|DAL||0||0||0||0||0 (1 - 4)||3|
|ANA||0||0||0||0||1 (2 - 4)||4|
ANAHEIM – The term “better late than never” couldn’t be more appropriate for the Anaheim Ducks.
Seemingly on their way to victory over the visiting Dallas Stars in regulation, the Ducks gave up a shocking late goal to force extra time. But they pulled out the win in a shootout to put the finishing touches on a postseason berth that came via a torrid late stretch to their season.
|Forced to extra time after a late regulation goal, the Ducks pulle out a 4-3 victory over the Stars, and with it came Anaheim's fourth straight postseason berth.
The Ducks appeared poised to run out the clock and seal the victory in regulation, pinning the puck in the Dallas end for most of the final two minutes. But with time running out, the Stars made one last dash for the Anaheim net, and Steve Ott one-timed a shot from the slot past Hiller with 13.1 left on the clock. That was the 40th shot of the game for Dallas, which combined with the Ducks for 84 shots on goal on the night.
When the clock hit triple-zero at the end of regulation, the Ducks actually clinched a playoff berth, since they only needed one standings point after Nashville lost 8-4 in Minnesota in a game that ended during the first period of Ducks-Stars.
But that did little to mask the disappointment of the sellout crowd of 17,531 at Honda Center, which audibly gasped when the Stars found the net with seconds remaining. But their regret turned to elation in the shootout, starting with Getzlaf’s game-saving goal in the third round, a conversion the Ducks needed after Dallas’ James Neal had put the Stars on top in the second round.
Hiller got a break when Mike Modano hit the post on his third round attempt, and Selanne got the game-winner on a pretty start-and-stop move. Selanne skated with fury toward goalie Marty Turco, before skidding to a semi-stop and wristing it over the prone goalie. Hiller followed with an easy save on Loui Eriksson that sealed the game and brought the home crowd to a rousing ovation that was tinged with both jubilation and relief.
It was the 10th win in the last 12 for the Ducks, who recovered from an up-and-down season to charge to their fourth straight postseason berth. "We’ve come together to push us into the playoffs and give us an opportunity to see what we can do there," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. "It’s always nice to have that opportunity. We’ve had more consistency and playing the way we need to."
|Hiller kept the Ducks in it with several huge stops among his 42 on the night.
The Ducks had carried a 3-2 lead into the home stretch of the game thanks to a Andrew Ebbett goal with just over six minutes left in regulation. That goal came just 13 seconds after Dallas’ Fabian Brunnstrom tied the game with 6:17 left, punching in a rebound after both he and Ott took shots on Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
But the Ducks countered even before that goal could be announced, as Teemu Selanne came around the back of the goal to make a pretty feed to Ebbett, who one-timed it inside the near post to regain the Anaheim lead.
The Ducks had initially built a one-goal cushion in that period on Scott Niedermayer’s 14th of the year, one-timing a nice feed from Corey Perry.
That goal was a nice bounce back from a lackadaisical first two periods for Anaheim, which may have been reflective of their four straight days without a game entering tonight. That lull started in the first, when the Ducks were lucky to escape with a 1-0 lead. Todd Marchant potted the only goal midway through the period, off a great cross-ice feed from Rob Niedermayer that set up Marchant to go top shelf.
But the ice was tilted heavily in Dallas’ direction in that period, and again in the next one, and it finally caught up with the Ducks 4:10 into it. Following a Rob Niedermayer hooking penalty, Ott punched in a rebound goal to tie the game 1-1.
We didn’t come out and play the way we wanted to in the start," Scott Niedermayer said. "As the game went on, we just got better and better and back to doing the things that we have done in the last stretch here. That is good.
And Jonas Hiller ensured the Stars would do no further damage, with several huge stops among his 29 over the first two stanzas. He finished with 42 on the night.
It was the first game for Francois Beauchemin since Nov. 14, after the defenseman had been out since Nov. 14 following surgery for a torn ACL. Beauchemin played 15:23 on the third defensive pairing with Sheldon Brookbank.
"Overall, I think I felt alright," Beauchemin said. "I got the puck early on a couple of breakouts, offensive zone faceoffs and all that stuff. I didn’t run out of breath. Conditioning-wise, I felt actually almost better than ever. The knee had no problems. I hit a couple of guys. I didn’t feel a thing tonight. That is good news."
