|EDM||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|ANA||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||2|
ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks aren’t the kind of team to take comfort in moral victories. So there’s little solace to be found in the team playing its best hockey of the year in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Edmonton at Honda Center.
Instead, it’s little more than the fourth straight loss to start the year for the Ducks, who remain on the lookout for their first win of 2008-09.
"Tonight was tremendously better than the other nights," said Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf. "We were moving the puck well. We were getting chances. Right now, the puck is not bouncing in for us. We had many scrambles around the net, but we just couldn’t get in there. We had opportunities. We just couldn’t bury them."
|Jonas Hiller kept the Ducks in the game, but it wasn't enough to earn their first victory.
Less than 24 hours after the Ducks could get little past Kings goalie Jason LaBarbera in a 6-3 loss, a former Kings netminder befuddled them. Mathieu Garon, who spent two seasons in Los Angeles before coming to the Oilers prior to last year, saved 33 of 35 Anaheim shots, including several down the stretch to cling to the victory.
Meanwhile, yet another former King did the Ducks in with the eventual game-winning goal early in the third period. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky converted on the man advantage 2:41 into the third to give Edmonton the lead for good on the seventh power play goal the Ducks have given up this year. Visnovsky’s slap shot from inside the blueline deflected off a Ducks defenseman and flew past Hiller, who was shielded by Oiler Shawn Horcoff and teammate Scott Niedermayer ( Video).
Visnovsky spent his first seven NHL seasons in L.A. before coming to the Oilers in a June trade for Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene. Stoll, by the way, had a big goal against the Ducks in last night’s defeat at Staples Center.
Unlike in that game, and the two before that, the Ducks were in this one throughout, and had several chances to tie it that were turned away. That included the final 90 seconds, when they pulled goalie Jonas Hiller and put several shots on net that Garon denied.
While he was in net, Hiller was outstanding in his first start of the season. His modest 25 saves didn’t quite tell the story, as he repeatedly made big stops down the stretch to ensure Edmonton didn’t put the game out of reach.
|Rob Niedermayer netted his second of the season to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead they would eventually relinquish.
A feeling of “here we go again” might have been rippling through Honda Center when the Oilers took the early 1-0 lead on a Horcoff goal at 4:20 into the first. Denis Grebeshkov innocently threw the puck at the net from inside the blueline and Horcoff deflected it past Hiller.
But the Ducks wiped out the lead two minutes later on a redemption goal by defenseman Kent Huskins, who was a healthy scratch last night in L.A. after struggling in the first two games. Huskins took a headman pass from Brad May and drilled a slap shot from the top of the left circle that nearly ripped a hole through the twine. It was exactly one year to the day after Huskins’ first NHL goal.
The score remained 1-1 into the second, until Rob Niedermayer potted one 4:10 into the middle session ( Video). Niedermayer picked up the puck that bounced off brother Scott’s skate in the slot, spun and fired a wrist shot that sailed over Garon’s shoulder. It was the second of the year for Niedermayer, who sat out last night’s game with a bruised foot.
But Edmonton tied it up on a Sheldon Souray goal with 1:37 left in the period. Souray batted a pass from Robert Nilsson off the right post, where it bounced off the back of Hiller’s skate and went through.
The Ducks, who have been plagued in second periods in their first three games of the year, managed to keep Edmonton off the board otherwise, despite two power plays set up by Chris Pronger penalties.
But they were set back by Visnovsky's goal in the third and couldn't find the equalizer.
"It’s something to build off of, no question," said Ducks center Brendan Morrison. "I thought we showed a little more desperation tonight. I thought we initiated a little more. Ultimately, it’s the result that we’re after. The process was better."
Their next shot at that elusive first win comes two nights from now, when San Jose visits Honda Center. The Sharks beat Anaheim 4-1 in the season opener for both teams last week.
The positive we can take out of tonight is we have a starting point now," Getzlaf said. "Our work ethic was there and our chances were there. As we push forward here, those chances are going to go in and we can get this thing turned around pretty quick."
- The announced crowd of 16,604 marked the first time in the last 78 home games the Ducks did not sellout.
- Ken Klee and Brian Sutherby (who had his first goal as a Duck last night) were scratches for Anaheim.
|Shawn Horcoff (2) ASST: Denis Grebeshkov (3)|
1 - 0 EDM
|Kent Huskins (1) ASST: Brad May (2), Todd Marchant (1)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Rob Niedermayer (2) ASST: Scott Niedermayer (1), Travis Moen (2)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Sheldon Souray (1) ASST: Robert Nilsson (1), Andrew Cogliano (1)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Lubomir Visnovsky (1) ASST: Erik Cole (1), Ales Hemsky (2)|
3 - 2 EDM
|Sam Gagner Interference against Brendan Morrison|
|Robert Nilsson Hooking against Chris Pronger|
|Ryan Getzlaf Hooking against Sheldon Souray|
|Chris Pronger Cross checking against Erik Cole|
|Chris Pronger Hooking against Ethan Moreau|
|Corey Perry Interference - Goalkeeper against Mathieu Garon|
|SA: 35||TOI: 59:58|
|Saves: 33||EV: 30 - 32|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .943||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 28||TOI: 58:34|
|Saves: 25||EV: 21 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 4 - 5|
|SV%: .893||SH: 0 - 0|
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