By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – In their second straight relatively inconsequential game, the Ducks again played just hard enough to escape with a victory. This time is was a 3-2 shootout decision over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes in the final tuneup before the Ducks play Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Dallas back here on Thursday.
|Ryan had the tying goal in the third period that opened the door for the shootout victory.
The game meant little to a Ducks team that had already clinched home ice and a fourth seed in the playoffs thanks to these same Coyotes defeating Dallas 4-2 on Thursday night.
Tonight's victory was vindication for a Ducks team that had dropped three shootouts to playoff non-qualifier Phoenix this year, plus another one in overtime. This time around, Ryan Getzlaf broke a 1 for 11 shootout slump this season by netting the game-winner, and Jonas Hiller iced it with a save on Daniel Carcillo’s attempt, after Carcillo had already scored two goals in regulation.
"They are tough games to play," said Ducks forward Chris Kunitz, referring to tonight's contest and yesterday's win over the Kings in L.A. "The only thing beneficial for us was to get those extra two points. It took us a little while to get kick-started. It wasn’t a very entertaining game. There wasn’t a lot of hitting and it wasn’t really physical. That’s not our style of play. We started getting physical and we had to put some pressure on them. "
It was the 28th home victory for Anaheim this year, adding to the franchise record the Ducks set with their last victory at Honda Center (though one of those “home” wins was over the Kings in London). This one came on Fan Appreciation Night, the 40th sellout at Honda Center this year and the 74th in a row dating back to last season.
After looking sluggish for most of the contest, the Ducks only got their chances in the shootout thanks to a pair of third-period goals scored within 43 seconds of each other. Kunitz started it with a rocketed one-timed slap shot from the slot, off a feed from Teemu Selanne, that sailed over goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s shoulder.
Then Bobby Ryan got his fifth of the year with a wrist shot from the right circle that deflected off the back of Coyotes defenseman Keith Ballard (who was trying to get out of the way), then bounced off Bryzgalov and inside the near post.
Those erased a two-goal advantage paced by Carcillo, whose two goals gave him five in the last two games after a hat trick Thursday night against Dallas.
Carcillo’s second goal came four minutes into the third, when Jonas Hiller did a lackluster job clearing a rebound and Radim Vrbata made a nice feed across the crease to Carcillo for the one-timer.
Carcillo also got the only goal of a humdrum first 40 minutes, a power play strike with 4:49 left in the middle session after Pronger went to the box for interference. Carcillo took advantage of a fat rebound given up by Ducks starter Jonas Hiller, and punched the loose puck underneath the Swiss rookie.
|Pronger played his first game after serving an eight-game suspension.
Kunitz led off the shootout with a goal that came off a faked shot and a backhand flip past former teammate Bryzgalov. Then Teemu Selanne followed up with his third straight shootout marker with a hard-charging shot that slipped underneath Bryzgalov. Rookie Kyle Turris and teammate Radim Vrbata got the Coyotes back into it with conversions of their own, but Getzlaf came back with a feigned move to his backhand before coming back to the forehand and sending it through. Hiller then kicked away a Carcillo quick wrister to cap the victory.
The Ducks put 43 shots on Bryzgalov in regulation and overtime (as he saved 41), with Phoenix countering with 34 of their own (Hiller saving 32).
Ducks captain Chris Pronger was in the lineup for the first time since serving his eight-game suspension for stepping on the leg of Vancouver’s Ryan Kessler on March 12. Pronger, who previously had been wearing a clear face mask to protect a broken jaw suffered Feb. 24 against Chicago, played without it for the first time since returning from that injury.
"It was nice to get back on the ice and back into a game," Pronger said. "Obviously, the real test will be Thursday when we start against Dallas. It was nice to get into live action though and get a feel for the tempo of the game."
Center Ryan Carter played for the first time since breaking his wrist Feb. 20 against Colorado at Honda Center. Carter, wearing No. 20 instead of the 52 he previously wore this year, played on the second line with Chris Kunitz and Bobby Ryan.
Carlyle was able to put the regular season in perspective, saying, "We finished a season off with 102 points in a real tough division. Our hockey club has battled through a lot of adversity from the beginning of the season right until the end of the season. They are the ones that should be credited. We as coaches just try to put them in situations where they can have success. We’re the fourth seed. We have home-ice advantage. Would we have liked to have finished higher? Of course we would have, but in this situation right now we can’t change what has transpired. Now, our focus is our preparation for Dallas."
It was announced during the game the Ducks will play Game 1 against Dallas on Thursday at 7 p.m., with Game 2 also being held at Honda Center on Saturday. Click here for the rest of the schedule.
