By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Twice during last year’s magical run through the postseason, the Ducks responded to Chris Pronger suspensions by fighting for big victories. Tonight they did it again, using a three-goal third period to pull away from the St. Louis Blues for a 5-2 victory.
|The Ducks fought through the absence of Pronger, then a tying St. Louis goal in the third, to roll to victory.
Rob Niedermayer had two goals in that third period, while Mathieu Schneider and Teemu Selanne each had a goal and an assist to pad Anaheim’s franchise record with a ninth straight home victory and hand St. Louis its 12th defeat in the last 13.
Just after the morning skate, the Ducks learned that team captain Pronger was suspended eight games for stepping on the leg of Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler on Wednesday night at Honda Center.
But the Ducks fought through his absence and battled back when St. Louis tied the score 2-2 early in the third period on a bad-bounce goal off the leg of Ducks forward Samuel Pahlsson. A Jeff Woywitka shot from the point deflected off Pahlsson’s leg and past Giguere, one of the few to get by the Anaheim goalie all night.
But Rob Niedermayer alone gave the Ducks the lead back and some vital insurance with two straight goals down the stretch, giving him his first two-goal game since April of 2006.
A little more than three minutes after St. Louis tied it, Niedermayer won a battle for the puck with Matt Walker at center ice and headed on the attack. He withstood a challenge by Walker to take it back, flinging a shot that bounced off Blues goalie Manny Legace and flipped into the net.
"We were battling along the boards," Niedermayer said. "I just popped free quickly and I saw Mo going to the net. I just wanted to get it on net as quick as I could and luckily it went by Manny."
The entire Ducks checking line played a part on Niedermayer’s second goal, which came with 8:51 left in the game and gave Anaheim a 4-2 cushion. Samuel Pahlsson skidded to a stop to shuttle it to Travis Moen in the slot, and Moen slid a pass through the legs of Walker to Niedermayer, who sent it into the empty half of the cage.
"I just had an empty net," Niedermayer said. "It was some great plays by Sammy and Travis."
Giguere set up the play by making an incredible skate save on a Kariya one-timer on the rush that looked to be a sure St. Louis goal. The Ducks goalie continued his outstanding play over the last two months with 38 saves, one short of his season high.
"Jiggy made some great saves," Schneider said. "If it wasn’t for his performance, we would have been in a much tougher spot. We had a couple of timely goals. We were able to stay on top and not play from behind."
The Ducks, who had only scored two goals on St. Louis counterpart Manny Legace in the last two matchups (including a 1-0 shutout on Feb. 1) continued to have trouble getting anything past him for most of the first period. That was until 53 seconds left in the period when Mathieu Schneider took a pass from Teemu Selanne on the right wing and, though blanketed by defenseman Erik Johnson, sent a backhander past Legace on the glove side.
"I just saw an opportunity to jump up," Schneider said. "I was just trying to create some room for Teemu and happened to break into the open. I was trying to get it at the net as quickly as I could. I think their defenseman got a stick on it, but a backhand is a tough shot for a goalie no matter where. It’s hidden from him."
Said Rob Niedermayer: "That was a huge goal by Schneids. They were starting to really take the play to us. I thought that was a big goal to come in the period up one."
|Selanne had a goal and an assist on the night.
St. Louis got the equalizer just 1:57 into the middle session as Jamal Mayers tipped a Jay McClement shot off Giguere, then punched the easy rebound past him into the open left side of the net.
Anaheim regained the lead with 4:50 left on Teemu Selanne’s eighth goal of the year and his first in seven games. Schneider’s shot from the point deflected off a Blues player in front of the net right to Selanne near the right post, where his quick shot went under Legace’s arm and under the crossbar.
Ryan Getzlaf put a capper on the game after retrieving the puck at center ice just as Legace was heading to the bench for an extra attacker. Legace put on the brakes and tried to retreat back, but it was too late as Getzlaf fired it in the net from behind the blue line.
