By Adam Brady (email@example.com)
ANAHEIM – After a rocky start to the campaign, the Anaheim Ducks are looking more and more like the team that has dominated at Honda Center the past three seasons.
The Ducks got out in front early and held on over the final 20 minutes to down the visiting Minnesota Wild, 4-2, and win their fifth straight game at home. Meanwhile, it was the first time in the Wild’s nine-year franchise history that they have dropped five in a row in regulation.
|Anaheim won its fifth straight at Honda Center and handed the Wild their fifth straight regulation loss, a first in their franchise history.
The Ducks got goals from Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Brendan Morrison and Bobby Ryan over the first two periods, and held the Wild scoreless over the entire third behind 26 saves from Jean-Sebastien Giguere. The Ducks improved to 12-0-0 when leading after two periods.
"It’s a good sign for us," Morrison said. "It was a little adversity for this group tonight. We had a great start. They got right back in the game there. We were able to respond."
Minnesota tied the game 2-2 on an Eric Belanger goal off an odd-man rush just 2:32 into the second period, and the Wild put more pressure on in the ensuing minutes as they threatened to take their first lead. But the Ducks held tough and turned the tables with goals from Morrison and Ryan to take a 4-2 lead that carried to the finish.
"We got a 2-0 lead and then we let them back in," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. " It changed the momentum of the game. All the sudden the pressure was all on us to get the next one and we found a way to get it. I thought overall our work ethic was good. We had a contribution from every guy and that is what’s important."
Morrison got his second goal in the last three games, when he took advantage of a gorgeous Todd Marchant feed on the breakout. Marchant raced up the left wing before sending a pass toward the top of the crease that led Morrison perfectly, and Morrison redirected it through with one hand on the stick.
"I was just driving the net and he made a nice pass to the far post," Morrison said. "I just beat the d-man to the post and was able to get a stick on it. I’m been feeling better here. It couldn’t get much worse than the beginning. It can only go up. I just have to continue to build and be consistent."
Marchant came up big again later in the period, after the puck slipped behind J.S. Giguere and sat dangerously in the crease before Marchant beat Wild center Mikko Koivu to the disc and swept it away.
Then with 1:14 left in the session, George Parros intercepted a pass from Kim Johnsson in the Wild zone and fed Ryan, who one-timed it through the open left half of the net.
"Any time I can get our team victory and help out in that, I’m definitely pleased," Parros said of his continued offensive production. "It was a good insurance goal for us. I had just come off the bench, so I had the whole view of the play in front of me. I don’t think their d-man saw me when I was coming into the zone. He tried to make an outlet pass to the guy at the boards. I was lucky enough to be there to intercept it and find Bobby in front, who was waiting for the one-timer."
The Ducks took their first lead thanks to strikes from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the game’s opening 6 ½ minutes. Getzlaf went first, scoring just 1:38 after the opening faceoff as no Wild player came near him as he skated toward the net from the left wing circle. So after initially looking to make a pass, he shot the puck himself under Wild goalie Josh Harding.
|Getzlaf led off the Ducks scoring with a goal just 1:38 into the contest, his 13th of the year.
Less than five minutes later, the other two members on the top line – Perry and Chris Kunitz – teamed to put the Ducks up 2-0. Perry and Kunitz played catch with the puck on the rush before Kunitz sent it back to Perry for the one-timer. It was the first goal in nine games for Perry, who led Anaheim in goals with 29 last year, and now has eight this season.
"Corey Perry has had a little dry spell, to say the least, here over the last little while.," said Carlyle. "It’s nice to see he was rewarded. He gets a lot of the dirty positions on the ice when you have to stand in front of the net, battle with defensemen and work those corners. It’s not always the hardest spot to play that gets the recognition for scoring goals. You have to have that combination and he’s willing to do that. That is where he makes his living."
The Wild cut the lead in half with 7:45 left in the period as they capitalized on a cross-checking penalty on Travis Moen that escalated into a lengthy fight between the Ducks winger and Minnesota’s Erik Reitz. Almost a minute after Moen was sent to the box, former Duck Marc-Andre Bergeron ripped a one-timer from the point that sailed through traffic and eluded Giguere. Bergeron didn’t score a goal in nine games with Anaheim last season, joining the team after a trade deadline deal.
Down two goals in the third Minnesota had a chance to get back into the game relatively early in the period, when the puck bounced to James Sheppard with Giguere way out of position. But from a tough angle, all Sheppard was able to do was shoot the puck off the far post.
Minnesota was able to apply some pressure around the net on several other occasions in the period, but Giguere refused to relent. In his last five outings, Giguere is 4-0-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.
The Ducks pushed their record to 17-11-3 and are back at Honda Center again in two nights when they take on the New York Rangers.
"I think these games are tough to play in against teams like Minnesota," Morrison said. "They are disciplined in their system and a team that really feasts on turnovers. You have to make sure you get pucks deep. I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight overall."