The Ducks finish the season with a 47-27-8 record (102 pts.), reaching the 10-point mark for the second consecutive season and second time in franchise history. Anaheim (110 in 2006-07 and 102 in 2007-08) is one of only four NHL clubs that have reached the 100-point marker in each of the last two seasons (also Detroit, 113 in 2006-07 and 115 in 2007-08; San Jose, 107 and 108; Pittsburgh, 105 and 102).
Anaheim finishes the season with a home record of 28-9-4, establishing a new franchise-best for home wins in a season. The Ducks’ 60 points at home this season ranks second in the NHL (Detroit, 61 pts.).
The Ducks have established a new single-season record for fewest goals allowed. The club allowed just 184 goals this season (not counting shootout goals), besting the previous club record for fewest goals allowed by nine. The Ducks allowed the second-fewest goals in the NHL during the 2007-08 regular season, finishing just behind Detroit with 179.
The Ducks have won eight of their last 10 games (8-2-0) and 17 of their last 20 (15-4-1). The club has also won 12 of its last 13 home contests and is 19-3-1 in its last 23 games at Honda Center.
Anaheim continues its franchise-record sellout streak at Honda Center, recording their 74th straight sellout (17,269, including standing room only) this evening. In addition, it marks the 62nd consecutive sellout in the regular season, also a franchise record. It marks the first complete season sellout for the Ducks at Honda Center(40 home games*). It is just the second time a Southern California hockey team has sold out a full regular season. The 1991-92 LA Kings were the only other such team to do so at the 16,005-seat Forum.
*One “home” game played in London, therefore not counted in the 40-game season sellout.
The Ducks registered a season-high 43 shots on net tonight.
Anaheim improved its shootout record to 8-7 on the season. Ryan Getzlaf scored his second game-deciding goal of the season in the shootout.
Anaheim will take on the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals with Game 1 scheduled for Thursday, Apr. 10 at Honda Center (7:00 p.m.).
J.S. Giguere established career bests and set club records in both GAA (2.12) and SV% (.9224). He held the previous record for GAA (2.13, 2001-02), while Guy Hebert held the top SV% mark until this season (.9219, 1998-99).
In his last seven starts, Jonas Hiller has posted a 4-3-0 record with a 1.55 GAA (11 GA/426) and .952 SV% (217-of-228 shots). He has allowed two-goals or less in six of the seven games, allowing exactly one goal in four of the contests. Hiller won his second consecutive (and the second of his career) shootout victory.
Ryan Getzlaf has earned 1-6=7 points in the last five games and 3-8=11 points in his last eight contests. He also has an eight-game HOME scoring streak, collecting 2-10=12 points during that span (dates back to Feb. 24 vs. CHI). In addition, Getzlaf has collected points in 18 of his last 19 HOME contests (6-21=27), dating back to Jan. 2 vs. CHI.
Teemu Selanne finishes the season on a three-game point streak (2-2=4). In addition, he has collected 5-6=11 points in his last 10 contests.
Bobby Ryan has collected 2-3=5 points in the last five games, including a two-game point streak (1-2=3).
PHX Daniel Carcillo's attempt is NO GOOD. He tries a quick wrister that Hiller kicks away. Ducks win it, 3-2!
ANA Ryan Getzlaf's attempt is A GOAL! Getzlaf fkaes like he's going to the backhand, but comes back to the forehand and flips it in.
PHX Radim Vrbata's attempt is A GOAL. He dekes to his forehand and shoots it over a falling-down Hiller.
ANA Bobby Ryan
's attempt is NO GOOD. He tries a deke to his backhand and Bryzgalov easily kicks it away.
PHX Kyle Turris' attempt is A GOAL. The rookie flips a hard wrist shot just under the crossbar.
ANA Teemu Selanne's attempt is A GOAL! Selanne skates in hard and sends it through Bryzgalov five hole.
PHX Peter Mueller's attempt is NO GOOD. He tries a wrist shot that Hiller kicks away.
ANA Chris Kunitz's attempt is A GOAL! Kunitz fakes a shot, then moves to his forehand and whips it past Bryzgalov.
5:00 - Phoenix gets one through Hiller, but it's just after the horn. We're going to a shootout, the fourth shootout between the Ducks and Coyotes this year. Phoenix has won the previous three. It's the last shootout of the year!
4:29 - Scott Niedermayer takes a shot that Bryzgalov juggles, and little brother picks up the rebound, turns and takes a shot that's also stopped.
3:17 - It looks like old-time hockey as Mueller gets it on the breakaway seconds after Kunitz's, but his shot is beautifully saved and held by HIller.
2:56 - Schneider gives Kunitz a nice feed to set up a breakaway, but his shot after a move to the backhand is saved by Bryzgalov.
