By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – It wasn’t pretty, but the Ducks aren’t all that interested in cosmetics these days.
An Anaheim team that could use all the wins it can get, raced out to a four-goal lead but was forced to hang on by a thread to earn a 4-3 decision over the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. It was the second straight win for the Ducks and some payback for a shootout loss in the desert exactly a week ago.
"Considering how the last few weeks have gone here, it’s good to come out with a couple of wins here at home," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. "Home ice is important and you want to take advantage of it. We haven’t been able to do that, but the last two we have. We’re heading in the right direction right now."
|Mike Brown's goal in the third ultimately loomed large, as the Ducks gave up three unanswered later in the period.
Goals by Teemu Selanne
, Bobby Ryan
, Corey Perry
and Mike Brown gave Anaheim a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead with 16 1/2 minutes to go in the game. But a never-say-die Phoenix team clawed back with two goals in a 38-second span and another on the power play from Shane Doan with 5:24 remaining.
"You have to give them credit," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "They did not go away."
That forced the Ducks to buckle down over the home stretch, and they managed to avoid any further damage to earn their second straight victory.
"Some of our losses earlier in the season were bad bounces," said James Wisniewski
, who returned after serving a two-game suspension for a hit in that last game in Phoenix. "I don’t think we played all that poorly, but sometimes if you don’t get the right breaks at the right time, then you’re not going to win games. Now, with our hard work, dedication and the way we’re playing by keeping it simple, getting pucks in deep and grinding it out, breaks are coming our way."
The Ducks built a three-goal lead thanks to two big second-period goals from their two hottest scorers, Bobby Ryan
and Corey Perry
. Ryan potted his fifth in the last six games with 7:16 left in the period, racing down the right wing and firing a wrist shot that hit the inside of the far post and caromed in.
Perry connected less than five minutes later, on a play set up by a great long pass out of the zone by Wisniewski, who sent the puck ahead to Ryan Getzlaf
in the attacking zone. Getzlaf fed to the slot to Perry, who controlled the puck and flipped it over Ilya Bryzgalov’s shoulder.
It was the seventh goal in the last six games for Perry, who is riding a career-high eight-game points streak.
Mike Brown made it 4-0 Anaheim 3:31 into the final period, whipping a shot on net right off the faceoff for his second goal of the year.
But Jonas Hiller
’s bid for his second straight shutout was spoiled by Keith Yandle at 6:27, as Getzlaf made a dangerous pass across the middle and Yandle intercepted it before wristing it top shelf.
As that goal was being announced, Scottie Upshall made a slick move through the legs of defenseman Ryan Whitney before reaching around the defenseman and backhanding the puck through.
Anaheim still had a two-goal cushion, which became one when Doan pounced on a rebound in front of Hiller and poked the puck under him.
But despite several more scoring chances down the stretch, the Ducks held down the fort, and when Bryzgalov headed to the bench for an extra attacker, the Coyotes were unable to generate much.
The Ducks improved to 6-7-2, while a Phoenix team that is off to one of its best starts in recent memory fell to 10-7-0. It was yet another close contest between the Pacific Division rivals, who have had eight of their past 15 games together go to overtime (including seven shootouts).
opened the scoring for the Ducks on the power play just 2:49 after the opening faceoff, thanks in part to an early holding penalty by Adrian Aucoin. Selanne received a pass in the slot from Scott Niedermayer and wristed it past Bryzgalov, who was screened by Saku Koivu
The Ducks defense was able to hold Phoenix for more than 46 minutes, after not giving up a goal for the entire 60 two nights ago against Nashville. Few could have foreseen they’d be forced to cling to a one-goal lead in the closing minutes.
"In the middle of the third period, we went out and gave them life," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "It was almost like we stood around and watched them skate. That is what happens in these games. The momentum swings back and forth. You can’t critique a win. We won the hockey game. We’ll take the two points and move on."
Anaheim begins a four-game swing through the eastern part of the country this Wednesday at New Jersey.
"We want to get on this road trip now and continue to get better," Niedermayer said. "We are playing better hockey and that is why we’re getting some results now. We have to continue to build on it."
Added Wisniewski, "It’s perfect with us getting two wins in a row at home, where we were struggling. It was surprising because we were at home for such a long time. Now, we go on a tough road trip with four games in six days. It might be a good thing for us because of how well we’re playing. We’ll see what we can do."
The Ducks have killed 13-of-14 penalties (92.9% success rate) dating back to Oct. 31 at Phoenix and 16-of-18 penalties (88.9%) dating back to Oct. 30 vs. Vancouver.
The Ducks have earned standings points in seven consecutive games vs. Phoenix (5-0-2) dating back to Jan. 4, 2009.
With an assist tonight, Ryan Getzlaf
extended his assist streak to seven games (0-11=11), one game short of tying his career high of eight games (Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2008; 5-12=17). His assist streak is the longest current streak in the NHL. He also extended his season-high point streak to eight games (1-11=12), which along with Corey Perry
and Dallas’ Brad Richards is the second-longest current point streak in the league (OTT’s Alfredsson has a current nine-game streak).
With his goal tonight, Corey Perry
extended his point streak to a career-high eight games (7-5=12). His eight-game point streak is tied for the second-longest current streak in the NHL.
had his shutout sequence snapped at a career-high 117:14 over three games dating back to Nov. 3 vs. PIT (previously 101:30 (three games), Nov. 22-30, 2008). In his last two contests, Hiller has stopped 67-of-70 shots for a 1.50 GAA (3 GA/120 MIN) and .957 SV%.
With a goal tonight, Mike Brown has matched his career high for goals in a season with two (also 2008-09). It was the fourth game-winning goal of his career (second of the season). All but one of his five career NHL goals have been a game-winner.
has a four-game point streak (4-1=5) and has scored goals in each of the last two games.
With his sixth goal of the season, Bobby Ryan
extended his point streak to three games (2-1=3).
Scott Niedermayer recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season with two assists tonight (0-2=2). He has earned 0-3=3 points in the last three games and 1-7=8 points in the last seven.
In the last three contests in which he’s appeared, James Wisniewski
has a three-game assist streak (0-5=5).
has recorded points in each of the last two games (1-1=2). The last time he recorded points in consecutive games was from Apr. 5-10, 2009 (1-1=2, two games).
Tonight’s attendance was 15,269.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks make it interesting, but they manage to hold on for a 4-3 win.
19:57 - Ryan steals the puck from Yandle and sends it toward the empty net, but it's way wide. No matter, though, the clock runs out as the puck bounces in the corner.
19:05 - Bryz to the bench.
19:00 - Getzlaf picks off a pass in the Phoenix end, feeds Ryan, but his shot hits Bryz's pads.
17:35 - Mike Brown with a big steal of the puck in the Phoenix end. Love that guy.
15:46 - Timeout as the Ducks have to hold strong over the final 4:14.
15:40 - Ducks dodge a bullet as Hiller goes down and Hanzal has an open net, but he's off balance and fires it way high. Hanzal ... he's so hot right now.
14:36 - PHOENIX GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SHANE DOAN - Just as Koivu and Upshall rejoin the scene out of the boxes, Lombardi fires a shot from the slot that hits Hiller high and the puck drops in front of him. Doan is right there to punch it through. Now it's gut-check time as the Ducks have given up three unanswered in the period and lead it 4-3.
14:15 Big save Hiller, big clear Marchant.
13:57 - HIller dramatically snags the puck out of the air with the glove on a Lang one-timer.
13:05 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Whitney, 2 min. holding. Whitney takes down Hanzal behind the Ducks net.
12:30 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu
, 2 min. roughing and PHX Penalty - Scottie Upshall, 2 min. each roughing. A little bit of extracurricular in front of the benches.
12:20 - Mike Brown provides a big momentum change when he levels Prucha in the slot after a long stretch in the Anaheim end.
10:40 - Getzlaf nicely pauses and gathers the puck as Schlemko goes on his belly to block a shot, but Getzlaf's try goes too high.
9:43 - Phoenix continues to apply the pressure, getting close to another goal. Lupul finally ices the puck and Carlyle wisely takes a timeout to rest the unit that has to stay out there while Phoenix changes.
7:05 - PHOENIX GOAL - SCOTTIE UPSHALL - Upshall takes a pass from behind the extended goal line from Lombardi and makes a nifty move to send it through the legs of Whitney before reaching around the defenseman and backhanding it home. It's 4-2 Ducks as Phoenix gets back in this game.
6:27 - PHOENIX GOAL - KEITH YANDLE - Getzlaf has a bad turnover, trying to send the puck across the middle from the wall, where Yandle intercepts and snaps a shot top shelf. It's 4-1 Ducks as Hiller's try for a second straight shutout is wiped out.
5:40 - Doan gets on a breakaway, where he's hounded from behind by Wisniewski and Hiller makes a nice kick save to stonewall him.
4:22 - PHX Penalty - Matthew Lombardi, 2 min. high sticking. When it rains, it pours, as Phoenix takes another minor when Lombardi gets Whitney in the cheek with the stick.
3:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MIKE BROWN - Brown gets his second of the year (both in the last five games) one second after the faceoff. Marchant wins the draw, sending it backward to the top of the circle, where Brown pounces and fires a wrist shot that Bryzgalov hardly moves on. It's 4-0 Ducks.
0:49 - PHX Penalty - Adrian Aucoin, 2 min. holding. Chance for the Ducks to bury Phoenix.
0:15 - Coyotes look to have a very early goal when Radim Vrbata knocks down a flying puck and backhands it past Hiller. But it's waved off as officials rule (correctly) he played it out of the air with a high stick, meaning no Coyote (including Vrbata) can play it before a Duck touches it.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - Phenomenal period for the Ducks, who get goals from Ryan and Perry to go in front, 3-0.
19:13 - Ryan pastes Robert Lang into the wall in the corner.
17:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Wisniewski makes a great 50-foot pass from out of the Ducks' end to Getzlaf, who feeds a charging Perry in the slot. Perry controls the puck and flips it over Bryzgalov's left shoulder for his team-leading 11th of the season. It's 3-0 Ducks.
16:55 - Ducks get a couple of chances in front, but nothing doing.
14:55 - Shaun Heshka, 2 min. delay of game. From deep in the corner, Heshka launces it over the glass. Not a good play.
12:44 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Ryan races down the left wing with Martin Hanzal only putting mild pressure on him. He gets to the top of the right wing circle and slings a wrist shot to the only spot where it can beat Bryzgalov, the inside of the far post. It gives a satisfying"ting" before ricocheting in and it's 2-0 Ducks. Fifth goal in the last six games for the kid.
Kiss Cam is on and my girlfriend and dad are sitting together tonight. So, I'm understandably tense. Phew, we escape. They do catch one of our gals in HR, who kisses her husband through an incredibly thick goatee.
11:20 - Ducks get close as Niedermayer flutters it on net and Brown gets a piece of it. But Bryz is too good.
9:55 - Whitney walks in deep and fires with a lot of room in the left wing circle, but Bryzgalov saves despite wearing a Corey Perry
8:20 - PHX Penalty - David Schlemko, 2 min. holding. Schlemko grabs onto Joffrey Lupul
5:53 - After a Hiller freeze, Mikkelson and Vernon Fiddler do a littling pushing and shoving and Fiddler appears to take a swing. No penalty.
5:13 - A little confusion as to who belongs on the ice after the Ducks ice it. Finally, Selanne skates off.
3:10 - Perry is able to bump the puck out of the zone despite having lost his stick. Nice play.
1:20 - Daniel Winnik takes a deflected puck off the face and skates off in some discomfort.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Selanne's power play strike is the extent of the excitement as the Ducks lead it 1-0 after one.
18:00 - Ryan and Whitney double up to drill Doan after he delivers a pass. He's taken his share of checks from Ducks lately.
16:00 - Not a ton of action in the period since the Selanne goal. Ducks outshooting Phoenix, 10-6.
14:30 - Hiller pops out to the top of the crease to make a nice save on a Shane Doan slot shot.
11:59 - Nice stop in the gut by Hiller on a long James Vandermeer slap shot, just as the penalty is expiring.
10:30 - Nice blocked shot by Wisniewski on a Vrbata shot. Making his presence felt in his first game back after missing two with a suspension.
9:59 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. hooking.
8:40 - Somewhat uneven power play, especially compared to the first one, and the Coyotes kill.
7:40 - Lupul tries to sneak one in from near the left post, but Brygalov stops and smothers it.
6:40 - PHX Penalty - Petr Prucha, 2 min. delay of game. Prucha sends it inadvertantly over the glass while trying to flip it out of his end.
2:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Selanne does it again on the power play, taking a pass in the slot from Niedermayer and effortlessly wristing it past Bryzgalov, who was well-screened by another Finn, Saku Koivu. Early lead for the boys in black.
1:47 - PHX Penalty - Adrian Aucoin, 2 min. holding. Aucoin grabs onto Bobby Ryan
near the left wing wall.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:08 p.m. - In an incredibly cute moment, each of the starting Ducks are fronted by little kid skaters (half of them girls) for the anthem, in honor of California Hockey Day. Each one of them is tapped on the leg by the Ducks they stand in front of, only Joffrey Lupul apparently decided he didn't tap hard enough, so he waited five seconds and did it again. For some reason, struck me as funny. Then a very opera-like version of the anthem is delivered by a woman named Dorcus Preston. The high note she hits on "freeeee" was something to witness.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; PHX Ilya Bryzgalov
Starting Skaters - ANA Steve Eminger, Ryan Whitney, Teemu Selanne
, Saku Koivu
, Joffrey Lupul
; PHX Keith Handle, Sami Lepisto, Martin Hanzal, Taylor Pyatt, Radim Vrbata
Scratches - ANA Sheldon Brookbank
, Erik Christensen; PHX Paul Bissonnette
Full Lineups/Game Notes