By Adam Brady (email@example.com)
ANAHEIM – The quirks of the NHL schedule has allowed the Washington Capitals to visit Honda Center just twice in the past four seasons. But at this rate, that’s two times too many for the Anaheim Ducks.
|Ryan (No. 54 in the middle) had two goals in the game, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Ducks.
The Ducks turned the puck over 42 times, took 10 minor penalties and were burned repeatedly on the defensive end in falling 6-4 to the visiting Caps. It was the first game between the teams in Orange County since January of 2006, when Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick in a 3-2 overtime victory.
This time, the reigning league MVP had just one of the Capitals' six goals but added three assists, as Washington handed the Ducks their third loss in the last four games. Two goals by phenom Bobby Ryan – in just the second game of his recent call-up from Iowa – were good enough to tie a club rookie record, but weren’t enough to help the Ducks. (Ryan also added an assist on the second Ducks goal for a personal-high three points.)
"I think the confidence that I took from Iowa coming up has really just translated.," Ryan Said. "Playing with [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Corey] Perry gives me a little more. I know I’m free to do a couple different things here and there and I’m not going to get punished every time I try something.Individually it’s nice to put up points and it’s nice to get your feet under you. All that doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re losing a game you should have won."
Ryan got his second goal of the contest midway through the third period, just 27 seconds after Washington’s David Steckel virtually put the game away with a goal to give the Caps a 6-2 cushion. Ryan forced the puck through goalie Jose Theodore by stabbing at it twice as Theodore tried to sit down on it.
A minute and a half later, Teemu Selanne pulled the Ducks within two when he one-timed it home off a Ryan Getzlaf feed through the crease with the Ducks on the power play. But that was as close as Anaheim would get, as the Caps kept them off the scoresheet over the final eight minutes.
This one was in drastic contrast to the last Ducks’ home tilt, a defensive-minded 2-0 win over the Kings at Honda Center. The Caps scored early and often over the first two periods, pouring five pucks in the net while the Ducks only struck back with two of their own.
"We have to be ready to play for the full 60 minutes," Corey Perry said. "Coming out and giving up three goals right away, it doesn’t help our cause. The rest of the game we have to battle back. It’s an uphill climb when you get down 3-0 in the first five minutes."
The onslaught started just 2:19 into the game, as Washington converted on the power play with Bret Hedican in the box for hooking. Tomas Fleischmann tipped a Mike Green slap shot past Ducks starter Jonas Hiller.
Just 95 seconds later, with Washington again on the power play (Getzlaf interference), Green ripped another shot from the point that deflected off Anaheim forward Todd Marchant into the net.
Washington made it 3-0 at 7:13 into the period when Nicklas Backstrom gathered a Viktor Kozlov pass from the corner, made one move and backhanded it around Hiller.
That was the cue for Ducks coach Randy Carlyle to pull Hiller (who had 29 saves in a shutout three nights ago) for Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and the Ducks responded almost immediately. Just 24 seconds after the change, Corey Perry stole the puck in the Caps’ zone and put a shot on net that Theodore stopped but couldn’t gather the rebound. Ryan glided by and punched it in for his first of the season.
Ryan helped the Ducks make it a one-goal game with 3:06 left in the period, slipping a nice backhand pass to Getzlaf between the circles, and he slung a wrister past Theodore.
|Getzlaf connected with Selanne to pull Anaheim within two goals in the third, but the Ducks would get no closer.
But that was as close as the Ducks would get, as a rash of turnovers continued to haunt them, and the Caps scored twice to take a 5-2 lead through two periods. Their third power play goal came with Rob Niedermayer in the bin for slashing, as Ovechkin was left all alone before he took a Chris Clark pass and fired a wrister through.
Then with 2:12 left in the session, Matt Bradley had the puck bounce right to him after a shot ricocheted off the ankle of David Steckel, and Bradley quickly put it on net to catch Giguere out of position.
Those goals came on the heels of two Ducks opportunities early in the period that went awry. A Chris Pronger rocket on the power play in the first minute of the period rang off the post. Two minutes later, Corey Perry got a great feed from Ryan, but missed the net with the redirect try.
That was a reflection of the Ducks’ night, as they tried to get into a shootout with the current Southeast Division leaders and came up well short.
"They are a skilled team, but we knew that," said Perry. "We knew we couldn’t come in and take penalties. Their power play is too good. They shoot the puck and get to the net. If we play five-on-five, you never know what can happen."
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle voiced his frustration about the large amount of penalties, a problem for much of the season for Anaheim. "We’ve only talked about it about 250 million times," Carlyle said. "Obviously, it has to resort to some drastic measures. I think we’re in a situation where we’re going to continue to make changes and consider lineup changes if that is going to continue."
