By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Just in time for the playoffs, it seems the Anaheim Ducks may have figured out how to beat the Dallas Stars.
Knowing the Stars are a likely first-round playoff opponent, the Ducks won their second straight over their Pacific Division rivals with a 3-2 shootout victory at Honda Center. Anaheim had won just one of the first six meetings with the Stars before beating them in Dallas 2-1 a week and a half ago.
|Schneider had goals in each of the first two periods to pace the Ducks.
Mathieu Schneider’s two goals and successful shootout attempts by Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz gave the Ducks their 27th home victory, a new team record. Anaheim had won 26 at Honda Center each of the past two seasons.
The record reinforces the importance of Anaheim clinching home ice for the first round, which became even more likely with the win tonight. Anaheim is 27-9-4 at Honda Center (winning 11 of the last 12), but just 18-18-4 on the road. Anaheim, still in the fourth-place slot in the West, moved five points ahead of fifth-place Dallas, which has both Colorado and Calgary right on its heels.
The Ducks moved to within two points of clinching home ice, and any combination of two points gained by Anaheim or lost by Dallas would clinch the No. 4 for Anaheim.
"We’ve certainly had our struggles against them this year," Schneider said about the Stars. "The last couple of games we’ve reversed their fortunes. It’s been a great back and forth series. They are one of the elite teams in the Western Conference. If we do end up playing them, it’s going to be a battle. If we can get home ice, that’s a big bonus for us. We put ourselves in a positive that we might be able to."
Tonight’s contest was the first game back from injury for both Ryan Getzlaf and J.S. Giguere, and both proved their worth. Getzlaf assisted on both Schneider goals, while Giguere stopped 23 of 25 shots and two of the three attempts in the shootout. Giguere had missed four games with back spasms, while Getzlaf was out for three games with what was officially listed as an upper body injury.
"I felt good. I felt strong," Getzlaf said. "Everything went as planned. It was a big win for us, as well as me getting back in there and feeling comfortable again."
Said Schneider of Getzlaf: "You can’t say enough about what he’s done for this club this year, especially as a 22-year-old. "It’s just amazing. He comes back off an injury and gets a good contribution again tonight. He just creates time and space out there and uses his body. He’s going to be an elite player for years and years here."
Dalllas forward Brad Richards connected on the shootout’s first attempt, but Giguere denied wrist shots by Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen, raising his glove to the sky in triumph on the last one. Before that, Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz both tickled the net on their attempts, Kunitz scoring the eventual winner on a pretty move to his backhand that fooled Dallas goalie Marty Turco.
It spoiled a solid night for the veteran Turco, who had 30 saves, including a few of the spectacular variety.
Schneider’s two goals in the first two periods were his 11th and 12th on the season and gave him his 15th career multi-goal game (the last coming in ’06). Schneider put the Ducks on the board halfway through the opening stanza, just 22 seconds after Mattias Norstrom was sent off for interference. Schneider took a cross-ice feed from Getzlaf and sent a one-timer toward the net that actually bounced on its way there. Chris Kunitz helped with a screen in front and initially got credit for the goal, but replays showed he never touched it.
Anaheim’s 1-0 lead could have easily been larger if not for the heroics of Dallas goalie Marty Turco, who made a couple of terrific stops, including a diving stick save on a Brian Sutherby attempt to poke a rebound into a wide open net.
Dallas caught the Ducks 6:45 into the middle session when veteran Mike Modano took a Brenden Morrow pass in the slot and fired it past Giguere top shelf.
But Schneider put Anaheim back on top with 5:06 let in the period, again benefiting from a Getzlaf helper. Getzlaf took the puck behind the net and fed Schneider in the slot, and the defenseman’s shot flew past a flailing Turco, who tried to stack the pads on the shot.
|Giguere had 23 saves, plus two big ones in the shootout, in his first game back from injury.
Dallas again tied it just 1:53 into the third period when Ducks defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron tried to clear the puck from behind the net and it deflected off Star Toby Petersen, bouncing right to Niklas Hagman alone in the slot. Hagman put a wrist shot over Giguere for the tying goal.
The Ducks looked to have the go-ahead goal in their hands 7:30 into the period when Todd Marchant chased a loose puck with no one around in the slot. But Turco jumped out to dive and knock the puck away. He was still way out of the crease when Travis Moen pounced on the puck and took a shot over Turco, but it clanked off the inside of the right post.
