By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
AnaheimDucks.com ANAHEIM – It’s been eight long and rocky months since the Ducks battled the rival Red Wings at Honda Center, but things looked very familiar Tuesday night.
Anaheim, which last played Detroit here in a Game 6 victory during a tense Western Conference Semifinal, triumphed once again with an emphatic 4-1 victory, their fourth home win in the last six against the Wings (including that series) at Honda Center.
And like he was so often in that series, goalie Jonas Hiller was phenomenal, stopping 38 shots and helping the Ducks hold onto a third-period lead.
The only damage done to Hiller came when Detroit made things a little anxious for the Ducks with a goal by Valterri Filppula 11:03 into the third period to make it 2-1 Anaheim. But the Ducks reclaimed that vital two-goal lead when Corey Perry broke a scoreless streak on a connected wrist shot with 6:31 left. Ryan Getzlaf, playing his first game after missing the last four with a leg laceration, picked up a loose puck in the corner before tapping it to Perry for the score. It was the first goal for Perry in the last six and just his second in the last 13.
From there, the Ducks held tight, putting the lid on the game when Kyle Chipchura sent the puck bouncing from his own end into the empty Detroit net with 7.6 left on the clock.
It was a much-needed win for the Ducks, who were coming off a three-game road swing in which they managed no standings points in Dallas, Nashville and Chicago. And it was a nice start for an Anaheim team that needs a serious push for the playoffs as they head into the final 40 games of the season.
Anaheim had leaped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on the 200th career goal by one guy and a first by another.
Saku Koivu hit the double-century mark 5:37 into the period, picking up the puck at the red line and getting just ahead of the defense on his way to the net. While hounded from behind by Brian Rafalski, Koivu got off a shot that trickled under Jimmy Howard, and Koivu was able to get his stick on it to chip it through for the shorthanded goal.
"It was early in the game, so there was a lot of hockey left to be played," Koivu said. "A lot of times when you look at the stats, the teams that score the first goal win. Especially when you get it on the PK like that, your chances to win are a lot greater. We were looking for a good start and when we get that, we’re a lot tougher to beat."
Rookie Matt Beleskey made it 2-0 Ducks just a tick over two minutes later, and seconds after being barely denied on a backhand try following a rebound. This time the 21-year-old was able to get it through, punching in a rebound off a point shot by Sheldon Brookbank.
"It took awhile, but it’s nice to get it off my back," said Beleskey, who was playing in his 24th career game. "Hopefully, there are more to come. Playing with Corey and Getz, they are pretty good guys to play with if you want to score a goal. They moved it up top and then it went d to d. Brookbank took a good shot and I was in the position to whack it in there."
The two goals were the rewards of what Koivu called "a really strong first period. They had a couple of power plays, but our penalty kill got the one goal. We were really aggressive on our PK and that got us the momentum early on in the game. We got those two goals in the first and took a bit of air out of those guys."
The game had the fisticuffs expected of two longtime, bitter rivals. Former Duck Brad May and Anaheim defenseman Sheldon Brookbank each earned 4-minute roughing minors for a fight away from the play in the first period. Bobby Ryan and former teammate Todd Bertuzzi did the same in the third period after Bertuzzi stepped in to defend Brett Lebda. Ryan pulled the jersey off Bertuzzi before falling to the ice.
Drew Miller, another former Duck, was also in the lineup for Detroit. Both he and May were part of that Ducks Stanley Cup championship team in 2007, which went on a magical postseason run that included a six-game series win over these same Red Wings in the conference finals.
That is a distant memory for a Ducks team that is hoping this win might be a boost to a push for playoff position. "Desperation has to take place in our group," said coach Randy Carlyle. " We haven’t won enough. We have to continue to build on the things. We just have to continue to work hard for our breaks."
At HOME, Anaheim has earned standings points in five straight (4-0-1) and in nine of the last 10 contests (7-1-2). The club has also earned points in 12 of the last 14 contests played at Honda Center (10-2-2).
The Ducks improved their record to 8-3-1 vs. Detroit at HOME dating back to Mar. 9, 2003. Including playoff games, the Ducks are 14-5-1 since that date vs. the Red Wings at Honda Center.
Tonight marked Saku Koivu’s 10th career shorthanded goal and first since Dec. 14, 2006 (MTL vs. TB).
Jonas Hiller has gone 6-3-0 in his last nine starts, stopping 279-of-299 shots for a .933 SV % and 2.26 GAA (20 GA/530 MIN) during that span.