The Ducks moved to second place in the Pacific Division on a night when Dallas lost to Vancouver. They still trailed frontrunner San Jose by two points in the standings, and hit the road for three games at Dallas, San Jose and Phoenix in the coming week.
"We didn’t play to the level that is going to be required here that is for sure," Carlyle said. "We’ll take the win, but we’re going to have to play a higher level than we played tonight, specifically in our next game against Dallas. We think it’s a decent sign that when you don’t play to your best, you still have some success."
The Ducks' home winning streak is the longest in the NHL this season. It is the longest streak since the 2006-07 season when the Toronto Maple Leafs won nine straight at home from Mar. 6-Apr. 7.
Ducks Longest Home Winning Streaks
9 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)
During the Ducks nine-game home win streak, they have outscored their opposition 33-14. The club has scored three-or-more goals in eight of the nine contests and allowed two-or-fewer goals in eight of the nine games. Over the last five games during the win streak, the Ducks have outscored their opposition 18-6, allowing exactly one goal in four of the five contests (two goals tonight).
Anaheim has won nine of its last 12 games (9-2-1) and 14 of their last 18 overall (14-3-1). The club is also 16-2-1 in their last 19 games at Honda Center.
The Ducks have allowed only two power play goals in the last five games, going 19-for-21 overall (90.5%).
With two goals tonight, Rob Niedermayer extended his goal streak to two games (3-0=3). It is his first goal streak since Apr. 6-10, 2006 (3-1=4). It also ties his career high for goals in a game (12th time and first two-goal game since Mar. 11, 2006 at PHX).
Ryan Getzlaf has earned 3-7=10 points in the last nine games, including a current four-game point streak (2-2=4). In addition, he has collected points in 16 of the last 17 home contests (including six straight, 2-7=9), earning 6-18=24 points during that span (dates back to Jan. 2 vs. CBJ).
In the last nine home contests, Teemu Selanne has earned 7-5=12 points.
Since February 1, J.S. Giguere is 11-2-2 with a 1.38 GAA (21 GA/911 MIN) and .951 SV% (384-for-405) over his last 15 games, allowing two-goals-or-less in 14 of the 15 contests. He ranks second in the NHL in both GAA and SV% during that span.
Giguere has also won seven consecutive home games, allowing two-goals-or-less in all seven contests. During those seven home contests, he has posted a 1.41 GAA (10 GA/425 MIN) and a .964 SV% (270-for-280).
Samuel Pahlsson extended his point streak to four games (1-4=5), tying his career-high (also 2/7-2/14/03, 0-4=4)).
With an assist tonight, Travis Moen extended his point streak to two games (1-2=3), his first point streak of the season, also tying his career-high (Fourth time; last: 3/18-3/22/07, 2-0=2)).
Mathieu Schneider recorded his third, three-point game (1-2=3) of the season tonight (Nov. 5 vs. DAL (1-2=3)).
Anaheim continues its franchise-record sellout streak at Honda Center, recording their 70th straight sellout (17,174) this evening. In addition, it marks the 58th consecutive sellout in the regular season, also a franchise record.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks dominate the third period in pulling off a 5-2 victory over the Blues for the ninth straight win at Honda Center.
19:55 - Giguere makes one more huge save, sprawling on his side to flick away a shot by Jamal Mayers.
18:22 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Pahlsson clears the puck out of the Anaheim zone and Getzlaf picks it up at center ice just as Legace was headinig to the bench. Legace puts on the breaks and retreats back, but it's too late, as Getzlaf puts a pinpoint shot from behind the blueline into the net. It's 5-2 Ducks and this bad boy is over.
17:34 - Giguere makes another great save on a Kariya shot, this one from the left circle.
11:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ROB NIEDERMAYER - The Ducks checking line all play a part on this one. Pahlsson gets it on the right wing, where he stops and hits Moen coming through the slot. Moen sends a backhand pass through the legs of Matt Walker to Niedermayer, who gathers and shoots into the open left side of the net. Two tonight for Niedermayer and it's 4-2 Anaheim.
