By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – In a game the Ducks absolutely had to have, Scott Niedermayer made sure this one didn’t get away.
For the second time in exactly a month, Niedermayer scored the game-winning overtime goal with the two teams skating 3-on-3 to clinch a gargantuan 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center.
|Niedermayer's overtime game-winner was the 12th of his career, adding to his total as the NHL's all-time leader among defensemen.
The Ducks looked to have a golden opportunity in OT when Vancouver’s Pavol Demitra took a hooking call 2:13 into the period. But the power play was wiped out when Teemu Selanne was whistled for holding a little more than a minute later.
Not long after, Todd Marchant dove to muscle the puck out from the left wing boards in the Anaheim zone and it came to Chris Pronger, who hit Niedermayer streaking up the middle of the ice. With only Daniel Sedin chasing him on his way to the net, Niedermayer coasted between the circles before firing a wrist shot over goalie Roberto Luongo that popped the water bottle.
“I just tried to get it up on him,” Niedermayer said, “and I think it got under his arm. Fortunately, I kind of bobbled so I didn’t really have time to think too much, which probably good. I just went down and tried to get it up high. I was just worried about not getting caught or not picked from behind and making a good shot."
Ducks teammates poured off the bench and mobbed Niedermayer in the same exact corner where he scored a 3-on-3 game-winner to beat the visiting Calgary Flames on Feb. 11.
It was the 12th career overtime goal for Niedermayer, who remains the NHL’s all-time leader among defenseman in that category. More importantly, it sealed a vital home win for the Ducks, who are battling for their playoff lives in the season’s final month and were looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
“We needed it,” Niedermayer said. “We’re not where we want to be and this is a big extra point. We have a long way to go and we’ll take the two points. It’s nice to get back on the winning way at home."
Added Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, It’s important for our well-being and our sanity more than anything. We’ve worked hard in some games and had as many chances as we’ve had tonight and still came up empty. It’s always enjoyable when you can find a way to win. It was a special play by a special player that won it for us. That is as strong of a team effort and as emotional as we’ve been in awhile."
|Hiller had plenty of big stops among his 32 saves on the night.
The Ducks were clinging to a one-goal lead throughout the third period, and lost that grip when Ryan Kesler found the net with 4:58 left in regulation. Pavol Demitra made a feed from behind the net to Mats Sundin on the doorstep, and his one-timer flipped off goalie Jonas Hiller to Kesler, who batted it out of the air.
That was the only goal in a third period that was in direct contrast to a topsy-turvy second. In those 20 minutes, the Ducks went up 2-0 on a Ryan Getzlaf goal, lost the lead on two Vancouver strikes within a span of 50 seconds, retook the lead on a Petteri Nokelainen goal and were seemingly robbed of a fourth goal by a dubious goalie interference call.
Getzlaf gave the Ducks that two-goal cushion 6:26 into the period, when a Ryan Whitney point shot was knocked down in front of the net and Erik Christensen reached out to poke the puck to Getzlaf, who one-timed it home.
Vancouver sawed the lead in half halfway through the session when an Alex Burrows shot from the high slot ticked off the skate of Alex Burrows and snuck underneath Hiller.
Just 50 seconds later, the game was tied when Kyle Wellwood one-timed a Demitra feed that Hiller appeared to save initially, but it squirted underneath him and snuck over the stripe.
That was one of the hiccups on an otherwise-stellar night for Hiller, who made several big stops among his 32 on the evening.
Anaheim bounced back with 6:39 left in the second on Petteri Nokelainen’s first goal of the season, three games after the Ducks acquired him prior to last week's trade deadline. Fellow new Duck Christensen made the play happen just seconds after a Vancouver penalty expired, whipping a shot from the right wing that Luongo knocked away right to Nokelainen, who sent it back.
Christensen appeared to give the Ducks another two-goal advantage when he made a beautiful deke move around Luongo and flipped the puck over his outreached stick. But the goal was waved off when the official determined that Getzlaf interfered with the goaltender. Replays clearly indicated that Getzlaf never touched him.
