ANAHEIM – It’s been 27 months since the Ducks last hosted the Boston Bruins at Honda Center, on a night when Anaheim lifted its Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.
It’s a moment well in the past by now, but the Ducks once again looked like a playoff contender again with a gutsy 4-3 comeback victory over the Bruins that marked the fifth straight win for Anaheim.
"It was a great game coming back from being down 3-2 after two periods," said Jonas Hiller, who turned in another solid night. "It was not easy to come back after the second, which was tough not getting a lot of shots and getting scored on three times. At the end, you add up the 60 minutes, that is what counts and we found a way to win.
Trailing by a goal going into the third, the Ducks got a tying tally by Ryan Getzlaf and went ahead for good on defenseman Steve Eminger’s first in an Anaheim uniform. From there, the Ducks defense and still-hot goalie Hiller hung on over the final 12 minutes to secure another big victory as the Ducks battle to get into playoff position.
Hiller had 27 stops on the night, including a few point-blank Boston tries in the feverish final moments. That included a 6-on-4 in the last minute following an Anaheim penalty and pulled goalie Tuukka Rask.
"I was definitely happy with my game in the third period," Hiller said.
Getzlaf knotted the game at 3-3 with the 100th goal of his career, a high wrist shot from the slot off an odd-man rush feed from James Wisniewski. The Ducks defenseman played a very strong game at both ends after suffering an injury during Boston’s first goal of the game.
Eminger potted the game winner 8:07 into the period after a Bobby Ryan shot from the circle bounced high off Rask and came down just short of the stripe, where Eminger helped it through.
"I’m definitely happy about it," Eminger said of his goal. "My last one was the last game of last season. It’s been awhile. The main thing was keeping the streak alive. It’s five in a row now. That is a big streak for us coming into the second half of the season here. I’m excited to be part of it and have a game-winner".
The win was the sixth straight at home for the Ducks and the second over the Bruins this season, including a 6-1 victory in Boston last October.
Anaheim lost an early lead and fell behind during a rough second period that saw Boston score three times. Zdeno Chara struck first 4:00 into the middle session after the Bruins got an opportunity when Wisniewski slammed awkwardly into the wall behind the Anaheim net. The Ducks tried to scramble as Chara fired a point shot through traffic into the back of the net.
The Bruins went up a goal a little more than three minutes later when Matt Hunwick one-timed a Mark Recchi feed.
The Ducks evened the score 11:47 into the period when rookie Matt Beleskey got his fourth goal in the last five games. Rask had trouble getting back in position after starting to chase a puck that Corey Perry recovered behind the net. Before he knew it, Petteri Nokelainen threw a point-blank shot off him and Beleskey cleaned up the rebound.
But Boston once again went ahead two minutes later, as Recchi again set up a goal, this time a tipped redirect in front by Marco Sturm.
The Ducks had gotten the first lead of the game with just 45.9 seconds left in the first, as Ryan whiffed on a rebound try and the pucked rolled to rookie Dan Sexton, who chipped it into the open net.
There was a scary moment in the middle of the third when a Ryan Whitney shot from the point was deflected and hit Teemu Selanne in the face. He went down to the ice gripping his face and was helped off to the locker room, where the team medical staff determined he had a fractured jaw. He will have surgery tomorrow and be out for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.
Selanne was playing just his third game after missing 17 with a broken bone in his hand.
Anaheim’s five-game win streak is the longest in the NHL and leaves the Ducks four points behind the eighth-place Kings, whom they face tomorrow night in L.A.
"It shows that we’ve gained some confidence over the last couple of games," Hiller said. "We’re not giving up and the team is not falling apart. Our guys are stepping up. We know we have to play 60 minutes at our best to have a chance. The next time is tomorrow night."
The Ducks extended their win streak to a season-high five games, the longest current streak in the NHL. It’s the club’s longest win streak since Mar. 18-25, 2009 (also five straight wins). Anaheim has also gone 7-2-1 in the last 10 games.
The club now has a six-game win streak at HOME which is also the longest active streak in the league. It’s the longest at Honda Center since Feb. 17-Mar. 26, 2008 when Anaheim strung together a franchise-record 10 wins at home. The club has picked up points at home in seven straight (6-0-1), 11 of the last 12 (9-1-2) and 14 of 16 (12-2-2).
Anaheim completed the season series vs. Boston with a 2-0-0 record. In those two contests, the Ducks outscored the Bruins 10-4.
Ryan Getzlaf has earned points in eight of the last nine HOME games (4-6=10) he’s played in.
Todd Marchant recorded his 300th career NHL assist tonight and has collected points in three of the last four games (1-2=3).
With two assists tonight, Bobby Ryan has earned points in five of the last six contests at HOME (4-5=9).
In the last nine contests, Saku Koivu has earned 4-6=10 points.
