By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Having developed a recent penchant for nail-biting finishes, the Ducks came into this one after battling through eight straight one-goal games.
Tonight, however, they left little doubt.
|The Ducks scored three power play goals in the third period on their way to a 6-2 victory over the Coyotes, giving the Ducks their first three-game winning streak since the end of November.
Anaheim scored three power play goals in the third period (and four overall) to roll to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Coyotes, the second straight win over Phoenix in the last four nights. The Ducks needed a shootout to take down the Coyotes 3-2 in Glendale, but were much more emphatic this time around, earning a third straight win for the first time since Nov. 30. And in a time of year when every game is vital for the Ducks, they pulled into ninth place in the Western Conference playoff race, one point behind a Nashville team they face Tuesday night.
Anaheim's four goals on the man advantage gave them seven in the last two games at Honda Center, after suffering through a stretch of 22 straight power plays without a goal. Their four power play goals tonight tied a club record.
"The power play has been effective at times for us and ineffective at times," said Ryan Getzlaf, who had two big power play goals in the third. "This was one of those games that we needed it big time and we were able to deliver."
Added coach Randy Carlyle, "When your power play delivers as it did tonight and then your penalty killing, it definitely was the difference in the hockey game. We have to try to build on more nights like this. It will continue to get tougher as we go into the final stretch here of 10 games in the season. They are more important points than they have ever been for our hockey club."
The Ducks never trailed, but clung to a one-goal lead in the middle of the third period, until Getzlaf gave them some breathing room with the first of his two power play goals. Just 10 seconds after a Todd Fedoruk interference penalty, Getzlaf had his back to goalie Ilya Bryzgalov when he redirected a Scott Niedermayer pass underneath the goaltender.
Getzlaf made it 5-2 later in the period on the first of two Anaheim power play goals resulting from a Scottie Upshall double minor for cutting Chris Pronger in the upper lip with a high stick. Pronger was no worse for wear, faking a slap shot before sending the puck to Getzlaf in the left wing circle, and he wristed it under Bryzgalov. Pronger had three assists on the night, giving him nine in his last nine games.
With time still remaining on the Upshall penalty, Andrew Ebbett scored the sixth Ducks goal just 26 seconds after Getzlaf’s strike. A James Wisniewski rocket from the point hit off the leg of Phoenix defenseman Kurt Sauer to Ebbett, who sent it through traffic into the net.
The Ducks not only scored often, but they scored early, jumping in front 2-0 on goals by Scott Niedermayer and George Parros in the opening stanza. Less than five minutes into the game, Niedermayer waited near the post, before redirecting a Pronger slap pass behind Brzygalov.
And with 1:49 left in the period, Erik Christensen took a shot from the left wing on the rush that ricocheted off Bryzgalov toward Parros, who chipped it into the open net.
Phoenix sliced the lead in half just 48 seconds into the second period, when a Shane Doan shot from the wing was blocked and the puck kicked right to Peter Prucha, who shot it off the far post and in.
|Getzlaf (right) had two of Anaheim's three power play goals in the final period.
The Ducks regained a two-goal lead midway through the period on a Corey Perry goal gift-wrapped by an outstanding Getzlaf play on the wing. Getzlaf waited patiently to shuttle the puck past Zbynek Michalek, who had slid on his side to try and block the pass. The disc got to Perry at the top of the crease, and he punched into the open half of the net. Bobby Ryan, who had gotten the puck to Getzlaf on the wing, earned a second assist for his 46th point on the year, a new team record (breaking the 2006-07 mark held by Dustin Penner).
Doan got the Coyotes back into it with 5:13 left in the period, taking advantage of a Christensen turnover in the Anaheim zone. Under mild pressure from the Coyotes, Christensen lost the puck as he tried to head up ice, and Doan picked it up, headed to the net and sent it under goalie Hiller.
It was the fifth goal in as many games against the Ducks for Doan, who doesn’t have more than two against any other team this season.
Other than that, Hiller was tough in net for Anaheim, just as he was in that shootout victory three nights ago. He had 26 saves on the night.
The Ducks hope they can keep the momentum going in a huge game in Nashville two nights from now.
"We’re in desperate hockey right now," Getzlaf said. "Every night is a playoff game for us now. We got a huge game coming up here against Nashville. It’s nice to see we’re recognizing that and the situation we’re in. We just need to continue to play the way we are."
The Ducks snapped a streak of eight consecutive one-goal games, which tied the club record. The club also played in eight consecutive one-goal contests from Nov. 6 – Dec. 2, 2004, going 2-1-5 in those eight games (the “5” comprised of 2 OTL’s and 3 ties). The Ducks went 4-3-1 in the eight games heading into tonight’s contest.
Anaheim has outshot its opponent in six of the last seven games by a combined 239-to-186.