For the first time in a seemingly long time, Anaheim came out of the first period with the lead, thanks to a Teemu Selanne goal with 2:25 on the clock. Trying to backhand the puck out of his own corner, Henrik Sedin turned it over to Selanne between the circles, and the 38-year-old skated toward Luongo before sending a quick shot between his skates.
That goal came a little more than five minutes after Ryan Whitney appeared to backhand the puck between Luongo’s skate and the post. But that goal was disallowed since the puck actually went under the post when Luongo inadvertently ran into the net and lifted it slightly off its supports.
While that goal didn’t count Anaheim’s four against Luongo marked the first time he’s let through more than three in any of his last 11 starts. His record all-time against the Ducks fell to an uncharacteristic 7-7-0.
Over the last six HOME games, the Ducks have out shot their opponent 223-to-168. Tonight marked the club’s fourth, 40-plus shot game of the season. They have also recorded 35-or-more shots on net in four of the last six games (33.0 per game).
Teemu Selanne moved to just one point shy of 1,200 in his NHL career (573-626=1199). His goal accounted for the 573rd in his career and moved him into a share of 18th place on the NHL’s all-time goals list (also Mike Bossy). He is also one point shy of sharing 44th place on the NHL’s all-time points list (also Dino Ciccarelli, 608-592=1200).
With two assists tonight, Ryan Whitney recorded his third multi-assist game of the season (last: Jan. 28 w/PIT vs. NYR).
Erik Christensen picked up his first and second assists as a Duck tonight. It is his first multi-assist game since Nov. 2 vs. Florida (with Atlanta).
Jonas Hiller recorded his 15th win of the season.
Tonight’s attendance was 16,967.
3:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - Niedermayer does it again in overtime, again on the 3-on-3. With all three Canucks around the puck near the left wing boards, Todd Marchant muscles it toward Pronger, who hits Niedermayer streaking up the other wing. Niedermayer has only Daniel Sedin chasing him from behind and just as he gets between the circles, he rifles a wrist shot by Luongo for the winner. Absolutely gargantuan win for the Ducks.
3:20 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne
, 2 min holding. Selanne not pleased at all, as he drops his stick in disgust.
2:13 - VAN Penalty - Pavol Demitra, 2 min. hooking. Demitra gets tangled with Getzlaf. Could be big for Anaheim.
1:01 - Ebbett gets in position for a mini-breakaway, but nice kick-save by Luongo.
0:45 - Henrik Sedin nearly ends it with a spinning backhander in the slot, but it goes just wide.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - A late Vancouver goal (Kesler with 4:58 left) ties this thing 3-3 and we're going to overtime.
19:32 - Another big stop by Hiller on a quick Sundin shot.
18:46 - A near-costly Scott Niedermayer turned over is countered with a huge glove save by Hiller on a point-blank Daniel Sedin shot.
17:43 - Perry falls to a knee going after a loose puck and nearly backhands it past Luongo. Nice save.
15:37 - VAN Penalty - Daniel Sedin, 2 min. holding the stick. As he's tumbling over Scott Niedermayer to the ice, Sedin grabs ahold of Scotty's stick.
15:02 - VANCOUVER GOAL - RYAN KESLER - Pavol Demitra gets it started from behind the net again, slipping a pass to Sedin on the doorstep, who chips it off Hiller. The puck flips in the air toward Kesler who jabs it goal-bound. Heartbreaker for Anaheim and we're tied 3-3.
What is with the angry speed metal music in the building tonight? Just horrifying.
14:17 - A deflected puck goes into the Ducks bench, right into J.S. Giguere's glove. He nicely tosses it into the seats.
Boy, a two-goal lead would sure feel good right now. Wait, shouldn't we have already had one?
13:05 - Hiller goes behind the net to chase the puck and it takes a horrible hop off the glass and nearly darts into the goal.