0:00 - We're underway.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - The Ducks tie it with two in the third period from Kunitz and Ryan within 43 seconds of each other and we're going to OT. Good lord why?
19:58 - With two seconds left, Vrbats slaps one from the wing that Hiller blockers away.
Chris Pronger went down hard to the ice and appeared to be in a little pain as he headed off.
18:56 - Hiller easily gloves a shot from Turris and the crowd gives him some love.
17:32 - Carter and Selanne play a little give-and-go, but Carter's redirect try from the slot is just saved.
This crowd is really into it all of a sudden.
16:10 - Schneider takes a shot through a Pahlsson screen that is barely stopped, as is the follow by Rob Niedermayer.
15:00 - Ryan tries an identical shot from almost the identical spot, but Bryz saves this one.
13:42 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Getzlaf sends the puck through a crowded slot to Ryan on the right wing, and Ryan gathers and wrists it toward the net. Coyotes d-man Keith Ballard tries to duck out of the way, and the puck deflects off his back, then off Bryzgalov and just inside the right post. Fifth goal of the year for Ryan and we're tied 2-2. This one suddenly got interesting. By the way, Ballard flailed out of the way of Kunitz's shot just seconds before. Somebody's trying not to hurt himself and mess up his Monday morning tee time.
12:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CHRIS KUNITZ - Scott Niedermayer drops the puck down to Selanne near the corner, and Selanne sends it toward to the slot to Kunitz, who absolutely rockets a one-timer that sizzles over Bryzgalov's right shoulder. Ducks cut the lead in half, 2-1.
9:02 - Hiller flails a bit making a save on a Vrbata shot from the point. Hiller looks about as comfortable in net as an Amish person at a 50 Cent concert.
Reader Keriann thinks Carcillo's mustache looks "like ihe painted it on with mascara." Well played.
4:00 - PHOENIX GOAL - DANIEL CARCILLO - Hiller does a lackluster job clearing a rebound in front of him, forcing him to make a save on a follow attempt by Radim Vrbata. Vrbata's shot hits Hiller and comes right back, so Vrbata feeds it across the paint to a waiting Carcillo, who redirects it netbound. Blame Hiller for that one. Carcillo has two and now five in the last two games. Not bad for a guy who four days ago had just eight goals the whole year. By the way, these goals have given us a chance to see Carcillo's mustache, which looks like it was grown about a week ago. It's the creepiest-looking thing you've ever seen. It's 2-0 Phoenix.
2:18 - Ed Jovanosvki knocks himself down and loses the puck, sending the Ducks on a 2-on-1 rush. But Bobby Ryan
's pass to Getzlaf is deflected away.
I'll be careful not to upset John Ahlers tonight. In that pinstriped suit he looks like he might have me whacked.
0:00 - Here we go in the last third period of the regular season. I can only hope it's half as exciting as the first two.
Okay, it's the moment we've been waiting for! The finalists in the Honda Ridgeline contest hit the ice, all in white t-shirts with huge Honda logos on them. There are about 25 or 30 of them, people who submitted videos and also won random drawings. Ducks TV host Kent French reads off the names of five finalists picked at random from among this group. Each of them picks a key from a box and will try it in the door of the Ridgeline to see who takes it. (Please, let one of them work...Please let one of them work.)
Contestant No. 1 tries it in the door and ... doesn't work. No. 2 takes his turn and ... NO. No. 3 steps up, tries the key and ... uh oh. No. 4 steps up there, tries his key and .. IT WORKS! THERE IS YOUR WINNER! And he seems very happy, a guy with a sweet playoff beard going who apparently is named Peter. Congratulations, Peter. Great to see.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Carcillo gets one on the power play to give the Coyotes ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ .... I'm sorry, how long was I out? Anyway, it's 1-0 Phoenix as we go to the second intermission.
19:54 - Kunitz gets the puck on a rush with just six seconds left, and flicks a shot from the right wing that flies wide.
15:11 - PHOENIX GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DANIEL CARCILLO - Recent call-up Kyle Turris takes a hard shot from above the left circle that hits Hiller, and he gives up a rebound that comes right to Carcillo, who punches it under Hiller for the goal. It's the fourth in the last two games for Carcillo, who had a hat trick two nights ago in beating Dallas. We appreciate that win over Dallas to give the Ducks home ice, so we're okay with giving Carcillo one tonight. it's 1-0 Phoenix.
14:01 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. interference. Pronger impedes the path of Mathias Tjarnqvist and appears amused as he gets to the box and discusses it with the officials. By the way, Pronger is not
wearing the face mask that he had before the suspension.
14:01 - This game is boring.