Tonight’s attendance was 15,531.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Phenomenal effort from start to finish as the Ducks down the Red Wings, 4-1.
19:52 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - KYLE CHIPCHURA - Chipchura picks the puck up in the circle in his own end and sends it the length of the ice to the abandoned cage. It bounces, bounces bounces and just changes direction enough to sneak inside the post to put this bad boy away, 4-1.
19:10 - Empty net for Detroit.
19:05 - Big stop at a critical time in traffic by Hiller.
Two guys who hugged 27 months ago in London after Ryan's first career goal now are fighting like bitter enemies. How do you not love this game?
18:24 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan and DET Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 4 min. each roughing. Finally things boil over but with Bertuzzi stepping in for Lebda to take on Ryan, who drags the jersey off Bert before going down to the ice. Bert falls on top of him before it's broken up and Ryan heads to the locker room. Chants of "Bobby! Bobby!" from the crowd. Like it.
18:10 - BR and Brett Ledba going eye to eye as they head up the ice, but Ledba doesn't go for it.
17:05 - Sexton beats Rafalski to a puck sent deep, showing off some serious speed. Crowd approves.
16:12 - Bodie delivers a hit and then takes one seconds later. 15:15 - Hiller escapes when Filppula just misses filling an open net on a rebound.
13:29 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - I take it back. Rafalski can't handle the puck behind the Detroit net and it goes to Getzlaf. He taps it off a Detroit player to Perry, who wrists it high and through for his 17th of the year. First goal in the last six and second in the last 13 for Perry, who is glad to have Getzlaf back. More importantly, it's 3-1 home team with 6:31 left.
13:21 - Ducks being outshot 13-6 in this period. On their heels just a bit.
11:03 - DETROIT GOAL - VALTERRI FILPPULA - With Holmstrom draped all over him, Hiller is able to stop a shot from the point by Lidstrom, but Filppula picks up the fat rebound (with Hiller actually looking behind himself for the puck) and backhands it through with Holmstrom still blocking Hiller's view. It's now 2-1 Ducks with 8:57 left.
10:15 - Artyukhin plows his way in tight and takes a shot that Howard sweeps away toward Nokelainen, whose rebound try either hits a sprawling Howard or Atyukhin or both.
5:55 - Getzlaf with a tremendous job to poke the puck away from a Wing and keep it in the zone. Man, I missed him.
5:02 - DET Penalty - Kirk Maltby, 2 min. goaltender interference. Hiller stonewalls Maltby just before Maltby slams into him (with help from a Nokelainen push).
4:44 - Bodie works his tail off to chase a puck and avoid an Anaheim icing call. Nicely done, kiddo.
2:20 - May emerges from behind the net and tries to force a backhand under Hiller to no avail. Think we wouldn't have loved a goal against his old team?
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - Nothing off the twine in that period, but the Ducks stubbornly hold on to their 2-0 lead.
18:33 - Loose puck at the feet of Niedermayer and a splayed out Hiller, and Bertuzzi tries to punch it in but is stopped by the Hiller skate. Bert not happy and I'm fine with that.
17:29 - Hell hath frozen over as Petteri Nokelainen gets in a heated brawl away from the play, with Derek Meech. Both throw a couple of furious punches before dragging each other down. The tussle may have stemmed from a hit by Nokelainen on Meech behind the Detroit net seconds earlier.
17:05 - ANA Penalty - Kyle Chipchura, 2 min. high sticking. Chipchura chips Maltby in the face near mid-ice.
16:54 - Marchant races to the puck with Brad Stuart and is able to get a one-handed swing on it to send it on net. It crawls up Howard and back down before Stuart sweeps it out of the blue paint.
A "LET'S GO DU-UCKS" chant from the crowd combines with a "LET'S GO WI-INGS" chant from the visiting fans and sounds a little like "LET'S GO DU-UNGS"
10:50 - Whitney fires from the point, and it trickles behind Howard but just wide.
Giant flourescent sign in the crowd held up by Haili Todrick and her family that says, I MISS YOU, DREW. If you don't know the story, click here. Warning: You will cry.
9:32 - Perry is wide open to fire a one-timer from the low circle, but Howard gets in great position.
Oh, by the way, on that kill following the Eminger penalty -- FREE TACOS!
4:40 - Bad turnover by Whitney turns into an open shot on the rush by Eaves that goes wide. As he heads up ice, he and Getzy are doing some serious jousting.