Neither team produced anything for the rest of the period and the five minutes of overtime, prompting the second shootout victory in the last three games for the Ducks. Dallas, which had just nine shots in the first two periods, put 13 on Giguere in the third and three more in overtime.
The Ducks don’t play for the next five days before their last two of the regular season, Saturday at Los Angeles and Sunday at home versus Phoenix.
"It’s a hockey game that obviously was tight," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We feel fortunate enough to get the extra point in a shootout. Now it’s down to two. The bottom line is we have two more games next weekend. We’ve got a week to prepare. We’ll start our preparation on Tuesday and see where that takes us."
The Ducks have won six of their last eight games (6-2-0) and 13 of their last 18 (13-4-1). The club has also won 11 of its last 12 home contests and is 18-3-1 in its last 22 games at Honda Center.
Over the last 12 home contests, the Ducks have outscored their opposition 39-19. The club has scored three-or-more goals in nine of the 12 contests and allowed two-or-fewer goals in 10 of the 12 games. Over the last eight home games, the Ducks have outscored their opposition 24-11, allowing exactly one goal in five of the eight contests.
The Ducks have scored one power play goal in each of the last four games (4-for-21, 19.0%).
Anaheim improved its shootout record to 7-7 on the season. Chris Kunitz scored his first game-deciding goal of the season in the shootout.
Mathieu Schneider’s two goals this evening (2-0=2) mark the most he has scored since Oct. 11, 2006 vs. PHX (w/DET) when he scored the second hat trick of his career (3-1=4). Tonight marks the fifth multi-goal game of his career.
J.S. Giguere has won eight consecutive home contests (8-0-0). In those eight contests, he has posted a 1.47 GAA (12 GA/490 MIN) and .961 SV% (293-for 305). Since February 1, Giguere has gone 13-2-2, allowing two-goals-or-fewer in 16 of his 17 starts during that span. He has also posted a 1.39 GAA (24 GA/1035 MIN) and .947 SV% (427-for-451) in that span.
Ryan Getzlaf has earned 2-6=8 points in his last seven contests. He also has a seven-game HOME scoring streak, collecting 2-9=11 points during that span (dates back to Feb. 24 vs. CHI). In addition, Getzlaf has collected points in 17 of his last 18 HOME contests (6-20=26), dating back to Jan. 2 vs. CHI.
Scott Niedermayer has earned 2-3=5 points in the last seven contests, including points in the last two consecutive contests (1-1=2).
Anaheim continues its franchise-record sellout streak at Honda Center, recording their 73rd straight sellout (17,174) this evening. In addition, it marks the 61st consecutive sellout in the regular season, also a franchise record.
DAL Jere Lehtinen's attempt is NO GOOD, as his wrist shot is knocked away by Giguere's glove, which he raises to the air in triumph. Anaheim wins it 3-2 in the shootout, earning a new franchise record for home wins in a season with 27.
ANA Chris Kunitz's attempt is A GOAL, as he makes a move to the backhand that completely fools Turco and sends it home as Turco falls to the ice.
DAL Mike Modano's attempt is NO GOOD, as he tries a quick wrister that Giguere knocks away with the stick.
ANA Teemu Selanne's attempt is A GOAL, as he does the same move as Richards (and the move he did last shootout), wristing it off Turco's pad and in.
DAL Brad Richards' attempt is A GOAL, as he skates hard at Giguere and sends it five hole.
ANA Ryan Getzlaf
's attempt is NO GOOD. Getzlaf tries to make one (maybe two) too many dekes and Turco stops it easily. Getzlaf is 1 for 11 this year.
5:00 - END OF OVERTIME - Nothing doing for either team in OT and we're going to a shootout for the second time in three games. Think Schneider will be one of the shooters?
4:56 - The official calls back the puck drop with just 3.6 seconds left and earns some boos from the crowd.
4:27 - Pahlsson tries a one-timer froom the top of the circle, forcing Turco to make a nice save.
3:50 - Rob Niedermayer feeds a charging Getzlaf in the slot, but Getzy can't get enough of the puck on the redirect try.
3:10 - Giguere moves out to cut off the angle on a Brad Richards shot from the wing.
2:40 - Mike Ribeiro zig-zags his way to the net and gets off a shot that Giguere makes a nice save on in the chest area.
1:37 - Samuel Pahlsson puts a couple of shots on Turco within a matter of seconds on two different plays, but can't get either through.