You know who I saw downstairs near the locker rooms during the last intermission for the first time in person? That lone mystery girl who sticks out like a sore thumb in the group photo taken after the Stanley Cup victory. I think she's a trainer's assistant or something. Again, something else I should probably already know.
7:06 - Hiller lets go of a juicy rebound and is just barely able to save a shot from a charging Shane Doan, then smothers the loose puck. I can't decide which goalie looks shakier right now.
5:05 - Kunitz nabs the puck at the blue line and tries to feed Carter flashing in front of the crease, but it's knocked away.
1:00 - Kunitz feeds Carter on the right wing on the rush, and Carter looks open for the shot, but tries to center it back to Kunitz and it flies away.
0:00 - And we're off in the second.
Okay, here is how the Jiggy's Loft contest works. The guy who was chosen (I think his name is Abe) is brought out to center ice at the intermission to take a shot from the red line toward an opening in one goal that is really a little more than the width of the puck. The crowd boos when they realize what this guy has to do to actually win the loft. He takes a soft shot and it sails way right of the net. But he does win a Caribbean cruise, an autographed jersey, a Sharp Aquos TV and some other stuff. Just no loft. The fact that the word "Ducks" appears on my paycheck precludes me from making any further comments.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks manage to put 18 shots on Bryzgalov, but can't yet put one through. It's scoreless.
19:31 - Ed Jovanovski appears to trip Kunitz to the ice with his stick behind the net, and there is no call. The crowd doesn't appear to please about that. There is a chant that I can't quite make out. It's something like, "Chef, you chuck."
There is one lone tiny little tennis ball (apparently a young girl) on the complete other side of the rink from the original tennis balls. I wonder if she's related to them.
17:23 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. slashing. No, no. That's got to be a mistake.
16:37 - Bertuzzi and Getzlaf hack away at Bryzgalov and a loose puck, but he denies them.
I just made a phone call, turns out that guy was the winner of the loft, not just a finalist. Congrats, guy.
14:20 - Robby Niedermayer gets in sniper mode and throws a couple of shots on Bryz to no avail.
14:05 - Hiller makes a nice save on a Peter Mueller one-timer on the rush, then also stops the rebound try as it deflects over the glass. The guy who catches the puck as it falls to him in his seat looks like he's trying to knock on the glass with it to get Hiller's attention. Maybe he wants it autographed. Hiller doesn't look at him.
During the timeout, J.S. Giguere appears on the video board for the Win Jiggy's Loft competition. He's standing in front of a table with about 50 pucks on it. He says he hopes everyone enjoyed visiting his loft and, "I hope everybody took their shoes off." That actually made me laugh. He says that it's time to pick the first finalist for the loft and they immediately show the fan on the video board when his name is called. He looks completely oblivious, even when his buddy elbows him. We're trying to figure out if he actually won it or if he's just a finalist. Shouldn't I know these things?
11:45 - Pronger rips a point shot through a Bertuzzi screen that bounces off Bryzgalov. Good to see those shots again.
10:35 - Brad May and Nick Boynton spend about an hour and a half trying (or not trying) to free the puck from the corner against the wall.
8:46 - Bobby Ryan
steals the puck in the Phoenix zone and puts a quick shot on net that Bryz stops.
It's a little strange to see Ryan Carter wearing No. 20, but it's just good to have him back.
4:04 - O'Donnell puts a relatively harmless shot on net from the point and Bryzgalov has to bend 43 different ways just to save it. He looks like a bit of a mess so far. We'll see how that develops.
2:22 - Moen tries in vain to poke a seemingly loose puck through Bryzgalov, but he won't let it through.
You can just barely see the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo in front of both blue lines, which is covered by some yellowish ice in preparation for Game 1.
2:05 - Martin Hanzal whips a shot from the left wing and Hiller catches it around the Ducks logo.
1:20 - Bertuzzi tries to feed a charging Scott Niedermayer in the slot, but the redirect try by Niedermayer is knocked away by Bryzgalov. By the way, Bryzgalov was actually turned and facing the anthem singer before the game. Very strange to see. It's always something with him.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center on the last tuneup before the playoffs.
5:09 p.m. - Very nice rendition by Idol Anthem winner Christina Reyes. Since I was part of the panel that picked her, I was pretty nervous.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; PHX Ilya Bryzgalov
Starting Skaters - ANA Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger, Samuel Pahlsson, Trasvis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; PHX - Keith Ballard, Martin Hanzal, Shane Doan, Daniel Winnik, Derek Morris
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, Corey Perry
, Todd Marchant
, Joe DiPenta, Doug Weight; PHX - Mike York, Peter Vandermeer, Marcel Hossa
Chris Pronger is back in the lineup after an eight-game suspension. Doug Weight is a healthy scratch for the second time in the last three games.