|NJD||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
|ANA||2||0||2||(0 - 0)||4|
ANAHEIM – The return of Corey Perry from suspension was supposed to breathe life into the Ducks’ top forward unit, but it was his linemate who benefitted most.
|Kunitz had two big third period goals, with Perry getting an assist on both.
Chris Kunitz had two huge goals in the third period, scoring the go-ahead and a vital insurance marker, in helping the Ducks to a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils at Honda Center. The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Ducks and was the third victory in the last four at home.
"It’s been up and down this year so far," Kunitz said. "It feels good to help contribute and get the win. We’ve been hovering around the .500 mark the last little while and not really advancing ourselves. Every win is important for us and to get the home wins before we start out on the road."
The Ducks had Perry back for the first time since serving a four-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux on Jan. 2. And he made his presence felt with assists on both Kunitz’s goals.
"He’s a great offensive player that can move the puck and draws people to him," Kunitz said. "Any time you have a key offensive guy out of the lineup and you get him back, it gives the whole team a boost."
On Kunitz's anticlimactic go-ahead score, officials couldn’t tell it was a goal for several seconds before ruling it in Anaheim's favor. Kunitz came from behind the net and stuffed the puck under New Jersey goalie Scott Clemmenson, who trapped it under his leg pad and out of sight. Officials leaned in for a closer look before determining that the puck was over the stripe. The sellout crowd at Honda Center reacted relatively quietly to the signal, but got louder several seconds when the horn went off and even more boisterous when it was announced that a quick video review determined it was indeed a goal.
The goal that gave Anaheim a 4-2 lead with 3:33 left was much prettier, as Perry dropped the puck to Ryan Getzlaf on the right wing, and Getzlaf slid it across to Kunitz, whose wrist shot rang the post before finding the net.
"It was nice to see Kunitz come through," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "I thought it was his best game in a long time. He was skating and banging and the puck seemed to follow him around that way."
The Devils managed to cut the lead to one with 31 seconds left with their net empty for an extra attacker. In a play similar to Kunitz's first goal, Zach Parise came from behind the net to force it under Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and it took several seconds to be ruled good, since the puck was again hidden under the leg pad.
But that was all the Devils would manage down the stretch, as the Ducks defense kept them from putting anything on net in the final half-minute. That was the story for most of the night for a Ducks defense that held the Devils to just 21 shots, just 10 in the first two periods.
"That one felt good. I won’t lie to you," said Giguere, who hadn't won since Dec. 14 against Minnesota at Honda Center. "At the end of the day, this game is about winning. You’ll always look better when you win. Hopefully this will give me a little bit of confidence, as well as the team and then we can start something from today’s game."
|Ryan had yet another highlight-reel goal, off a great feed from Morrison in the first period.
After trailing 1-0 midway through the first following a Bobby Holik goal at 12:53, the Ducks came back with two in the final five minutes of the period.
Bobby Ryan added to his collection of highlight-reel goals with a gorgeous one with 4:39 left on the clock. Ryan started the play by giving a nice leading pass across the ice to Andrew Ebbett, who quickly dropped the puck back to linemate Brendan Morrison. He waited until the perfect time to slide a pass across the middle toward Ryan, and as he fell to the ice, Ryan redirected it home just before sliding into the net.
Samuel Pahlsson gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead with 8.2 remaining on the clock, as Travis Moen dug the puck out of the corner and sent it off the stick of Brian Gionta toward the slot. Pahlsson was right there to quickly flip it under the crossbar.
The Ducks had two opportunities in the second to add to their cushion on the power play, but couldn’t get much going. The Devils, on the other hand, took advantage of the first Anaheim penalty of the game, a Steve Montador hooking call. David Clarkson made the Ducks pay, getting his stick on the puck as it sat at Giguere’s feet and sending it underneath him.
It was the first visit to Anaheim for the Devils since Nov. 24, 2006. The two teams battled in the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, with the Devils prevailing in seven games.
For the second straight game, the Ducks were without Todd Marchant, who is recovering from a finger injury and remains day-to-day. Recent call-up Matt Beleskey took Marchant’s place again, while fellow rookie Drew Miller was a healthy scratch.
"I thought we played very well 5-on-5," said Carlyle. "The shots that we gave up were on the power play. We gave up too many from that standpoint because they had some flurries on the power play. Other than that, I thought we played a pretty solid game."
The Ducks return to Honda Center on Wednesday night, where they take on the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Detroit Red Wings.GAME NOTES
The Ducks have earned standings points in four of their last six games (3-2-1) and six of their last nine (4-3-2). At Honda Center, they have won three of their last four games (3-1-0) and garnered standings points in nine of their last 12 (8-3-1).
The Ducks have scored three-or-more goals in five of their last six games (3.2 per game).
Anaheim extended its winning streak vs. New Jersey to three games (3-0-0).
Bobby Ryan has earned points in five of his last six games (6-2=8) and in 10 of his last 13 (8-8=16). Since his season debut on Nov. 16 vs. LA, he has led all NHL rookies in goals, assists and points (12-14=26). Below is a look at the top three rookies in the NHL since that date:
Player Team GP G A P
Bobby Ryan ANA 26 12 14 26
Kris Versteeg CHI 24 10 10 20
Blake Wheeler BOS 25 7 12 19
Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to six games with an assist tonight (1-7=8) and has earned points in 11 of the last 12 contests (2-12=14). At HOME, he has earned points in 13 of the last 15 games (7-10=17), including points in five straight (1-5=6).
With an assist tonight, Scott Niedermayer has recorded 0-6=6 points in his last six games and 1-7=8 points in the last eight.
Chris Kunitz’s two-goal effort tonight was his second multi-goal game of the season and ninth of his career.
Andrew Ebbett has collected 1-2=3 points in the last two games.
Brendan Morrison has earned 0-3=3 assists in the last two games and 4-5=9 points in the last 10 games.
J.S. Giguere earned his 12th win of the season, stopping 18-of-21 shots on net.
Tonight’s attendance is 17,331, a sellout.
|Bobby Holik (2) Snap shot - ASST: Jay Pandolfo (5), Mike Mottau (8)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Bobby Ryan (12) Tip-in - ASST: Brendan Morrison (9), Andrew Ebbett (5)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Samuel Pahlsson (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Travis Moen (7), Rob Niedermayer (4)|
2 - 1 ANA
|PPG - David Clarkson (8) Tip-in - ASST: Brian Rolston (3), Dainius Zubrus (16)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Chris Kunitz (10) Wrap-around - ASST: Corey Perry (25), Scott Niedermayer (20)|
3 - 2 ANA
|Chris Kunitz (11) Snap shot - ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (35), Corey Perry (26)|
4 - 2 ANA
|Zach Parise (24) Tip-in - ASST: Jamie Langenbrunner (22), Brian Gionta (26)|
4 - 3 ANA
|Brian Rolston Tripping against Steve Montador|
|Travis Zajac Hooking against Brett Festerling|
|Zach Parise Hooking against Bret Hedican|
|Steve Montador Hooking against Michael Rupp|
|Bobby Holik Hooking against Bobby Ryan|
|Travis Moen Roughing against David Clarkson|
|SA: 34||TOI: 59:00|
|Saves: 30||EV: 25 - 29|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 5|
|SV%: .882||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 21||TOI: 59:57|
|Saves: 18||EV: 11 - 13|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 6|
|SV%: .857||SH: 2 - 2|