0:00 - We're underway in OT.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - The Hagman goal early in the period is all the scoring and we're going to OT tied 2-2.
17:13 - Bertuzzi has some room in the slot after a Getzlaf feed, but waits too long on the shot and Boucher dives to the ice to block it.
15:50 - Giguere makes a nice stop as Miettinen puts a rebound shot on him from a tough angle. Jiggy has looked reasonably solid tonight in his first game back after missing four with back spasms.
15:15 - Selanne gets it from behind the net to Bertuzzi in front, but his shot is saved by Turco, as is the rebound try.
12:05 - Schneider looks for the hatty, but Turco saves his slap shot.
9:29 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Third penalty of the period.
Smells Like Teen Spirit was played during an earlier timeout. Is there anybody in the world who knows the lyrics of that song?
7:30 - Marchant chases a loose puck with no one around him in the zone, but Turco does a great job to leap out and poke the puck away, as Marchant goes toppling over him. Moen follows it up with Turco still way out of the slot, and his shot over the goalie agonizingly hits the inside of the post post. Huge missed opportunity for Anaheim. And by the way, how the officials missed that Turco tripped Marchant is beyond me.
7:01 - Pahlsson nearly gets a shorthander as he tips the puck on the rush, but Turco makes the stop.
6:20 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. I just noticed one of our linesmen has a sweet mustache.
Where's the Kiss Cam tonight? There really is no reason not to have that thing every game. I miss it.
4:18 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. interference. Beauchemin gives a shot up high on Morrow as the winger tries to skate into the zone
1:53 - DALLAS GOAL - NIKLAS HAGMAN - Bergeron tries to clear the puck from behind the Anaheim net, but it's deflected by Toby Petersen and bounces right to Hagman, who is by himself in the slot. He flips a shot over Giguere and under the bar. It's 2-2.
1:30 - Eriksson takes a shot from the slot that Giguere makes a nice kick save on, then he just does beat Eriksson to the rebound and freezes it.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
Neither video in the Honda Ridgeline contest really did it for me. The first one, I actually didn't see that well. Some girl with a black eye to the tune of "Bad to the Bone." The second video shows a guy dodging bullets as he runs through what he calls "a battlefield." Not sure what the point of that one was, and apparently either does the crowd, as they boo it. The first video wins it, but sort of by default.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get another one from Schneider to take a 2-1 lead after Dalls ties it with a Modano marker. But Anaheim can't add to it with a power play opportunity in the closing moments of the period. They'll have 16 seconds more when the third starts.
19:51 - Schneider takes a hard shot that gets redirected in front by Bertuzzi, but flies wide.
18:15 - DAL Penalty - Trevor Daly, 2 min. hooking. Ducks get a 5 on 3 for a little bit.
18:13 - Bobby Ryan
has some room in the near slot, but his shot is blocked.
17:02 - DAL Penalty - Stu Barnes, 2 min. hooking. Anaheim with a shot to pad the lead.
The crowd begins a sing-songy slow chant of "Turrrrrrrr-co"
14:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATHIEU SCHNEIDER - Getzlaf gets the puck behind the net and feeds Schneider, who one-times it from the slot past Turco, who tries to flop on his side to make the save but can't do it. It's the second of the game for Schneider and his 12th of the season. More importantly, it's 2-1 Ducks. Second assist of the game for Getzlaf, who is definitely making a mark in his return from injury.
14:30 - Sutherby tries to feed Huskins as the d-man streaks toward the net, but it's just out of his reach.
11:59 - Moen takes a shot from the left wing that Turco saves, but the rebound sits tantalizingly in front of him. Schneider tries to poke at it, but there is too much traffic in front.
10:50 - Morrow puts one on net that Giguere makes a nice save on. Just the eighth shot for Dallas in this game.
9:40 - Giguere has a little trouble handling the puck behind the net and nearly sends it into his own goal. A quick shot from Barnes right afterward slides by the net.
8:03 - Schneider takes a shot from the point that hits off the boards toward Selanne near the left post, and his quick shot is saved and held by Turco. Selanne takes it hard, holding his head in his gloves.
7:39 - DAL Penalty - Stephane Robidas, 2 min. high sticking.
A woman in the crowd is shown on the video board holding up an orange sign that says "Huskins 3:16" on it. Wow.
