By Adam Brady
– Apparently some home cooking and an Eastern Conference opponent was all the Ducks needed to snap their scoring funk.
Goals by Chris Kunitz and Samuel Pahlsson within 33 seconds of each other in the final period propelled Anaheim to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Montreal Canadiens, making their first Honda Center appearance in four years.
|Kunitz scored the eventual game-winner with 7:24 left.
The victory, a franchise record-tying seventh straight at home, gave the Ducks a 8-2-0 record against the East this season, including a perfect 5-0-0 mark against the Northeast Division.
The Ducks went up 1-0 on a Todd Marchant tally just 21 seconds into the game (breaking a string of more than 130 minutes without a goal), but couldn’t get the second one until 12:36 into the third. That’s when Ryan Getzlaf came from behind the net, turned and made a pretty pass across the crease to Kunitz, who redirected it netbound to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.
"It was definitely nice to put one in the net," Kunitz said. "We had some chances all night. We were shooting the puck and unfortunately it wasn’t going in for us, but we found one towards the end."
Montreal and its top-ranked power play looked to get the quick equalizer after a Todd Bertuzzi boarding minor just 14 seconds after the goal, but Samuel Pahlsson slammed the door with a shorthanded goal the other way. After Pahlsson took the puck away, Scott Niedermayer headed the other way on a 2-on-1 rush. He waited until the right instant to feed Pahlsson on the right wing, and Pahlsson swept it inside the right post. It was just the third shorthanded goal given up by Montreal this season.
"They were down and had to take some chances," Pahlsson said. "We had a 2-on-1 there and what can I say, it was a perfect pass. I pretty much had an open net to put it in. It was a really good upswing for us and tough for them."
That was more than enough for a Ducks defense that only allowed 21 shots all game, with Jean-Sebastien Giguere again sparkling in net and stopping all but one of them. Anaheim snuffed out all four Montreal power play opportunities, continuing a run of penalty killing in which the Ducks are 40-for-44 (90.9%) in the last nine games.
"I thought for the better part of the game we stayed with our gameplan of not turning the puck over," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We didn’t get frustrated, which was a huge sign. Mentally we stuck by our guns and said we’re going to push through this and get the job done."
Those two Ducks goals in the third were much prettier than Anaheim’s first strike, which snapped that string of futility before many Anaheim fans (and the large contingent of Montreal faithful) had found their seats. Marchant’s pass deflected off Montreal’s Andrei Markov and popped into the air, coming down in front of the crossbar and behind goalie Carey Price’s back. Doug Weight tried to help the puck with his stick while standing behind the net, which led to a question of whether he touched it with a high stick. But a lengthy review indicated that Weight never touched the puck and Marchant was credited with his sixth goal on the season.
|Getzlaf shined in his first game without Perry, putting five shots on net and assisting on Kunitz's goal.
Montreal got one back from Alex Kovalev 8:44 into the period, with Giguere way out of position after seemingly looking to chase down a puck that had bounced wide of the net. Mikhail Grabovski ran down the puck and quickly fed Kovalev for a one-timer he deposited into the open net.
The shot was one of five the Ducks allowed Montreal in the first, and Anaheim was equally stingy in the second, as the Canadiens only managed seven on net with no goals. And while the Ducks took 16 shots in the middle session, they couldn’t find the net either, despite four power plays (including a 5-on-3 opportunity).
The 20-year-old Price kept the Canadiens in the game for most of it, saving 34 of 37 Anaheim shots.
It was the first game for the Ducks without Corey Perry, who suffered a lacerated quad muscle in the Ducks’ 1-0 loss at Colorado on Thursday. Bobby Ryan was inserted into the lineup after being called up from Portland, and skated with Brad May and Brian Sutherby on the fourth line. Teemu Selanne teamed with Chris Kunitz and Ryan Getzlaf on the top line, with Marchant, Weight and Todd Bertuzzi on the second line.
"We have played really good except for the last two games on the road," Pahlsson said. "We’ve been playing really good for a long time now. It’s not just home. We won on the road too. Sometimes we don’t play perfect games, but we find ways to win."
It was the first visit to Honda Center for Montreal since March 8, 2004.
With tonight’s win, the Ducks have tied the franchise record for consecutive home wins at seven. Anaheim has won seven of their last nine games (7-2-0) and 12 of their last 15 overall (12-3-0). The club is also 14-2-1 in their last 17 games at Honda Center.
Longest Home Winning Streaks
7 games (Feb. 17-present)
7 games (Dec. 19, 2007-Jan. 15, 2008)
7 games (Mar. 7-Apr. 4, 2006)
6 games (Feb. 25-Mar. 11, 2007)
6 games (Dec. 1-12, 2002)
The Ducks have allowed only nine goals in their last 20 games in the third period/overtime (411 MIN, 0.44 GAA). In addition, the club has allowed only 15 goals in the last nine games (1.65 GAA, 15 GA/ 546 MIN) and 24 goals in the last 15 games overall (1.59 GAA, 24 GA/906 MIN).