With an assist tonight, Corey Perry extended his point streak to five contests (2-3=5).
With a PP goal tonight, Dan Sexton has earned points in three of the last four games (1-2=3).
Matt Beleskey has scored a goal in four of the last five contests (5-0=5).
Jonas Hiller extended his winning streak to a season-high five games, stopping 27-of-30 shots tonight. In those five contests, he has stopped 152-of-161 shots for a .944 SV% and 1.80 GAA (9 GA/300 MIN). In his last 13 starts since Dec. 12, Hiller has gone 10-3-0 with a 2.18 GAA (28 GA/769 MIN) and a .933 SV% (393-of-421 shots).
Tonight’s attendance was 14,957.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks hang on for dear life in the final seconds and secure their fifth straight win, 4-3.
19:50 - Hiller another big stop in front with Krejci eye to eye with him.
19:17 - Boston gets whistled for offside with a 6 on 4. Rask back in there for the faceoff with 43.3 left, but he starts between the circles.
19:00 - Empty net for Boston.
18:48 - ANA Penalty - Kyle Chipchura, 2 min. cross checking. Chipchura gets nabbed during the flurry in front of the net. A nervous 1:12 for Anaheim.
18:40 - Hiller with another big stop, point blank on a Ryder shot.
17:50 - McQuaid goes flying backward as he tries to check Ryan in the corner. Crowd loves it. Chants of "Bobby! Bobby!"
17:14 - Ducks are denied.
16:40 - Huge stop by Rask as Nokelainen one-times off a Koivu pass. That was awfully close.
16:05 - Nervous moment as Sturm intercepts the puck and heads down right wing, but he backhands wide.
15:14 - BOS Penalty - Miroslav Satan, 2 min. high sticking. Satan gets Marchant in the mug just before Marchant shoots wide. Huge power play for Anaheim.
14:30 - Hiller lunges out to make a huge stop as Krejci had what looked like a sure goal off a bouncing puck.
13:30 - 27 playing well. He's intercepted a ton of passes.
11:31 - Scary moment as Selanne goes down in a heep holding on to his own face as he's hit with a deflected puck off a Whitney shot. He's down on the ice in obvious agony as trainer Tim Clark comes out to help him. He slowly rises to his feet to the approval of the crowd and is led off holding a towel to his bleeding face.
10:20 - Ducks get a huge break as Ryder has Hiller out of position, but wrists it off the post with a ting.
8:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL - STEVE EMINGER - Ryan hangs out with the puck in the left wing circle for a bit before firing a wrist shot that hits off Rask and drops out of the sky on the short side of the stripe. Eminger is in the right place at the right time to help it over the line for his first goal in a Duck uniform. It's 4-3 Anaheim.
7:20 - Wisniewski playing very well since leaving the ice briefly with that injury.
Apparently if a penalty kill starts in the second and ends in the third, the crowd still gets free tacos from Del Taco. Didn't know that.
3:43 - Wisniewski rifles a shot, kicked away by Rask.
1:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Huge turn of the tables for the Ducks, as they come out of a successful penalty kill with a rush led by Wisniewski down the right wing. He slides the puck to Getzlaf in the slot, and Getzlaf snaps a shot into the top left corner of the net. We're tied 3-3 on the 100th career goal by Getzlaf, who was just out of the box 15 seconds before potting that.
1:23 - Hiller gobbles the puck on a Wideman one-timer. Nice.
1:01 - Hiller sprawls to make a huge glove save on a Krejci one-timer from the low circle.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, the Ducks facing 1:44 of penalty kill time.
2nd Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Rough one for the Ducks, who give up three to the Bruins but get one back from Beleskey and trail 3-2.
19:43 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. slashing. Getzlaf touches Michael Ryder with the stick as Ryder heads up ice. Wow.
16:55 - Right off an unsuccessful Ducks power play, Sexton tries to redirect an Eminger pass, but it's saved.
14:44 - BOS Penalty - Dennis Wideman, 2 min. delay of game. Wideman picks up the disc behind his own net and inadvertantly flips it over the glass.
13:49 - BOSTON GOAL - MARCO STURM - Whitney gets knocked off the puck behind the Anaheim net and it's sent to the point to Recchi. He skates to the point and sends a pass in front that Sturm tips under Hiller. It's 3-2 Boston.
11:47 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - Rask is out of position as he starts to chase the puck behind the net and it's picked up by Perry. Rask doesn't seem to recover as Nokelainen throws a shot off him, and Beleskey chips in the rebound with Rask seemingly trying to stand on shaky ground. All four goals in the last five games for the rookie Beleskey and it's 2-2.