10:48 - Kariya looks to have one on a one-timer on the rush, but Giguere reaches out to barely kick it away.
8:31 - STL Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. The Ducks get another shot at the man advantage, and gets a chance to talk it over as there is some loose glass.
7:10 - Paul Kariya takes some time to decide what he wants to do with the puck behind the net. Eventually, Scott Niedermayer loses his patience and takes the thing away from him.
4:08 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ROB NIEDERMAYER - Niedermayer wins a battle at center ice with Matt Walker and heads on the attack. Walker tries to take it back, but Niedermayer regains it and flings a shot on goal that Legace somehow can't handle, as it bounds off him in the net. It's an ugly one, but the Ducks deserve it after that last St. Louis goal. Second goal in as many games for Rob Niedermayer. Yes, seriously. It's 3-2 Ducks.
3:51 - Selanne gets some room on the right wing and takes a shot that Legace snatches out of the air with the glove.
3:00 - By the way, Beauchemin and Niedermayer are paired together again, and have been for the last two periods.
0:54 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - JEFF WOYWITKA - Woywitka's slapper from the point appears to be redirected from Kariya's stick off Samuel Pahlsson's leg and darts past Giguere. Had it not hit Pahlsson, the puck would have gone way wide toward the corner of the rink. They announce Woywitka with the goal, but it looked to clearly hit off Kariya's stick before hitting Pahlsson. Either way, we're tied 2-2.
0:00 - And they're off in the third.
During the intermission, it's the What Would You Do For a Honda Ridgeline contest again. The first video is some guy mentioning that his son's name is Matthew Schneider, but he's making the boy change the spelling to Mathieu to honor the Ducks d-man. It doesn't really have a solid ending and gets booed. The second one, following the child abuse theme, shows a guy playing hockey with his son in the living room and he checks the little boy hard into the fireplace. You just see the kids lower half sticking out of the fireplace and hardly moving. It's beautiful and the crowd applauds it loudly. There's your winner.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks battle hard and get another goal, from Selanne, to take a 2-1 lead. Jamel Mayers had tied it with one early in the period for the Blues. St. Louis gets off a relatively quiet 20 shots in all.
18:22 - The net topples over during the play and traps Legace underneath it. Didn't that same thing happen last game here to Legace on the other side of the ice?
18:00 - Bertuzzi slips through Jackman and Johnson as he takes a headman pass from Getzlaf and he's on the breakaway. But his shot is nicely gloved by Legace as Bert bangs the glass with his stick in anguish.
16:55 - Getzlaf makes a ridiculous move to grab the puck at the blueline and leave David Perron in his dust, but instead of taking the shot from the wing, passes to no one in particular.
15:10 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - A Mathieu Schneider shot from straightaway at the blueline deflects off a Blues player in front of the net, right to Selanne. He quickly scoops it up and shoots it off Legace's pad and under the crossbar. Odd crowd reaction to the goal as it wasn't all that loud for some reason. But it counts just the same and it's 2-1. Eighth of the year for the Flash.
14:59 - Scott Niedermayer makes a diving play to keep the puck in the zone. You don't see that every day.
14:31 - STL Penalty - Cam Janssen, 2 min. interference. The Ducks get an opportunity, although they haven't shown much on the PP thus far.
13:56 - Bergeron looks like he makes a nice play to stop a pass, but it goes under his stick, giving Stastny an open shot that Giguere luckily saves. Bergeron is not exactly sharp tonight.
11:52 - St. Louis, for some reason, takes a timeout.
11:10 - Scott Niedermayer puts up a fairly soft slap shot that almost befuddles Legace. No one seems to have a better soft shot that Niedermayer. It's almost like he tosses a knuckleball up there.
The Kiss Cam shows a pair of teenagers and they both look horrified as the boy can be seen mouthing the words, "That's my sister!"
9:40 - Janssen gets Kunitz in the face and whips his head back, but no call. Now it looks like Parros wants a piece of Janssen, but he's not up for it.