Washington played without standout scorer Alexander Semin, who missed his second consecutive game to an upper-body injury. Former Duck Sergei Fedorov missed his sixth straight with a sprained ankle,
The Ducks, who lost just nine games in regulation at home last year, have already dropped six (5-6-2) and fall to 10-8-2 overall. With the homestand now in their rear-view mirror, they’ll try to right the ship on the road, starting tomorrow night in St. Louis.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks can't manage to outscore the Caps, falling 6-4.
19:00 - Giguere heads to the bench for an extra attacker.
18:49 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. roughing and WSH Penalty - David Steckel, 2 min. slashing.
18:01 - Morrison gets behind the defense, but his shot flies way over the crossbar.
17:45 - Ryan flirts with the hat trick, as he tries to one-time a Selanne pass and it's tipped away at the last second.
17:16 - The Ducks are running out of clock on this one.
The video board reveals that Bobby Ryan has tied a rookie club record with two goals and established a personal high with three points. The crowd likes that.
14:31 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice and Bobby Ryan
, 2 min. roughing and WSH Penalty - John Erskine, 2 min. roughing. Just when the Ducks look like they might be applying the pressure, we realize there's a reason for it. They're whistled for having six guys on the ice, all in the attacking zone, no less. Several seconds after the whistle, Bobby Ryan
gets into it with Ovechkin, of all people, as several Ducks rush hard to Bobby's defense. Ovechkin, it turns out, was holding Bobby back and allowing Erskine to to take shots at him. He looks pretty riled up as he's still jawing with Ovechkin as he heads to the box. The crowd responds with a chant of "Bobby! Bobby!"
12:00 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - And they do it. Mere seconds after I comment to a co-worker, "Selanne is just not getting it done tonight," Ryan Getzlaf gives him a tailor-made feed from behind the net, sending it through the crease where Selanne one-times it into the wide open net. It's 6-4 and there's still hope. Faint hope, but hope.
11:23 - WSH Penalty - Alex Ovechkin, 2 min. interference. If the Ducks have any hope of getting in this game, they have to get one here.
10:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - The kid gets his second of the game, as Theodore tries to sit down on the puck after saving a Todd Marchant shot. Ryan jabs at it a couple of times before it leaks behind Theodore and over the stripe. Bobby celebrates a little too wildly for a guy whose team is still trailing 6-3, but hey, he's earned it.
10:06 - WASHINGTON GOAL - DAVID STECKEL - It gets even uglier for the Ducks, as a relatively tame Milan Jurcina shot from above the circle bounces hard off Giguere and right to Steckel, who desposits in the wide open left side of the net.
I can almost hear private conversations in the front row from up in the press box, it's so quiet in here right now.
4:22 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking.
3:46 - Ryan has done just that, as he throws a shot on net and 10 seconds later gives Selanne a nice feed, though the shot is blocked.
1:20 - Ryan with Selanne and Morrison. Let's see if he can breathe life into this grouping.
0:10 - The Ducks start with Kunitz on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry instead of Ryan.
0:00 - It's desperation time for the Ducks as we start the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - And it's a bad one for the Ducks, who give up a goal to Ovechkin and Bradley to put themselves in a hole, 5-2.
19:30 - We've got an unofficial count of 25 Ducks turnovers to just eight for the Caps.
19:00 - Ovechkin is back out there. Whether he'll ever have children, we can't say.
17:48 - WASHINGTON GOAL - MATT BRADLEY - A Boyd Gordon shot from the right wing circle kicks off the ankle of David Steckel and heads straight for Bradley in the slot. He quickly puts it on net and catches Giguere out of position for the 5-2 lead.
14:34 - Ovechkin takes a shot from the wing that Giguere brings the pads together to stop and Ovechkin is somehow hurt. He's on his knees for a couple minutes as we go to the timeout and the trainer is out there tending to him. He eventually gets up and looks to be in a lot of pain as he slowly skates to the bench. He stays on the bench instead of heading to the room, but appears to be in a lot of pain as he takes deep breaths. Replays show that Montador might have gotten him with the stick in the ... well, let's just say it's a pain no woman could know.
I just texted "Ducks" to 81812.
12:09 - WSH Penalty - John Erskine, 2 min. hooking. Stop the presses. A team that isn't the Ducks took a penalty.
11:24 - Stop the presses. The Ducks killed a penalty.
9:24 - ANA Penalty - Brett Festerling
, 2 min. slashing. First penalty of Brett Festerling
's NHL career.
7:40 - The Ducks are taking the word "power" out of this play.
Kent French sporting the brown suit tonight on FSN Prime. Gutsy.
6:06 - WSH Penalty - David Steckel, 2 min. hooking.
6:00 - Ducks are being outshot 20-7. That's not a good thing.
2:56 - Bobby Ryan
gives another great feed, this time to Perry, but Perry somehow misses the net with the one-timer on what looked like a sure goal.