9:49 - ANA Penalties - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. roughing and Bobby Ryan, 4 min. roughing and BOS Penalties Zdeno Chara, 2 min. roughing and Shawn Thornton, 4 min. roughing. Niedermayer throws it on net, where Ryan unsuccessfully tries to poke at a possible rebound. There is a little bit of light shoving before 6-8 Chara comes in and takes a shot at Ryan. That sparks a mini-brawl that ends with a yard sale of equipment on the ice. Ryan and Chara take the double minors with Getzlaf and former Duck Thornton getting 2 apiece. 9:00 - Wisniewski back out there.
7:08 - BOSTON GOAL - MATT HUNWICK - Mark Recchi wins a one-on-one battle with Brookbank on the wing, and from the corner feeds in front, where Hunwick bats it past an out-of-position Hiller. It's 2-1 Boston.
6:55 - Niedermayer quietly intercepts a centering pass on the rush as if to say, "Uh, no. That's not happening."
4:00 - BOSTON GOAL - ZDENO CHARA - Wisniewski chases the puck behind the net and goes sliding very awkwardly into the wall. He's still on the ice, leaving the Ducks down a man, when the puck is sent from behind the net to Chara, who fires a slap shot from the point that sails through traffic and gets through. Wisniewski is down for a bit and is eventually helped into the locker room. It's 1-1.
Surreal moment during the intermission. I just met Tenley from the new season of The Bachelor. Annnnd I've officially lost the male half of my audience.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Solid 20 minutes for the Ducks, who throw 13 shots on net (already more than they had Sunday at Chicago) and get a Sexton PP goal to go up 1-0.
19:56 - Big Zdeno Chara has a chance to tie it right in front of the net, but he whiffs badly after a nice feed.
19:16 - Right off the ensuing draw, Kyle Chipchura and Byron Bitz drop the gloves. They both stay in tight on each other like two prom dates slow-dancing, with Chipchura landing one significant blow before it's broken up.
19:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAN SEXTON - A Wisniewski rocket from the point kicks to Ryan in front, who tries to punch it back in. He whiffs on the shot, but it rolls to Sexton, who chips it into the open half of the net with 45.9 left in the period. It's 1-0 Ducks on Big Sexy's seventh of the year.
17:40 - Ducks turn it over, putting the B's on a 2-on-1 rush shorthanded, but Blake Wheeler's one-timer goes wide. Ducks catch a break on that one.
It's trivia time and young Cooper is asked, In which city did Randy Carlyle pick up his first win? Anaheim, Boston or Chicago. After some deliberation, he guesses Chicago and he's ... right! (I was here and didn't remember that.) Cooper wins some video game for the Playstation. I didn't hear which one.
17:26 - BOS Penalty - Vladimir Sobotka, 2 min. tripping. Sobotka takes down Festerling with the stick near the Anaheim bench.
15:05 - Hiller takes a David Krejci shot center mask on a shorthanded rush.
14:47 - Ryan looks a little shaken up as he's checked into the padded turnbuckle near the Boston bench by Hunwick.
13:42 - BOS Penalty - Matt Hunwick, 2 min. interference. Easy call to make as Hunwick knocks down Koivu as he tries to chase after a Boston puck carrier.
12:48 - Hiller with two big stops on Boston bullets.
10:09 - Ryan tries to chip it in right in front of the net off a Sexton feed and Rask stops it. Ryan throws his head back in "I got robbed" fashion.
10:40 - Marchant a nice backhand pass to Chipchura on the rush, but denied. Ducks definitely knocking on the door. That's a metaphor.
9:35 - Ryan with a heck of a steal in the Boston zone, which puts him 2 on 1 with Brown. His pass to Brown is knocked away. Should have taken the shot.
9:08 - Gorgeous pass on the rush by Getzlaf to Whitney in the slot, but he can't get it through.
7:50 - Selanne back with Koivu and Ryan. Sheesh.
7:25 - Marchant slickly swipes the puck from Dennis Wideman, and is wide open for a slap shot on the run that Rask nicely gloves.
Haven't mentioned them in awhile, but the tennis balls are in their traditional spot in the fifth row behind the net.
4:11 - Play stops so that Troy Bodie and Adam McQuaid can get after it. It's a feverish scrap with both boys throwing wild haymakers, and it finally comes to an end when Bodie drags McQuaid down to the ice. Bodie looks good as a pugilist and it's another Adam with a nice effort tonight.
2:30 - Selanne back on the fourth with Nokelainen and Brown. How many fourth lines can boast more than 600 career goals? I mean, 595 are from Selanne, but still.
0:35 - Selanne, starting on the second line with Koivu and Ryan, gets in deep and tries a backhand, saved by Tuukka Rask. He gets the start tonight in place of new USA Olympian Tim Thomas. He'll likely get the start tomorrow when they play at San Jose.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - A very nice anthem by Lieutenant Commander Select Adam Ellis. I approve of the name too. By that, I of course mean Ellis.