With tonight’s assist, Teemu Selanne now has sole possession of 44th place on the NHL’s all-time points list (574-627=1201), passing Dino Ciccarelli (608-592=1200).
Scott Niedermayer has collected points in four of the last six games (3-3=6). His three-point effort tonight (1-2=3) ties his career high for points in a game (17th time) and was his second three-point night of the season (Jan. 31 at COL, 1-2=3).
Corey Perry has collected points in seven of the last nine contests (3-3=6).
Ryan Getzlaf has earned points in four of the last six games (3-4=7). He has earned three-or-more points on seven different occasions this season, including 2-1=3 tonight.
Erik Christensen has earned 0-4=4 points in the last five games.
In his last three appearances, Jonas Hiller has stopped 81-of-86 shots for a .942 SV% and 1.63 GAA (5 GA/184 MIN).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,215.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Three Ducks power play goals pave the way to a convincing 6-3 victory.
19:40 - The crowd rises to its feet as the seconds tick down on a Ducks victory that for once is decided well before the finish.
17:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - ANDREW EBBETT - Wisniewski rifles a shot from the point that kicks off the knee of Kurt Sauer to Ebbett in the slot. He sends it through traffic and past Bryzgalov for the goal. It's 6-2 Ducks and this bad boy is over.
16:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - Pronger fakes a slap shot and sends the puck to Getzlaf in the left wing circle. Getzlaf throws it under Bryzgalov for his second of the game, and it gives the Ducks a 5-2 lead.
16:20 - PHX Penalty - Scottie Upshall, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Hiller makes another nice stop as Pronger takes a shot in the mouth from Upshall's stick and loses some blood.
14:02 - Wisniewski manages to clear the puck out from his own slot all the way down so that Bryz has to save it. He's had a few nice puck clearings in the past few minutes.
13:16 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Ebbett, 2 min. boarding. Ebbett throws Kyle Turris into the wall. Borderline call at best.
10:38 - The puck bounces unluckily off the back boards to Doan, who closes in on Hiller alone, but Hiller dives at him to knock the puck away as Doan's trying to pass it. Won't go down as a save, but it's as good as any of the official ones Hiller has made all night.
10:14 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan
, 2 min. roughing. Ryan drives Prucha in the face in front of the Phoenix bench.
8:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - Just 10 seconds after the Fedoruk penalty, Niedermayer has plenty of room with the puck in the right wing circle and sends it on net. Getzlaf, with his back to Bryzgalov, deflects the puck enough to send it underneath him. Huge goal for the Ducks to give them a two-goal lead.
8:39 - PHX Penalty - Todd Fedoruk, 2 min. interference Parros drills Prucha in front of the Phoenix bench and Fedoruk comes over to take a shot at Parros. Interference is an odd call, but we'll take it. Gretzky, for one, can't believe the call.
6:30 - The Ducks dodge a bullet when the puck is deflected past a diving Hiller and bounces just wide.
The tennis balls, in their never-ending quest to keep us guessing, are sitting one in front of the other right now, instead of in the same row. I hope everything is okay.
5:07 - Hiller has a little trouble with a bouncing puck after Fedoruk dumps it in from the blue line, but thankfully smothers it just in time.
0:50 - Marchant grabs the puck in the Phoenix zone and gets behind the D, but his wrist shot is blocked by Bryzgalov. Right after the play, Jovanovski dives into Marchant and takes his legs out, leaving both players hurting. Somehow there is no penalty on the play. Jovo heads to the locker room while Marchant grinds through it on the bench.
Do you know the Ducks have played in eight straight one-goal games coming into tonight, tied for the team record? Yeah, I wouldn't mind not breaking that record.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks give up an early one to Prucha, get one from Perry midway through and give one back to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
The Great One is looking really red in the face. Either he's angry or sunburned.
18:37 - The Ducks escape when Hiller makes a nice stop on a redirected puck and holds strong as Steve Reinprecht tries to poke at it.
17:57 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan
, 2 min. holding. Not exactly great timing.
17:05 - Scott Niedermayer tries to send the puck to a wide open Ryan waiting at the blue line, but Ryan is tripped up by referee Chris Lee and goes down. Very bad break for Anaheim. I'm sure Lee isn't all that thrilled with it either.
14:47 - PHOENIX GOAL - SHANE DOAN - Erik Christensen looks like he's heading out of the Anaheim end with the puck, but loses it under passing pressure by a Phoenix player and it ends up on Doan's stick. He skates in on Hiller and sends it underneath him for the goal. It's the fifth of the year for Doan against the Ducks this year, and the most he has against any other opponent this year is two. It's 3-2 Anaheim.
12:35 - Prucha slings a shot on net from the left wing that clangs off the post.