Two brunette Power Players flank Kent French on FSN as he hypes Power Player tryouts. That's better.
Loud chant of "Ref, you ..." you know the rest.
8:42 - Hiller is run into and goes down hard. No call. Excellent work tonight, boys.
8:30 - Monster save by Hiller on a point blank redirect.
4:20 - Ryan misfires again, catching Luongo out of position, but the one-timer is shot right into the goalie's kicked-out leg.
3:27 - The Ducks nearly get one when the puck kicks to Ryan in the slot with Luongo down, but he can't lift it enough with the backhand and the Canucks escape.
Hey, Henrik. Your brother's ugly.
3:12 - VAN Penalty - Henrik Sedin, 2 min. tripping. Twin trips Perry near the Vancouver net.
James Wisniewski is out of the game with what is being reported as an upper body injury. He only played 90 seconds in the second period.
0:40 - Getzlaf's penalty expires. If Vancouver had gotten a goal on that power play ... well, let's just say that would have been mildly upsetting.
Just before the period started, the officials arrived onto the ice to a chorus of boos.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - In a topsy-turvy period, the Ducks go up 2-0 on a Getzlaf goal, lose the lead with two Vancouver strikes in a span of 50 seconds, retake it on a Nokelainen goal and get absolutely robbed of a fourth goal. It's 3-2 Ducks. Should be 4-2 Ducks.
I'll say this -- goal or no goal, Christensen's celebration was one of the coolest I've ever seen. As his momentum carried him toward the glass, he calmly pointed into the crowd just before his teammates mobbed him. Not too shabby.
18:40 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. goaltender interference. Perry drops the puck to Erik Christensen in the slot and he's got only Luongo in front of him. Christensen makes a gorgeous deke around Luongo and fires it top shelf. But the goal is disallowed when they rule that Getzlaf interfered with Luongo. The replay shows he never even touched him. I'm not kidding when I say this: That was the worst call in the history of the National Hockey League. Just awful.
During the break, the video board shows a shot of four Power Players -- all blondes. Way to defy the Orange County stereotypes for the Vancouver people in the crowd.
15:40 - Perry nearly sneaks the puck through from a low angle, and it dangles in front of Luongo, but no Duck can poke it.
13:44 - VAN Penalty - Mattias Ohlund, 2 min. interference.
13:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - PETTERI NOKELAINEN - Two new Ducks combine on this one, just seconds after the penalty expires, but before Bieksa can join the play. Christensen takes a shot from right wing that Luongo swats away, but it caroms right to Nokelainen, who bats it top shelf. First goal of the year for Nokie (Nokie?) and it's 3-2 Anaheim.
12:50 - Ebbett is open for a one-timer off a Christensen feed from behind the cage and Luongo is right there. Big chant of "Luuuuu" from the crowd again. Waaaayyyy too many Canucks fans here tonight.
11:16 - VAN Penalty - Kevin Bieksa, 2 min. tripping.
Kiss cam. Still love it.
10:37 - VANCOUVER GOAL - KYLE WELLWOOD - Pavol Demitra has the puck behind the net in the corner and sends it to an open Wellwood, who one-times it from the slot. Hiller appears to make a nice save on it, but the puck slowly squirts under him and out the other side. In less than a minute of ice hockey time, we've gone from 2-0 to 2-2.
9:47 - VANCOUVER GOAL - ALEX BURROWS - Kevin Bieksa takes a shot from the high slot that nicks off the skate of Burrows and crawls under Hiller, as he throws his head back in disgust. It's 2-1 Anaheim.
Did I just hear an actual "Quack ... quack ... quack" chant coming from the row of people beneath this press box? Very Mighty of them. And those same people just did the wave. The wave. In related news, catch tonight's episode of "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties."
7:30 - Marchant drills Salo into the wall as they both chase the puck behind the net. Salo is calling out to the official as he heads up the ice, but no call.