Todd Marchant’s goal at 21 seconds of the first period was the sixth-fastest in club history (third fastest at home). It is the second-fastest this season behind only Corey Perry’s goal at 16 seconds of the first period on Jan. 4 vs. Chicago.
Samuel Pahlsson’s shorthanded goal was his third of the season and ninth of his career. He remains second on the Ducks all-time shorthanded goals list behind Paul Kariya, who holds the franchise record with 16.
Ryan Getzlaf has earned 1-6=7 points in the last six games. In addition, he has collected points in 14 of the last 15 home contests, earning 5-17=22 points during that span (dates back to Jan. 2 vs. CBJ).
In his last 13 starts, J.S. Giguere has posted a 10-2-1 record, with a 1.30 GAA (17 GA/786 MIN) and a .948 SV% (309-for-326).
Chris Kunitz scored his team-leading sixth game-winning goal of the season tonight.
Anaheim continues its franchise-record sellout streak at Honda Center, recording their 68th straight sellout (17,174) this evening. In addition, it marks the 56th consecutive sellout in the regular season, also a franchise record.
20:00 - END OF GAME - A game that had not confrontations the entire 60 minutes, ends with a scuffle in the corner of the Montreal zone. But it's broken up with little collateral damage. The Ducks get two goals within 33 seconds of each other to push past the Canadiens for the 3-1 victory.
16:53 - MTL Penalty - Alexei Kovalev, 2 min. high sticking. Kovalev gives Scott Niedermayer a shave with the stick blade and actually has the audacity to protest the call.
16:21 - Giguere makes yet another nice stop on a Markov one-time try.
15:28 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. interference. Montreal looks to crawl back.
Corey Perry is walking through the press box on crutches. He looks about 14 years old out of uniform. Also during the timeout, the Rod Stewart lookalike is shown on the video board dancing the night away, and when he's approached by a Habs fan, he flips him off without missing a step.
14:36 - The Ducks look to get another shorthander, as Marchant speeds up the ice, but Price stops him.
13:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - The Ducks penalty killers cause a turnover and head up the ice on 2-on-1 rush led by Scott Niedermayer. He waits until the perfect instant to feed Pahlsson on the right wing, and Pahlsson sweeps it inside the right post. Third shorty of the year for Pahlsson and it's 3-1.
12:50 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. boarding. The Habs looked to get the equalizer.
12:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Getzlaf emerges from behind the net, turns and makes a beautiful pass across the crease to Kunitz, who redirects it netward. Gorgeous goal (much better than the first one) and Kunitz gives it a proper celebration, going to his knee to give an uppercut first pump and a slap to the glass. It's 2-1 Anaheim.
12:12 - Two more big Giguere saves. He's handling his business right now.
11:56 - Kovalev gets some room on the right wing, but Giguere comes out to make a nice save.
10:31 - We go to the under-10:00 timeout with the Ducks outshooting Montreal 31-14. But Anaheim still can't find the net.
7:55 - Selanne makes a nice drop pass to Kunitz in the slot, but Price makes the high save. He's stopped pretty much everything tonight.
4:30 - Scott Niedermayer is a pretty good player. As he hustles back on an odd-man rush for Montreal, he's supposed to be following the winger, but instead quietly steps up and takes the puck away from the middle man.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, with the Ducks having 1:29 of power play time. Let's see if they can freakin' do something with it.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - As was the case for the entire middle session, the Ducks don't find the net over the closing seconds. The Ducks outshot Montreal 16-7 in the period, but neither team dents the net. We're tied 1-1.
19:28 - MTL Penalty - Mike Komisarek, 2 min. holding. Just as the penalty is running out, Selanne is grabbed from behind and thrown down by Komisarek. Teemu did flop just a bit.
18:26 - Pronger's bomb bangs off the wall and Scott Niedermayer tries to poke in the rebound, but it's saved.
17:20 - MTL Penalty - Alex Kovalev, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. Not sure what he did, but it's a big break for the Ducks. They didn't allow a shot on the power play before that.
15:54 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. tripping. Niedermayer didn't appear cause Markov to go down, but he takes the minor regardless. And that No. 1 power play is at it again.
15:33 - Giguere makes another nice stop as Montreal continues to threaten.
13:52 - Getzlaf tries a shot with his back to the net, then tries to sell a trip or hook to no avail.
During the timeout, one of the various shots of the crowd reveals a guy in a huge Canandiens poncho. That's right, Canadiens poncho. He gets roundly booed.
12:11 - Bertuzzi makes a nice cross-ice feed to a charging Weight and it bounces awkwardly off his stick. About the sixth time that's happened to the Ducks tonight.
During the timeout, they hold the Loudest Section contest, where two random sections compete to see ... well, I guess it doesn't need explaining. Neither section is all that impressive, but 433 takes it. A friend of mine just sent a text that said "Dance monkeys, dance! Dance for your chili cheese fries!"