3:50 - Lots of action in front of the Ducks net, but no damage. Roar from the crowd as the puck is cleared down the ice as the penalty expires.
1:57 - ANA Penalty - Steve Eminger, 2 min. interference. Away from the puck, Eminger absolutely blasts Helm in front of the Detroit bench. Heck of a hit. Almost worth the penalty.
1:38 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank and DET Penalty - Brad May, 4 min. each roughing. Trailing the play, Sheldon Brookbank and Brad May tangle against the wall. Hard to see what happened, but May ends up on top of Brookbank. Both appear to be smiling at each other in the boxes.
1:24 - Hiller snags a Bertuzzi shot high out of the air with the mitt.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Very good one for the Ducks, who gets goals from Koivu and Beleskey and fired 15 at Howard.
Awesome cheer from the crowd when they show the overtime game-winner on the video board during a break in the action.
18:35 - Troy Bodie drops the gloves with Doug Janik, and after some serious clutching and grabbing, Bodie misses with a right before he's tugged down to the ice, Janik over him feigning an extra punch.
Team USA has won it in overtime! Goal by John Carlson (Capitals prospect) on a 2-on-1 rush to win it.
17:10 - Maltby gets on the breakaway after being Ryan and Whitney to a loose puck and with pressure from behind from Ryan, shoots a wrister off Hiller. Big stop.
16:10 - DET Penalty - Brad May, 2 min. holding. A shot for the Ducks to pour it on.
15:50 - Koivu steals the puck just inside the blue line and feeds Ryan who wrists from the slot and hits the very, very, VERY inside of the post. So much so, that it just missed the other post on the ricochet. Unreal.
Okay, it's NOT 10 minutes of OT and then shootout for the World Juniors final. I was misinformed. It's 20 minutes of overtime right now.
14:45 - Nice stop Hiller on a Abdelkader one-timer.
14:06 - Koivu gets on yet another breakaway with Rafalski pestering him from behind. He moves to his forehand and shoots it high into Howard. Nice effort nonetheless.
12:47 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. goaltender interference. With Maltby all over him, Perry goes sliding on his knees into Howard and gets the 2. Not the first time. Not the first time the crowd booed it either.
12:00 - Lidstrom knocks a rolling puck out of the blue paint. Yeah, he's still good.
201 career goals combined between the first two Ducks goal-scorers tonight. Of course, Koivu has 200 of those.
11:03 - DET Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. hooking. Getzlaf takes a shot from the Wing that turns into a perfect rebound toward Beleskey, who probably would have had a second goal if not being sent to the ice by the Bertuzzi hook. It still went just under the stick blade of Beleskey.
During the timeout, the eight Ducks Olympians are honored country by country with the loudest ovation coming for Bobby Ryan making Team USA. He's shown live on the bench and draws a roar, and when he looks up noticing it's him on the video board, he manages a quick tight-lipped smile.
8:55 - Ryan drills Valtteri Filppula against the wall, pleasing a crowd that was just booing as the Wings took way too long behind their own net.
7:38 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - Beleskey finally gets rewarded as another rebound comes off Howard following a Brookbank point shot and Beleskey is right there to punch it through. First career goal for the 21-year-old Beleskey and it's 2-0 Ducks.
7:10 - Ducks nearly get another one when a loose puck is picked up by Beleskey and he spins to fire a backhander that's saved by a couple of sliding Wings defenseman as Howard is out of position.
5:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - Koivu picks up a lost puck at center ice and gets behind the defense on the way to the net. While being hounded from behind by Brian Rafalski, he's able to protect it enough to fire a shot that Howard stops initially. But it trickles away from Howard and Koivu is able to chip it behind him. The crowd reacts with an "Aww ... YEAH!!!" while witnessing the save followed by the surprising goal. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
USA and Canada going to overtime. It's 10 minutes of OT and then a shootout if it's still tied. Really though?
4:40 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. slashing. Getzlaf making his presence felt early.
Team USA just gave up two quick ones to lose a 5-3 lead in the World Juniors. It's 5-5 with a minute and a half left.
2:40 - Brad May out there in the red and white. Yeah, I don't like it.
1:10 - Nice kick save Hiller on a slap shot by ... I'm not sure.
0:05 - Ryan Getzlaf on the ice for the first time after missing four straight.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Moment of silence for Angels TV broadcaster Rory Markas, who passed away suddenly yesterday evening. That's followed by a nice anthem by Brad Haynes. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.