11:38 - Selanne jumps on the puck right off the draw and is off to the races, getting behind the defense and wristing it just wide as Ken Klee starts to take the angle on him. Wow, he can skate. He's 38, ladies and gentlemen.
Kiss Cam has apparently been replaced tonight by Dance Cam, which at least gets the kids involved. Not too shabby.
9:55 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Outstanding play by Ryan Getzlaf, who takes a cross-ice pass from Bobby Ryan and heads toward the net on the left wing. He waits long enough for Zbynek Michalek to slide out of the way in an attempt to block the shot before sending a backhand pass to the top of the crease to a waiting Perry, who chips it through. It's 3-1 Ducks. With the second assist on the play, Bobby Ryan breaks the club rookie record with his 46th point.
8:01 - Todd Fedoruk seems to take offense to Mike Brown skating by Bryzgalov and trying to poke the puke under him as Bryz tries to freeze it. He gives Brown a shove, but that's where it ends.
6:43 - Hiller just does squeeze the leg pads together to stop a Phoenix shot from the point, then looks down to make sure he actually had the puck down there. Slightly frightening moment.
5:33 - ANA Penalty - Petteri Nokelainen, 2 min. hooking. Noke gets his stick lodged under the arm of Dmitri Kalinin. First minor for Anaheim tonight.
4:46 - Scott Niedermayer tries to throw the puck on net from the deep corner and nearly gets it through, as Bryz pins it to the post.
2:10 - Selanne makes the bad choice to skate around the back of the net instead of trying to squeeze the puck in from the side he's already on. And he pays for it when he's drilled by Daniel Winnik.
0:48 - PHOENIX GOAL - PETER PRUCHA - Shane Doan makes a nice move to head down the left wing and fires a shot that's blocked before it gets to net. But it bounces right to Prucha in the slot, and the former Ranger slings it off the inside of the right post and in. It's 2-1 Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Heck of a period for the Ducks, who get goals from Scott Niedermayer and George Parros
to jump in front 2-0.
Chants of "Parros! Parros" from the crowd. Not "Georgie! Georgie!"?
18:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - GEORGE PARROS - On the rush, Christensen throws the puck on net from the left wing and it kicks off Bryzgalov right to Parros, who chips it into the open net. He's absolutely mobbed by the guys on the ice, including Christensen and Mike Brown, as they celebrate his fifth of the season. It's 2-0 Anaheim.
17:50 - Parros charges the net and makes a nice feed to Christensen, who has an open net for the one-timer, but he can't handle it.
16:37 - Christensen tries to jab the puck through after a Ducks redirect try and Bryz holds his ground.
It's trivia time and the dude is asked who Teemu Selanne passed when he scored his 205th career power play goal last Wednesday night. He's given the choices of Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Wayne Gretzky. He guesses Hull and he's ... wrong! It's Gretzky (again, shocking that The Great One is now 13th all time). After the right answer is given, Gretz is shown on the Phoenix bench and gets a nice round of applause from the Honda Center faithful.
14:40 - PHX Penalty - Kyle Turris, 2 min. hooking. Ducks looking to go 2 for 2.
You know, after all this time, "Rockin' in the Free World" is still a pretty damn good song.
11:45 - Corey Perry
gets some room in the slot and wrists it too high.
4:55 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - Chris Pronger lines up and fires a slap shot from straightaway that flies wide enough that Niedermayer is able to redirect it from near the side of the crease into the wide open half of the net. It's 1-0 Ducks.
4:38 - PHX Penalty - Matthew Lombardi, 2 min. high sticking. Ryan gets drilled in the mouth by Lombardi and goes down in a heap. He's okay though.
3:30 - Very little life in this arena so far. But then again, this game hasn't really earned it in the first few minutes.
1:59 - As the puck heads into the Anaheim zone, the whistle is blown as Mike Brown and Brandon Prust go at it in the other corner. Prust was protecting teammate Ed Jovanovski, who had taken a hard check into the wall from Brown. Brown lands a few more shots than Prust and they both head to their boxes for five.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center in another vital one for the Ducks.
5:09 p.m. - Rob Niedermayer is honored at center ice for playing in his 1,000th game last Thursday against Phoenix. He's joined by his wife and their baby daughter (in a tiny Rob Niedermayer jersey) as he's given the Tiffany crystal, a silver hockey stick and a Rolex brought out by brother Scott. Very nice.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; PHX Ilya Bryzgalov
Starting Skaters - ANA Drew Miller, Andrew Ebbett, Teemu Selanne
, Scott Niedermayer, James Wisniewski
; PHX Scottie Upshall, Matthew Lombardi, Mikkel Boedker
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Ryan Carter
; PHX Keith Yandle, Martin Hanzal, Enver Lisin, Brian McGrattan, Joakim Lindstrom, Viktor Tikhonov