7:12 - Bergergon takes a shot on a Bertuzzi feed that's saved and Getzlaf looks to have a good angle on the rebound, but that's denied as well.
6:40 - Getzlaf takes a hard one-timer from the right circle that Legace kicks away.
5:45 - Parros and Cam Janssen collide hard behind the St. Louis net, with Parros falling backward.
1:57 - ST. LOUIS GOAL - JAMAL MAYERS - Myers tips a Jay McClement shot from the right wing point and it hits off Giguere right back to Mayers. Giguere doesn't recover in time as Mayers dumps the rebound in the open left half of the net. We're tied 1-1.
0:00 - Here we go in the segundo.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks put 13 shots on Legace, but can't slip anything through until Schneider does it with just 53 seconds left. It's 1-0 Anaheim after one and we'll be back after this.
19:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATHIEU SCHNEIDER - Kent Huskins gets the play started by picking up the puck in the corner of the Anaheim zone and sends a long pass to Selanne on the right wing. Selanne feeds a streaking Schneider just inside him on the wing and Schneider, blanketed by Erik Johnson, slips a backander past Legace on the glove side. Finally the Ducks gets something past him and it's 1-0 on Schneider's 10th of the year.
Two very orange woman are shown on the board during the timeout, much to their delight. I wonder if they're from Orange County.
11:35 - ANA Penalty - Doug Weight, 2 min. cross checking. First penalty on Anaheim.
10:55 - Francois Beauchemin, for the second time tonight, nearly gives the puck away right in front of the Ducks net. This time McDonald almost swipes it from him. He's playing with Bergeron tonight instead of Scotty with Pronger out of the lineup. Not working very well so far.
9:20 - Getzlaf looks to have a goal on a rebound try, but Legace makes a fantastic lunging save. Looks like he's at it again.
8:57 - STL Penalty - Paul Kariya, 2 min. holding. Kariya holds Rob Niedermayer against the wall and Niedermayer sells the penalty by almost intentionally dropping his stick to the ice. Can you get a diving penalty for that?
8:20 - Speaking of Parros, he almost gets one on a one-timer from a Brian Sutherby behind-the-net pass.
During the timeout, they show on the video board footage of tonight's Honorary Duck, a little girl about six years old, meeting George Parros before the game. He shakes her tiny little hand, and it occurred to me it would be funny if he punched her as well. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.
7:25 - Kariya still getting booed every time he touches it, but not that lustily.
5:20 - Mayers gets the puck on a breakaway as it comes off the wall near the benches, but Giguere stonewalls him.
5:02 - STL Penalty - Matt Walker, 2 min. slashing. Selanne drew the penalty with a nice hesitation move down the left wing and gets off a shot on the delayed whistle that Legace corrals.
4:50 - Bertuzzi is fine. Back on the ice.
3:20 - Rob Niedermayer gets a step on the defense and tries a deke move on Legace, but it's poked away.
2:50 - Not the greatest power play in the world for Anaheim, which got off one shot.
0:50 - STL Penalty - Brad Boyes, 2 min. elbowing. Early power play for the men in black.
0:40 - Todd Bertuzzi has come off the ice and is bent over and appearing to be in pain in the tunnel leading to the locker room.
0:08 - Huskins gets off a quick shot from the left circle, but it's knocked away.
0:00 - We're underway at Honda Center, on a night when three of the four teams ahead of the Ducks in the Western Conference (including Dallas) lost.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; STL Manny Legace
Starting Skaters - ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Teemu Selanne
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Mathieu Schneider, Kent Huskins; STL Barret Jackman, Erik Johnson, Andy McDonald, Lee Stempniak, David Backes
Scratches - ANA Corey Perry
, Chris Pronger, Joe DiPenta, Bobby Ryan
; STL Dan Hinote, Ryan Johnson, Martin Bucinski, Jay McKee
Bobby Ryan gets the scratch in favor of a little more muscle in George Parros.