The Ducks have won three of their last four games (3-1-0) and seven of their last 10 games (7-3-0). The club has also recorded points in eight of the last 11 (7-3-1), 10 of the last 14 (8-4-2) and 19 of the last 25 (16-6-3).
Anaheim has a five-game win streak at HOME and has picked up points in seven of the last eight games at Honda Center (6-1-1).
The Ducks have recorded 30-plus shots in five consecutive games, averaging 33.4 per game.
Anaheim has scored 13 goals in their last three HOME games, scoring at least four in every game. The club has scored four-or-more goals in five of their last six HOME games (22 goals).
In the last four games, Chris Kunitz has recorded 2-4=6 points (including two assists tonight).
Ryan Getzlaf has extended his point streak at HOME to eight games (6-5=11). He has earned points in four of the last five contests overall (3-2=5) and 12 of his last 14 (7-10=17). He has also collected points in 21 of the last 24 (13-23=36).
George Parros has recorded points in three of the last four games (1-3=4), including an assist tonight.
With an assist in tonight’s game, Bobby Ryan has 1-3=4 points in the last four games and has a four-game point streak at HOME (1-4=5).
Today’s attendance was 16,577.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Very nice win for the Anaheim Ducks, as they get four in the first two periods and play defense the rest of the way to hang on to the 4-2 victory.
19:25 - Moen takes a hard hit and he's very slow to head to the bench.
19:00 - Giguere freezes it and Robbie is out there after the change.
18:45 - Harding skates off for the extra attacker. Where's Robbie? Robbie?
16:35 - This time Benoit Pouliot drills Bobby Ryan
and Parros comes at him with some shoves. He skates off but it looks like Boogaard wants to go with Georgie, yet the official comes between them and holds them off. That's unfortunate.
14:38 - Bobby Ryan
takes a shot from Cal Clutterbuck into the Minnesota bench. You're going to let a guy named Clutterbuck to that to ya?
14:10 - Morrison is looking for his second of the game, as he leads a rush with Selanne and Marchant and fires a shot that Harding stops with Selanne breathing on him.
13:50 - I stand corrected,, as Getzlaf chases the puck down to get on a mini-breakaway, makes a move to his backhand and is denied by Harding. I think Getzy thought he was going to get that one.
It's oh so quiet in here. Probably because nothing worth a damn has happened in the last five minutes.
7:31 - MIN Penalty - Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 2 min. hooking. Do the Wild lead the league in hyphenated names with Bouchard and Marc-Andre Bergeron? I bet they're tied with somebody. Though I'm not sure who.
The Wild have a poll on their website that asks, "Who is the Wild's biggest rival?" and the choices are: Vancouver, Calgary, Dallas, Colorado and ... Anaheim. Really, Anaheim? We're honored, I guess. Incidentally, Anaheim is last at 7.37%
6:01 - The Ducks look like they're killing a penalty as the Wild completely controls the puck and puts several shots on Giguere in a short span. Giguere makes yet another save and covers the puck to end the madness.
3:59 - The Ducks get away with one again, as Giguere is way out of position after a save, when the puck goes bouncing to James Sheppard. His shot goes past a diving Giguere and rings the far post. Lucky break for Anaheim.
Minnesota TV reveals that the Wild have NEVER lost five straight games in regulation. Ever. They've lost four in a row coming into this one.
0:00 - And we're back in the third, with the Ducks on the penalty kill.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks take over with goals from Ryan and Morrison, offsetting one from Belanger, to take a 4-2 lead going into the final 20.
19:57 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. hooking. This one will carry over into the next period.
18:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Mere seconds after Ryan is literally spun around by Kim Johnsson in the corner (on what the crowd thought should have been a penalty), Johnsson tries to send the puck up the ice, only to have George Parros intercept it. Parros quickly sends it to Ryan, who one-times it into the open left half of the net. Great play by that fourth line once again after they had been relatively quiet in the early going. Ducks lead it 4-2.
14:20 - A slap shot hits Giguere and trickles behind him, as it sits dangerously in the crease. Mikko Koivu races over to tap it, but Todd Marchant
beats him to the puck and sweeps it away.
Our entertainment manager plays those series of bells (called "twibell") after the penalty, even though I've asked him not to because they do the same sound effect at STAPLES Center. I know he did it just to tick me off.
13:01 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. slashing. Kunitz gets called for slashing the stick out of Brent Burns' hand. I'm not crazy about that one.
The mistletoe edition of Kiss Cam is back, with a couple of priceless shots of husbands not realizing they're on camera and required to kiss until their wives nudge them. It ends with the freaky-looking Rod Stewart lookalike getting some face time, and he looks like he'd rather get up and do his dance before the chick he's with grabs his head and lays one on him.
Just to let you know, when the game is not televised, John Ahlers apparently sits in the seats wearing a brown leather jacket. Just mentioning.
8:50 - The Ducks mix it up by sending out Kunitz, Morrison and Ryan on the first PP unit.