6:45 - DALLAS GOAL - MIKE MODANO - Brenden Morrow picks up a Modano pass just behind the blue line and heads into the zone before returning it to Modano in the slot. The veteran beats Todd Marchant to the spot and takes a quick shot that flies past Giguere top shelf. We're tied 1-1.
5:53 - Turco loses his balance holding a Bergeron point shot and slowly tips over backward. Timmmmberrrrr!
4:38 - DAL Penalty - Brenden Morrow, 2 min. roughing. Pahlsson sends a pass behind him toward the net and Turco is foced to smother it. As Pahlsson follows the puck toward the net, he's leveled by Norstrom and Moen steps in to rumble. Morrow gets into it with Pahlsson and he's sent off, and as he skates away, he somehow gets his hands on Pahlsson's stick and throws it toward the boards.
3:15 - The Ducks dodge a bullet when the rebound comes off Giguere and comes close to being batted in by Crombeen.
2:40 - Strange bounce off the boards behind the Anaheim net and Giguere is forced to sweep the puck away with his stick.
0:54 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. high sticking. Early opportunity for Dallas.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Just after the horn sounds, the Ducks and Stars get into a mild tussle behind the net. I think it stemmed from Brad May taking Turco's stick to his face as he skated by the goalie. May is mouthing off a bit (of course with a smile) as he skates away. Anyway, the Ducks get one on Turco, though they could possibly have had three if not for some mammoth saves by the veteran goalie. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
Four tennis balls tonight behind the net. Must have brought the kids.
16:33 - The Stars get off two shots, but Anaheim kills the penalty with relative ease.
14:33 - ANA Penalty - Samuel Pahlsson, 2 min. tripping. That must be a mistake Sammy doesn't commit penalties.
14:33 - That shot on goal 27 seconds into the game was the only one Dallas has had.
Scoring change on that Ducks goal. See below.
9:56 - DAL Penalty - Antti Miettinen, 2 min. tripping. Another PP opportunity for the boys in black.
9:49 - Sean O'Donnell and B.J. Crombeen get into it soon after the puck is dropped after the goal and punch and grab for what seems like a half an hour. They'll both sit for five.
9:43 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MATHIEU SCHNEIDER - Getzlaf feeds Schneider with a pass across the ice and Schneider hits a one-timer that looks to bounce on its way to the net, and gets past Turco thanks in part to a Kunitz screen. They originally give the goal to Kunitz, but later determine that he never got a piece of it after watching the replay a few times. Turns out Turco is human, and it's 1-0 Anaheim.
9:21 - DAL Penalty - Mattias Norstrom, 2 min. interference. Nortstrom runs into Moen and he hits the ice.
7:49 - Bobby Ryan
makes a pretty move with the puck to elude the Star, then takes a shot with a Bertuzzi screen that doesn't find the mark.
7:08 - Ott and Selanne jaw at each other before Ott heads to the bench.
7:08 - Getzlaf gets whistled for being offside when the puck just barely crosses the blue line and he brings it into the zone. He's not happy about it.
6:21 - Turco does it again, making a huge kick save on a Chris Kunitz one-timer, then stopping the rebound with his glove while still spread out. Unbelievable so far.
5:46 - DAL Penalty - Stu Barners, 2 min. hooking.
1:30 - A Bergeron shot from the point produces a juicy rebound in front for Sutherby with a wide open left half of the net and somehow Turco dives for it and makes the stop with his stick. One of the best saves I've seen all year.
0:27 - Steve Ott rifles a slapper just as he crosses the blue line and Giguere makes his first save in four games.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:10 p.m. - Teemu Selanne is joined by his family (even the baby) as he's honored at center ice just before the puck drop for his 600 career assists. He's given a nice crystal and a ton of gifts that was carried out there in a wagon. A huge ovation for Selanne at the end of it. Very nice.
5:08 p.m. - Jill Burke gives another dramatic rendition of the anthem, and the Stars fans (as is tradition) yell "Stars!" during the two parts where that lyric appears in the song.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters - ANA Mathieu Schneider, Chris Kunitz, Todd Marchant
, Kent Huskins, Bobby Ryan
; DAL Mattias Norstrom, Matt Niskanen, Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Steve Ott
Scratches - ANA Corey Perry
, Chris Pronger, Joe DiPenta, Doug Weight; DAL Krystopher Barch, Brad Winchester, Mark Fistric, Joel Lundvist
Both Giguere and Getzlaf back in the lineup for Anaheim. Weight is a healthy scratch for the first time this year.