a Honda Ridgeline contest. The first video is a relatively uneventful one involving a couple of little girls and a dog. It's soon booed by the few fans paying attention. The next is a guy who says he would create a DVD of the history of hockey in California. He shows the difference in cups owned by Anaheim and L.A., the Ducks' being the Stanley variety and the Kings' being the athletic supporter variety. By a vote of cheers, his wins in a landslide. Well done.
20:00 -END OF PERIOD - Nothing doing for either team, as the Ducks are outshot by Ottawa, 13-12 after the Sens had just three shots in the first.
19:59 - Schneider takes a hail mary shot with a second left, sending it to the net, not Daniel Alfredsson.
19:27 - OTT Penalty - Chris Kelly, 2 min. tripping. Kelly takes down No. 8 in white, giving the Ducks the advantage for the remainder.
17:50 - The Ducks clear it out of the zone as the penalty expires, to the approval of the crowd.
16:50 - Scotty Niedermayer does a nice job to clear it the length of the ice from behind the Ducks net.
15:50 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. tripping.
15:46 - Perry makes a play from the right wing, but it's blockered away nicely by Gerber.
13:01 - Giguere makes a nice stop on a rocket from Schubert.
12:29 - Pahlsson gets on the 2-on-1 rush shorthanded with Rob Niedermayer, and takes a slap shot that Gerber initially stops, but it leaks behned him before Meszaros sweeps it away. Looked like the official blew it dead anyway, mistakenly.
11:50 - ANA Penalty - Marc-Andre Bergeron, 2 min. high sticking. Bergeron gets Shean Donovan on Donovan's way to the net.
9:50 - Alfredsson gets booed even louder as he plays the puck near center ice.
8:53 - Weight picks up a loose puck and has a wide-open shot on net, but Gerber does a nice job to get big and make the stop.
Kunitz must have some new skates on tonight, because he is really moving.
7:43 - Alfredsson makes a nice redirect on the move, but it's stopped by Giguere.
6:32 - Shean Donovan puts a quick shot on net after May turns it over, but Giguere kicks it away.
It's Ducks trivia time and Richard is asked to name one of the two Ducks who are from Ottawa. He guesses Sean O'Donnell and he's right! As a bonus, he's asked the other player. He's clearly getting help as he yells to someone off-camera, "Who???" He says, "Um, NIedermayer" to the disappointment of his fellow fans. It's Kent Huskins.
5:50 - Feverish last couple of minutes, with both teams having chances on net at both ends.
2:10 - Giguere makes a great save on a point blank shot by Mike Fisher, then covers it.
1:12 - Bertuzzi makes a feed toward Perry, but it hits Meszaros first and hits off the far post.
0:20 - Sammy Pahlsson takes a shot off a Rob Niedermayer pass that is deflected and nearly gets past Gerber.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get the first two (from Bertuzzi and Perry), but Ottawa bounces back with a Schubert strike. It's 2-1 Anaheim as the period gets a little more physical during the second half. We'll see if that carries over to the middle session.
17:25 - After a Beauchemin shot from the point is saved, Pahlsson tries to punch at the loose pick and gets pushed to the ice slightly by Schubert. The crowd doesn't like it, but the officials make the correct no-call by not giving a penalty.
16:06 - After his first shot is stopped, Bertuzzi swats at a loose puck in the air, around the height of his head, and bats it past Gerber. But it's immediately waved off for being played out of the air with a high stick.
15:35 - OTTAWA GOAL - CHRISTOPH SCHUBERT - Schubert lets go of a shot from the point that flies low through the legs of a screening Spezza and past a shielded Giguere on the glove side. The Sens cut into the lead.
15:10 - Andrej Meszaros goes into the board awkwardly as he's taken down with Moen and looks to be hurt. He's slow to get up and needs help getting to the bench.
15:00 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - COREY PERRY - Perry fights for the puck in the corner, and Weight gets it back to Niedermayer at the point. He skates to a better angle and places a wrist shot that deflects off d-man Mike Commodore and tips off Perrry past Gerber. It's 2-0 Ducks.
14:03 - OTT Penalty - Wade Redden, 2 min. interference. Redden gets in Selanne's path, while Selanne skates without a stick. First power play.
13:02 - Rob Niedermayer drills Anton Volchenkov against the wall behind the Ottawa goal, drawing a roar from the crowd.
11:58 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TODD BERTUZZI - Corey Perry taps the puck from the blue line to Ryan Getzlaf inside him on the right wing. Getzlaf looks to have room for the shot, but instead makes a cross-ice pass that Bertuzzi one-times upstairs from the left circle. Pretty sequence and it's Bertuzzi's first goal at home since Jan. 15. It's 1-0 Ducks.
10:35 - Weight hesitates, then fires a drive from the point that Gerber comes out to save.
The tennis balls have added a third. A full can, if you will. (Sorry.)
7:57 - Weight has a good idea on a feed to the slot to a streaking Selanne, but it's saved.
6:00 - The puck is turned over from behind the net right to Marchant in the slot, and he tries a quick shot that flies wide.
3:10 - Selanne, Weight, and Kunitz on a line for Anaheim. It will be interesting to see how these three mesh.
3:05 - Alfredsson moves the puck up the ice and gets booed for the first time, a carryover from last year's Final, when he shot a puck at Scott Niedermayer.
2:26 - Todd Marchant
, on the ice for the first time in a little while, does a nice job to keep the puck in the attacking zone.
1:17 - Kunitz absolutely blazes up the ice to outrace Anton Volchenkov for a loose puck, then is almost moving too fast to make a breakaway move on Gerber and the goalie stops it.
0:13 - Linesman Brad Lazarowich got drilled by the puck just seconds after the opening faceoff and the play is stopped to tend to him. He's a little shaken up, but looks to be recovering. Scott Niedermayer skates behind him, whispering something encouraging in his ear.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, the Ducks wearing their whites tonight, while Ottawa is in their reds.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; CGY Martin Gerber
Starting Skaters - ANA Francois Beauchemin, Scott NIedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; CGY Chris Phillips, Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Anton Volchenkov
Scratches - ANA Brian Sutherby, Chris Pronger, Joe DiPenta, Andrew Ebbett; CGY Brian McGrattan, Chris Neil, Cody Bass, Nick Feligno
Both Doug Weight and Todd Marchant are in the lineup for Anaheim. Weight is playing his first game since Feb. 8 in New Jersey. Marchant hasn't played since Feb. 20.