The Ducks headed to the airport soon after the conclusion of the game, where they fly to Phoenix to finish their regular season. But prior to that departure, they took part in Fan Appreciation Night festivities, where they gave their game jerseys to lucky fans picked in a random drawing.
The Ducks will look to hold onto their seventh spot in the Western Conference and could conceivably move to sixth with a victory in Phoenix tomorrow night.
"We’re in," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "You work all year. You start in September with your group and you have visions of playing in the playoffs. It’s a marathon that we just are about to complete with one more game in
With tonight’s win, the Ducks have clinched a berth to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, a franchise record, and the seventh time overall. The Ducks’ first-round opponent and series dates will be announced on Sunday, Apr. 12.
Tonight the Ducks reached the 90-point mark for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in club history.
The Ducks have won two straight, five of the last six games (5-1-0), 10 of the last 12 (10-2-0) and 11-of-14 (11-3-0).
Tonight’s win brought Anaheim’s shootout total to 7-2 on the season. The Ducks have won their last four consecutive shootout appearances.
Andrew Ebbett has earned 3-5=8 points in the last 10 games, including a goal tonight.
With an assist tonight, Teemu Selanne extended his point streak to six games (3-4=7).
Jonas Hiller has won eight of his last nine starts (8-1-0, one no decision), stopping 42-of-45 shots in his 23rd win of the season. During that span, he has stopped 270-of-293 shots for a .922 SV% and 2.34 GAA (23 GA/589 MIN). Hiller has gone 5-1 in the shootout this season.
With an assist tonight, Corey Perry extended his point streak to four games (3-3=6). He also finishes the Ducks 2008-09 regular season on a six-game point streak at HOME, earning 5-3=8 points during that span.
Scott Niedermayer has earned 2-4=6 points in the last five games. His two points tonight (1-1=2) accounted for his 16th multiple-point game of the season (one multi goal, 11 multi-assist).
James Wisniewski has collected six assists (0-6=6) over the last eight games.
Todd Marchant scored his fifth goal of the season and has earned points in consecutive games (1-1=2).
Petteri Nokelainen has earned points in consecutive games (1-1=2).
The Ducks finished the season having sold out five consecutive contests and nine of the last 12. Anaheim finished the 2008-09 regular season with 19 sellouts at Honda Center.
|Todd Marchant (5) ASST: Rob Niedermayer (7), Petteri Nokelainen (5)|
1 - 0 ANA
|PPG - Steve Ott (18) ASST: Ivan Vishnevskiy (2), Matt Niskanen (29)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Scott Niedermayer (14) ASST: Corey Perry (40), James Wisniewski (19)|
2 - 1 ANA
|Fabian Brunnstrom (17) ASST: Steve Ott (27), Mike Ribeiro (55)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Andrew Ebbett (8) ASST: Teemu Selanne (26), Scott Niedermayer (43)|
3 - 2 ANA
|Steve Ott (19) ASST: Fabian Brunnstrom (12), Mike Ribeiro (56)|
3 - 3 Tie
|1||C. Perry||F. Brunnstrom||0 - 0|
|2||B. Ryan||J. Neal||0 - 1|
|3||R. Getzlaf||M. Modano||1 - 1|
|4||T. Selanne||L. Eriksson||2 - 1|
|Marty Turco Hi-sticking against Corey Perry|
|Chris Pronger Cross checking against Steve Ott|
|Mike Ribeiro Slashing against Chris Pronger|
|Mike Ribeiro Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Rob Niedermayer Hooking against James Neal|
|Corey Perry Tripping against Tom Wandell|
|Brendan Morrison Hooking against Erik Christensen|
|Ryan Getzlaf Holding against Brendan Morrison|
|SA: 39||TOI: 64:59|
|Saves: 36||EV: 28 - 31|
|PIM: 2||PP: 7 - 7|
|SV%: .923||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 45||TOI: 65:00|
|Saves: 42||EV: 34 - 36|
|PIM: 0||PP: 7 - 8|
|SV%: .933||SH: 1 - 1|
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