8:41 - MIN Penalty - Antti Miettinen, 2 min. hooking. That sure was an anti-Miettinen call, wasn't it?
6:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BRENDAN MORRISON - The Ducks get on the break with Marchant leading the way up the left wing. He throws a perfect pass toward the top of the crease to lead Morrison, who redirects it one-handed under the crossbar. Another pretty play for the Ducks, and Morrison's second goal in three games. It's 3-2 Anaheim.
6:05 - The Ducks are badly on their heels, as the Wild are unleashing shot after shot on Giguere and spending most of the period in the Anaheim end.
2:32 - MINNESOTA GOAL - ERIC BELANGER - The Wild break out on a 2-on-1 rush with only Brett Festerling back to defend. From the left wing, Pierre-Marc Bouchard slides a side-to-side pass to Belanger just out of the reach of Festerling and Belanger deposits it top shelf. We're tied 2-2.
1:50 - For the second time in a minute, the Ducks have the puck bouncing around the Minny net and can't get it through. Kunitz looks to have a chance, but misses wide.
0:00 - We're back for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Three players who were in a Ducks uniform last year score goals, as Perry, Kunitz and Bergeron find the net. Unforunately, one of those three is now a Minnesota Wild ... man. So it's 2-1 Anaheim.
19:05 - This time Minnesota dodges the bullet, as Harding tries to clear the puck, but Getzlaf is all over him to deflect it away. It comes right to Perry with a wide open net, but Harding dives over and makes the miracle save. Great play by him.
It's trivia time and contestant Tim is asked, When is the last time a Ducks player was voted into the All-Star Game? Selanne in '07, Niedermayer in '06 or Kariya in '01? He guesses Niedermayer and he's ... wrong! It's Kariya in 2001. And that reminds me, you can vote for all the Ducks by texing "Ducks" to 81812 or go to Vote.NHL.com and vote them in that way. Seriously, just do it. Getzlaf isn't far behind among the Western Conference forwards. Let's make it happen, Ducks fans. I'm going to revisit this tomorrow.
12:24 - MIN Penalty - Nick Schultz, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Schultz gets Selanne in the face and Selanne is down for a bit before he's eventually led off with Ducks trainer Tim Clark.
12:15 - MINNESOTA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MARC-ANDRE BERGERON - Bergeron, the former Duck who spent the last few months of last season here, rips a one-timer off an Eric Belanger pass that travels through traffic and gets past Giguere. Bergeron never had a goal in nine games with the Ducks, but he gets one here. It's 2-1 Anaheim.
11:16 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 5 min. fighting and 2 min. cross checking and MIN Penalty - Erik Reitz, 5 min. fighting. After taking a hard hit to the head from Erik Reitz, Travis Moen gives Reitz a shot right back and they drop the gloves. It's a lot of swinging and missing until Reitz takes over, landing a few shots on Moen and ultimately getting the jersey partway over Moen's head before it ends. They both get 5 for fighting, but Moen gets the extra penalty.
8:07 - MIN Penalty - Cal Clutterbuck, 2 min. interference. How fantastic is the name Cal Clutterbuck, by the way? Sounds like a character on "The Beverly Hillbillies."
6:23 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Perry and Kunitz play give-and-go, as Kunitz skates into the attacking zone and drops the puck to Perry. He gives the puck back to Kunitz on the rush and Kunitz sends it right back, as Perry bats it through the open right half of the net. Gorgeous play for the Ducks and the crowd was just a little bit louder reacting to that one. We've got a good group here tonight. The Ducks lead it 2-0. First goal in nine games for No. 10.
5:07 - Good kill for the Ducks as Giguere hangs tough on a couple of shots.
3:07 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. roughing.
2:55 - Scary moment as Giguere tries to clear the puck from behind the net and sends it right to Derek Boogaard with the net completely open. Giguere darts back in front to slide on his side and make an incredible save. It should also be mentioned that Boogaard didn't take the best shot, as he had a wide open half of the net and missed the mark. Nevertheless, huge bullet dodged for Anaheim.
1:38 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - It's a defensive breakdown by the defensive-minded Wild as no one chases Getzlaf as he skates toward the net in the right wing circle. He looks as surprised as anyone as he hesitates before slipping the puck under Harding just before Nick Schultz arrives to make a half-hearted poke at the puck. It's 1-0 early.
0:55 - Going for the rebound off his saved shot, Perry goes bowling into Harding. Perry running into a goaltender. Never seen that before.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:08 p.m. - Slightly softer rendition of the anthem by the always-good Christina Reyes, but still a beauty. I feel like I should get some of the credit, since I helped select her at Anthem Idol last year. Thank you.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; MIN Josh Harding
Starting Skaters - ANA Scott Niedermayer, Brett Festerling
, Brendan Morrison, Teemu Selanne
, Todd Marchant
; MIN Erik Reitz, Brent Burns, Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Martin Skoula
Scratches - ANA Nathan McIver, Brad May; MIN Owen Nolan, Colton Gillies