6:56 - ANA Penalty - Brett Festerling
, 2 min. hooking.
6:26 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Ryan Whitney takes a shot from the point that gets knocked down in front of the net. Erik Christensen is just able to reach out and poke the puck to an open Getzlaf, who chips it under the crossbar. Don't shoot the puck enough? Take that. It's the first in the last eight games for Getzlaf and it's 2-0 Anaheim. Huge goal for the black team.
5:40 - Perry makes a great feed on the rush to a charging Whitney in the slot, but his one-timer goes five feet wide.
2:00 - The Ducks escape, as Vancouver is all over the net, but can't get it through Hiller.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, the Canucks on a power play because Perry got a charging penalty and Marchant got a roughing call, while Alex Burrows of the Canucks got a roughing minor.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - After a sluggish start, the Ducks pour it on in the second part of the period, getting a Selanne goal to take a refreshing 1-0 lead.
20:00 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. charging and Todd Marchant
, 2 min. roughing and VAN Penalty - Alex Burrows, 2 min. roughing. Right at the horn, Perry checks Henrik Sedin into the glass, and Sedin doesn't like it, so he pushes Perry into the wall. That ignites a brawl between the two teams in which Scott Niedermayer gets passionately involved. We haven't heard the penalties yet, but we know Perry got one.
19:55 - Eight unanswered shots for Anaheim, which trailed 14-3 in that departement at one point.
19:21 - Mike Brown pokes at a puck sitting delicately in front of Luongo, but can't get it through before Lu freezes it with about six guys standing over him.
17:35 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - After Ebbett battles for the puck in the corner, it ends up briefly in Henrik Sedin's hands, but as he triest to backhand it out of the corner, Selanne is right there to intercept it. He skates toward Luongo and sends a quick shot under him. It's 1-0 Ducks. That feels good to write.
15:41 - Big kill for the Ducks after the Canucks take about 89 shots during the two minutes.
15:23 - Hiller another good stop in a crowd. Keep it going, Jonasty.
14:35 - Hiller makes a nice stop on a Sundin slap shot through traffic, then smothers the loose puck. Nicely done.
13:41 - ANA Penalty - James Wisniewski
, 2 min. tripping. Burrows jumps on a bouncing puck and somehow gets behind the defense in doing it. Wisniewski has no choice but to take him down from behind.
Just got a text from a co-worker: "And that pretty much sums up the season."
12:17 - The Ducks look like they've scored a goal when Ryan Whitney spins and throws a relatively soft backhander that appears to slip between Luongo's skate and the post. But upon further review, it's revealed the puck somehow slipped under the post when Luongo bumped the net and it lifted off the ice a bit. Tough break for the Ducks, and pretty much just their luck lately.
Remember this? God, that was awesome. I'm hoping that posting it will bring some kind of hex on Luongo.
10:27 - VAN Penalty - Taylor Pyatt, 2 min. hooking. We'll take it.
7:15 - Shots on goal are 8-1 Canucks.
3:53 - Two big saves by Hiller, freezing the puck both times. He needs to come up big tonight.
3:40 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. tripping. Niedermayer takes down Burrows with his stick at the blue line. Or did he? Looked like Burrows lost an edge and went down on his own.
2:05 - On the rush, Ebbett gives a great centering pass to Selanne, who reaches out to redirect it and sends it way over the net.
Just no goals in the first two minutes, okay? I don't ask a lot, do I?
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center, the Ducks badly needing this one.
7:08 p.m. - Another spirited rendition of both anthems by Dawn Wright. I'm wondering, if I wasn't a hockey fan would I know the lyrics to O, Canada? I say no.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; VAN Roberto Luongo
Starting Skaters - ANA Ryan Whitney, Chris Pronger, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
, Erik Christensen; VAN Sami Salo, Willie Mitchell, Mats Sundin, Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Troy Bodie
; VAN Rob Davison, Ossi Vaananen