10:36 - Giguere makes a nice save as Kostitsyn charges in on him and tries a backhand shot, then goes spilling into the wall.
9:05 - Schneider fires a shot from the point with Bertuzzi screening that Price gathers. I think I'm seeing why they traded Huet and handed the reins to this guy.
8:00 - Getzlaf fires a slap shot that appears to go off the post. Price is dodging more bullets than Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix" on this PP.
7:50 - Selanne takes that shot froom the corner and Price denies it, as well as Kunitz's attempt to bat in the loose puck.
7:28 - MTL Penalty - Mike Komisarek, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks go 5 on 3 and Montreal takes a timeout to talk about it.
6:45 - Well-deserved boos rain down as the Ducks can't seem to even get it in the zone on the so-called power play.
5:50 - MTL Penalty - Mark Streit, 2 min. interference. Streit gets into the skating path of Bertuzzi with the puck in the Anaheim zone.
5:20 - Marchant walks in on Price, but his backhand attempt is denied.
5:10 - Ryan makes another great swipe of the puck, but it's taken right back by Mike Komisarek.
2:15 - After another mediocre power play effort, Getzlaf tries a one-timer from the slot that flies over the cage.
1:20 - Nice pass from Ryan to Bertuzzi, whose one-timer hits the post.
0:00 - We're underway in the second, with the Ducks on the power play.
A quick recap of the goings-on during the intermission: Little kid hockey players on the ice shooting breakaways - good. Two fans screaming their way through the Fantasy Broadcaster Challenge - very, very bad. We have GOT to get rid of that fiasco.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks outshoot Montreal 11-5 in the period and finally break out of their scoring slump with a fluky goal just 21 seconds into it. But the Habs get one back midway through the session on a Giguere misplay. We're tied 1-1.
20:00 - MTL Penalty - Alex Kovalev, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks will get a full two minutes when the second period starts.
19:11 - Beauchemin rips a one-timer from the point, but Price does a nice job to glove it. So happy for him.
17:01 - Getzlaf holds the puck in the slot and takes a hard wrister that Price saves. That's what we need now from you, Getzy. More shots, more shots and more shots.
15:06 - Giguere does a beautiful job to stonewall Andrei Kostitsyn from point blank range.
14:16 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. high sticking. First power play for Montreal, ranked first in the NHL on the man advantage at 25.2%.
11:42 - Giguere looks a little uncomfortable making a save on a Maxim Lapierre shot on the rush.
10:48 - On the rush, Weight makes a nice feed to Marchant in the middle and he whiffs on it. How many of those have the Ducks had tonight?
8:44 - MONTREAL GOAL - ALEX KOVALEV - As the puck bounces in front of Giguere and takes a hope to the corner, Mikhail Grabovski chases it down and Giguere follows him a bit. He's way out of position when Grabovski feeds Kovalev in the slot and Kovalev one-times it in the wide open net. Rare mistake on Giguere's part and we're tied at 1.
7:10 - Scott Niedermayer makes a nice feed to Getzlaf waiting on the doorstep, but it goes off his stick.
5:42 - MTL Penalty - Mark Streit, 2 min. slashing. The Ducks will look to make a little more noise than they did on the last power play.
4:29 - Soon after the Ducks power play ends, Francois Beauchemin tries to glove a high puck that came off Giguere on a Tom Kostopoulos shot and nearly sends it into the net. It deflects off the top of the crossbar.
2:24 - MTL Penalty - Andrei Kostitsyn, 2 min. hooking.
2:18 - Bobby Ryan
makes a great steal in the Anaheim zone and heads up the ring with it. Probably should have taken the shot when he tries a cross-ice pass to Sutherby, and it bounces over Sutherby's stick.
2:05 - Bobby Ryan
hits the ice with Brad May and Brian Sutherby.
0:45 - Kunitz, Selanne and Getzlaf on the top line for Anaheim.
0:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TODD MARCHANT - Marchant looks to pass the puck from the left corner and it hits off a Montreal's Andrei Markov and pops into the air, coming down right in front of the crossbar and behind Carey Price's back. Doug Weight tries to help it with his stick while standing behind the net, and it's under a review while they try to determine whether he touched it or not (which might mean it was scored with a high stick). After a lengthy process, they ultimately rule Weight didn't make contact with the puck and it's a goal. The Ducks break a string of 130 minutes and 22 seconds without scoring with one of the funkier goals of the year. It's 1-0 early.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, with Montreal here for the first time since '04. For the second straight home game, the Ducks are in their whites, while Montreal wears their home reds.
5:09 p.m. - Very nice rendition of both anthems by the rosey-cheeked Jenny Swoish.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; MTL Carey Price
Starting Skaters - ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Sean O'Donnell, Todd Marchant
, Chris Pronger, Doug Weight
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, Corey Perry
, George Parros
, Joe DiPenta; MTL Ryan O'Byrne, Tomas Pickanec, Steve Begin, Mathieu Dandonault