2:46 - George Parros
and Donald Brashear go at it right off the center ice faceoff, as Parros eventually lands several rights in a row before Brashear fights back valiently and they both spill to the ice. Parros is icing the right hand in the box.
2:43 - WASHINGTON GOAL (POWER PLAY) - ALEX OVECHKIN - There isn't a Duck within 20 feet of Ovechkin as he takes a pass near the left wing circle from Chris Clark and fires a wrister past Giguere. Ovechkin does his patended jump into the glass after the goal. He's scored in five straight games and he has four in two career games here. It's 4-2 Washington.
1:26 - ANA Penalty - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. slashing.
0:48 - Pronger rockets a slap shot that might have gotten tipped on the way. Either way, it clinks off the post.
Reader Jason emails: Bobby Ryan is single-handedly telling the salary cap to kiss his butt!
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In the time it took to play this one, my clothes went out of style and back in again. And then back out. Seven combined penalties and five combined goals leave it 3-2 Caps as we go into the first break.
19:50 - Bobby Ryan
is everywhere right now. I think he had about 16 shots on this power play.
19:00 - Morrison, Ryan and Kunitz on the first power play wave. Odd.
18:53 - WSH Penalty - John Erskine, 2 min. tripping. Erskine so obviously sticks out his stick to topple Getzlaf, it almost looked intentional. Meanwhile, this period has lasted an hour and a half.
16:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Bobby Ryan gets control of the puck as he crosses into the Washington zone, then slips a backhand pass to Getzlaf in the slot. Getzlaf fires a wrister that darts into the top left corner of the net. It's a hockey game again, as the Ducks trail 3-2.
15:14 - Theodore sees the puck all the way as Perry screens a Kunitz shot from the wing. Wonder if Perry is having any flashbacks. Remember is was Theodore who sliced Perry's thigh with his skate last year when Theodore was with Colorado. Theodore is also the same guy who gave up four goals in a playoff game to Joffrey Lupul
13:27 - WSH Penalty - Alex Ovechkin, 2 min. charging. Mike Green speeds around Huskins and Pronger absolutely drills Green into the wall. Away from the play, Ovechkin gets the penalty for running into Huskins. The crowd boos thinking the penalty is going against Pronger, but they soon realize it's not.
11:59 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. cross checking. This period will not go down as one of the best in Ducks history.
11:27 - WSH Penalty - Michael Nylander, 2 min. hooking. Let's see if Washington is just as bad at killing penalties as the Ducks have been. In a few seconds, that is. Perry's penalty needs to run out.
10:06 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. roughing. Moen gives Ovechkin a good shot in the corner, and just as Boyd Gordon is about to jump to his defense, Perry sees him coming and intercepts him with a two-handed shove to the face.
8:28 - Giguere makes a nice stop on a Backstrom one-timer from the slot. The Ducks can feel free to play some defense anytime now.
7:50 - Huskins gift-wraps the puck to Nylander in the Ducks zone, and his shot is barely kicked away by Giguere.
7:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Corey Perry works hard to steal the puck in the Washington zone and after battling for it a bit, throws the puck on net. Theodore makes the initial save, but leaves a rebound that Ryan swoops by and punches in. First of the year for the rookie in his second game of the year. The Ducks cut into the lead and it's 3-1.
7:13 - Hiller is pulled for Giguere, first time this year.
7:13 - WASHINGTON GOAL - NICKLAS BACKSTROM - No Duck can check Viktor Kozlov as he skates unimpeded into and out of the corner before sending a pass to Backstrom in the slot. Backstrom gathers it and catches Hiller out of position before backhanding it by him. Ovechkin, who gets his third assist on the play, literally jumps into the huddle of celebrating caps.
3:54 - WASHINGTON GOAL (POWER PLAY) - Again on the power play, Green tattoos a one-timer from the point that tips off Marchant and eludes Hiller. Washington pours it on early and it's 2-0.
2:59 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. interference. Great start, Anaheim.
2:19 - WASHINGTON GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TOMAS FLEISCHMANN - On the man advantage, Ovechkin (playing from the point) slides a pass back to Mike Green. He rips a slap shot from inside the blue line that Fleischmann tips past Hiller. The Ducks, who have scored early a few times on this homestand, give up an early one. It's 1-0.
1:44 - ANA Penalty - Bret Hedican, 2 min. hooking. Montador turns the puck over twice within 10 seconds, and the second one costs the Ducks as his partner takes a penalty trying to defend it.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Another passionate rendition of the anthem by Dawn Wright. Like they say about a hitter who swings the bat hard: she doesn't get cheated out there.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; WSH Jose Theodore
Starting Skaters - ANA Chris Pronger, Kent Huskins, Brendan Morrison, Teemu Selanne
, Chris Kunitz; WSH Tom Poti, Tyler Sloan, Matt Bradley, Boyd Goirdon, David Steckel
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Ryan Carter
, Brad May; Shaone Morrisonn, Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov