ANAHEIM – With a couple of big guns missing for the Ducks, one Bobby Ryan picked up the slack in a big way.
Ryan scored his 18th and 19th goals of the season and assisted on a third as his Ducks hung on for a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in front of 16,960 at Honda Center.
Ryan had two goals and an assist in helping the Ducks to a 3-1 victory.
Anaheim was playing its first full game without leading points producer Ryan Getzlaf, still nursing a leg laceration suffered Saturday night in San Jose. And the Ducks played their 12th game without Teemu Selanne (fractured bone in his hand), a stretch in which Ryan has eight goals and seven assists.
"We came out hard tonight," Ryan said. "The guys were prepared. When a guy like Getzy goes down, it really impacts everybody around the room. We said before that some guys need to step up."
Ryan’s three points tonight helped the Ducks carry a 3-1 lead deep into the third period, but things got tenuous until Todd Marchant scored an empty-netter with 9.6 left in the game.
Minnesota had pulled to within a goal with 6:53 remaining when Kim Johnsson fired a one-timer from the point on the power play under the arm of goalie Jonas Hiller.
The Wild threatened to tie it in the final minute after Nick Boynton was charged with a high sticking minor after teammate Sheldon Brookbank got Minnesota’s Andrew Brunette in the mouth following a big Hiller stop. The Wild had a 6-on-4 advantage after pulling goalie Josh Harding, but the Ducks thwarted it when Marchant banked the puck to himself off the wall and gently laid it into the empty net.
"They had just scored a goal and we had just had a PK a minute before," Saku Koivu said. "The same guys were out there for the last five or six minutes. You start to feel a little bit of fatigue, but you try to forget what the score is and how much time is left. You just go out there and do whatever it takes to kill a penalty."
The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Ducks as they played their first home game in 10 days and their last of 2009. Minnesota, once last in the Western Conference earlier this season, entered tonight 13-4-1 in its last 18 games.
Ryan, a hopeful for the Team USA Olympic squad that will be named Friday, first struck 7:07 into the game, intercepting a Derek Boogaard pass and darting into the Minnesota end before firing a wrist shot from the slot over Harding's glove.
Minnesota tied it on an Antti Miettinen goal with 4:19 left in the first, but the Ducks quickly reclaimed the lead when Ryan set up a Dan Sexton goal just 35 seconds later. After weaving into the attacking zone, Ryan slid a pass across the slot to the rookie, who caught and fired it over a lunging Harding for his sixth goal in 12 games.
"Chipping a puck in, going after it and making their defense uncomfortable going back to get it, all those little things contributed to getting 17 shots in the first," Ryan said.
Ryan added to the Ducks lead with 1:16 left in the second period with the Ducks on the power play. Three seconds after an Eric Belanger penalty – which had set up an Anaheim 5 on 3 – expired, Saku Koivu made a beautiful pass across the crease to Ryan, who batted it into the wide open net. That gave Ryan 100 points for his career (55 goals, 45 assists).
The second line of Ryan, Koivu and Sexton combined for six points and a plus-seven rating in the game.
That second period had plenty of other action, starting with a fight between Nick Boynton and Wild heavyweight Derek Boogaard in which Boogaard received a 10-minute misconduct for throwing punches on Boynton after the two had tumbled to the ice. In the fray, linesman Tony Sericolo suffered a rib injury and left the ice soon afterward. He came back briefly in the second but missed part of the third period while getting x-rays.
The fallout from that fight carried over into the next faceoff, as Troy Bodie and Minnesota big man John Scott dropped the gloves, and Scott pushed intervening linesman Lonnie Cameron aside before he and Bodie exchanged blows. Both players received unsportsmanlike conduct minors and 10-minute misconducts.
The Ducks, who have earned standings points in four straight home games and eight of the last nine, head out tomorrow for a three-game road swing that starts Thursday in Dallas.
"We know going onto the road we’re going into some tough buildings," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "The first one is the most important one in Dallas. No matter who we have in our lineup and who is available to us, we have to be prepared to compete."
Added Ryan, "We’ve been in desperation mode for 10 to 15 games here. All the other teams are winning too. Everybody is getting points with us. This is a very critical part of the season. We are going to have to win some road games in January. We have a tough road ahead, but it’s a pretty good group right now."
Bobby Ryan matched a career high with 2-1=3 points tonight (sixth time, last: Oct. 30, 2009 vs. VAN, 2-1=3). His third point tonight accounted for his 100th career NHL point (55-45=100). His 19 goals on the season are tied for the league-lead among US-born players (also TB’s Malone with 19). He has earned points in nine of the last 10 games (6-7=13).
Todd Marchant appeared in his 300th game as a Duck tonight, scoring his second shorthanded goal of the season (27 career).
James Wisniewski had his fourth multi-point game of the season (14th career, last: Oct. 30 vs. VAN, 0-3=3) with two assists tonight (0-2=2).
Saku Koivu also recorded two assists tonight (0-2=2) for his fifth multi-point game of the season.
Jonas Hiller has gone 5-1-0 in his last six games, stopping 171-of-183 shots for a .934 SV% and 2.05 GAA (12 GA/352 MIN).
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks hang on for a 4-2 victory.
19:50 - ANAHEIM GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - TODD MARCHANT - With the Wild on a 6-on-4 advantage, Marchant bangs the puck off the wall and races by Marek Zidlicky to recover it. He's got nothing in front of him but an empty net and softly lays the puck in it to put this bad boy away at 4.2 with 9.6 seconds left.
19:25 - Huge clear down the ice for Koivu as the Wild net is empty.
19:12 - ANA Penalty - Nick Boynton, 2 min. high sticking. Hiller makes a nice save with the Wild on top of him, but the Ducks pay the price. Brookbank gets Brunette in the mouth with the stick, but they give the penalty to Boynton.
18:51 - Huge kill for Anaheim. No taco, but worth much more.
18:45 - Harding starts to head to the bench, but comes back when Marchant gets the puck.
16:51 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Wow.
13:07 - MINNESOTA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - KIM JOHNSSON - Johnsson gets a pass fromMikko Koivu and fires a one-timer from the point that somehow sneaks under Hiller's arm. The only traffic in front was from Andrew Brunette, who leaped out of the way of the puck. It's now 3-2 Ducks.
12:55 - Koivu charges down the wing shorthanded, spins and fires a backhander into the mitt.
It's not a Ducks game until Power Player Tara is shown on the video board holding a baby.
12:06 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. high sticking. The rookie tries to plead his case to the official on the way to the box.
11:36 - Not much for the Ducks on that power play, which is too bad. A three-goal lead would have been juicy.
9:36 - MIN Penalty - Antti Miettinen, 2 min. tripping. Miettinen takes down Sexton. That was a very anti-Miettinen call.
Word on the street is that George Parros is in one of our staffer's offices making a cardboard fighting belt for Nick Boynton to commemorate his tangle with Boogaard.
8:48 - Carter's clearly not feeling tentative on that foot, as he gets in the face of Cal Clutterbuck after Clutterbuck had been knocked to the ice by Perry following a Hiller save and whistle.
6:40 - Kind of a big stop by Hiller, who hangs on to a puck shot through traffic by Miettinen.
Now we're hearing that linesman Tony Sericolo is having X-rays on an injured rib and is questionable to return.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
2nd Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Neither team finds the net until late, as the Ryan socks one through on the power play with 1:16 left to put Anaheim up 3-1.
18:44 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - Three seconds after the first penalty expires, Koivu gets the puck in the low left wing circle and makes a gorgeous feed through the crease to Ryan, who bats it into the wide open net. Second of the game for BR, his 100th career point and it's 3-1 Ducks.
18:09 - Whitney fires from the circle into Harding's glove.
17:27 - Ducks take timeout to discuss how they are definitely going to pot one on thie 5 on 3.
17:27 - MIN Penalty - Kyle Brodziak, 2 min. holding. As the Wild head up ice shorthanded, Brodziak holds back Perry at center ice.
16:41 - MIN Penalty - Eric Belanger, 2 min. slashing. First man advantage for the fifth-ranked power play in the NHL.
14:30 - Linesman Tony Sericolo back out there.
13:53 - A weird period just gets weirder as Perry weaves into the zone and fires a seemingly innocuous shot that hits high off Harding and he keels over in pain. A second look shows that the puck caught Harding under the mask around the neck. (And yes, I just used the word "innocuous.")
12:26 - ANA Penalty - Troy Bodie and MIN Penalty - John Scott, 2 min. each unsportsmanlike conduct and 10 min. misconducts each. Right off the draw, more fighting as the Ducks are still fired up about Boogaard, and this one has a little extra intrigue. John Scott of the Wild physically pushes linesman Lonnie Cameron out of the way to fight Troy Bodie, leading the officials to jump in to break it up before it starts. Somehow both Bodie and Scott get matching penalties, maybe because both tried to fight after officials tried to stop it.
12:24 - Linesman Tony Sericolo limps off the ice to the dressing room, as he was hurt breaking up the Boynton-Boogaard fight.
11:53 - Boynton reluctantly gets into it with giant Derek Boogaard away from the puck. It's a lot of jersey tugging before Boogaard lands a couple of rights to Boynton's head and Boynton swings and misses before falling to the ice. Add a 10-minute misconduct for Boogaard to the five for fighting for each, presumably for the extra punches he threw before it was over. He got an earful from Saku Koivu on his way to the box.
11:30 - Bobby Ryan just did the hockey version of breaking someone's ankles with a crossover dribble, as he makes a cut near the red line and a Minnesota defender spills to the ice.
10:45 - Ryan Carter very active tonight. Good to see him back in there.
9:10 - Sexton scoops up a rolling puck and fires it off Harding. About a half-second late on that shot.
8:20 - Artyukhin uses his speed and size to plow down the ice, but can't get an angle on a shot.
7:34 - Close one as Carter kicks the puck into the painted area while nearly on top of Harding, but no one is there to get a stick on it before Harding covers.
7:06 - Hiller sucks in a ripped slap shot from the circle by Nolan.
I'll tell you what, this is a big crowd we've got here tonight. Good to see. I'm guessing some people got Ducks tickets in their stockings.
3:03 - Kill. Taco.
1:03 - ANA Penalty - Nick Boynton, 2 min. tripping. Boynton doesn't think so.
You know something I'll never understand? The appeal of Nickelback.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A nice one for the home team, who get goals from Ryan and Sexy on their way to a 2-1 lead.
19:50 - Ten seconds left in the first, which seems to have gone by in a flash for some reason.
Blake from Irvine (former home of Adam Brady before moving three months ago) is asked in which category do the Ducks hold a team record asgainst the Wild. Most PP goals in one period, most SH goals in one game or most goals in one period? He guesses No. 2 and he's dead wrong. It's No. 1. The Ducks had four PP goals in the second period against Minnesota on Dec. 14 of 2007.
16:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL - DAN SEXTON - Ryan makes things happen again, slaloming into the Minnesota zone before sliding a pass to his left across the slot to Sexton. Big Sexy catches and fires it over a lunging Harding and the Ducks quickly re-claim the lead. Sixth of the year for Sexton in 12 games.
15:41 - MINNESOTA GOAL - ANTTI MIETTINEN - Festerling loses the puck to Andrew Brunette in the corner and Brunette crashes in on Hiller. His shot bounces off the goal, but Miettinen is there to chip the rebound into the open left half of the net. I'm feeling pretty anti Miettinen right now and it's 1-1.
Wild's website says that Harding has given up the game's first goal in six of seven starts this year.
14:30 - Boynton makes up for turning over the puck by diving to knock it away from Owen Nolan during a charge down the left wing.
Prime Ticket shows pictures of the burned Wild equipment from the truck fire a week and a half ago. Brutal.
9:15 - Bodie fires on net, in his first game with the Ducks this season.
My co-worker friend who loves to text with a joking reminder of the fact we took Bobby Ryan over Anze Kopitar with the second pick in 2005, just sent one after that last goal: "We could have had Kopitar." Pretty happy with that pick these days.
8:37 - Carter tests that foot early, drilling Nick Schultz behind the cage, then picking up the puck and trying to force it under Harding before tumbling to the ice. He nearly got it too.
7:08 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Ryan does it all himself, intercepting a pass by Derek Boogaard at the red line, then darting into the attacking zone before firing a wrist shot high glove. It's the 18th of the year for B Ry and it's 1-0 Ducks.
5:33 - Nice stop by Hiller as Kim Johnsson whips a shot on net from the circle.
3:40 - Ducks on the doorstep on a couple of occasions.
1:10 - Nice pass across the crease by Koivu to Ryan, who shoots it right into Harding.
0:10 - Ryan Carter gets the start in his first game after missing 22 with a broken foot.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Beautiful job on the anthem by Jennifer Dunnigan. Starters in bold/italics.