ANAHEIM – With their playoff hopes down to a glimmer of hope, the Ducks may have finally had them flicker out in a shootout loss to Vancouver.
Anaheim tied it late on a Saku Koivu goal with just 1:24 left in regulation, but ultimately fell in extra time, 5-4 to the Canucks at Honda Center.
Corey Perry converted on the first attempt of the shootout, but Kyle Welwood and Pavol Demitra each beat goalie Curtis McElhinney while Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan came up empty for Anaheim. Goalie Andrew Raycroft made a diving stop to rob Selanne and clinched it when Ryan's attempt went right into the the midsection of the Vancouver netminder.
"It’s a tough way to lose like that in a shootout," said Selanne, who had two goals on the night. "But what are you going to do? We played a pretty good game. A couple mistakes cost us a couple of goals. Overall, we had a chance to win. That is why it is a little hard to swallow this. That is how it goes."
Koivu made the extra time happen with a huge goal on a two-man advantage that followed Ryan Kesler’s hooking penalty and the Ducks sending McElhinney to the bench for an extra attacker. Ryan put the puck in front from behind the net, where it kicked off Perry to Koivu, who roofed it for the tying goal, his second of the game.
The Ducks escaped in the closing moments of OT following a Ryan tripping penalty that set up a Vancouver power play in which they sent shots off the post twice in the final minute. But Anaheim couldn’t keep the momentum going in the shootout, only managing one standings point when they've desperately needed two in each of their remaining games to have postseason hope. They had a slight opening earlier in the night when Calgary defeated Colorado, 2-1, keeping the Avs from gaining points in the eighth slot.
"We came back and played well fighting to the end there," Koivu said. "We needed two points, there is no doubt. Calgary won their game, so it’s a tough one. At this point, we have to forget this one as quick as possible."
Rookie Michael Grabner, who had only two goals to his credit coming into the game, had his first hat trick, scoring his second and third of the game to turn a 2-1 Vancouver deficit into a 3-2 lead early in the third period.
But the Ducks got even 9:20 into the period when Teemu Selanne scored his second power play goal of the night, banging home a pinpoint Koivu pass. Vancouver re-took the lead when Jannik Hansen punched in a rebound off a Christian Ehrhoff point shot to make it 4-3, which looked like it could bury the Ducks before Koivu came through late.
Koivu and fellow Finn Selanne found the net in the second period for the Ducks, with Selanne becoming the most prolific scorer from that country of all time. Selanne, whose last three goals have each meant a significant personal milestone, got another one when he chipped in a rebound on the two-man advantage with 5:29 left in the period. The goal was the 602nd of his certain Hall-of-Fame career, passing boyhood idol and good friend Jari Kurri for most all time by a Finnish player.
"I’d rather not pass him and get these points to give us a chance," Selanne said. "What happened earlier in the season put us behind the eight ball. That is why we are where we are. We’ll just keep battling as long as we have a chance and see what happens. It’s tough to lose the one point tonight."
Koivu opened the scoring 2:01 into the session by skating into the deep slot and backhanding a shot top shelf. Vancouver came back to tie the game midway through the period when Grabner wristed a shot home on a 2-on-1 rush.
Anaheim turns around and plays tomorrow night against the Kings at Staples Center.
"Before this game, we had won seven out of nine, but the teams in front of us were winning as well," Koivu said. "Tonight was really the first one where we got some help. We’re trying to keep the focus on our game and our situation. We have to be realistic at this point. We can’t lose any points."
The Ducks have gone 3-0-1 in the last four games. The club is also 7-2-1 in the last 10 games and 21-12-2 in the last 35 contests.
The Ducks have also gone 5-1-0 at Honda Center and are 17-3-2 in the last 22 contests at home.
Teemu Selanne scored his 602nd and 603rd career goals this evening (2-1=3 tonight), surpassing childhood idol Jari Kurri for sole possession of 17th on the NHL’s all-time goals list (603-654=1,257). He has a five-game point streak (3-6=9) and points in seven of his last eight (4-9=13). With his two goals tonight, he also moved into sole possession of ninth in all-time power play goals (218). Tonight marked Selanne’s fifth multi-goal game of the season and second three-point game of the season (also Nov. 19 vs. TB, 1-2=3).
With 2-1=3 points tonight, Saku Koivu has 3-4=7 points in the last two games and 6-8=14 points in the last 10. Tonight marked his 13th multi-point game of the season. It was also his fourth multi-point effort in the last 10 contests, scoring three-or-more points in three of those four multi-point games. Tonight also marked his second multi-goal game of the season (also Dec. 31 @ DAL, 2-0=2).
With two assists tonight, Lubomir Visnovsky has 0-4=4 points in the last four games and 3-6=9 points in the last 10.
Including tonight’s assist, Scott Niedermayer has earned points in seven of the last eight contests (2-6=8).
Following his career-tying five-point effort (1-4=5) on Mar. 31 at Colorado, Jason Blake now has 2-4=6 points in the last two games.
Curtis McElhinney had his career high four-game winning streak snapped at four games (4-0-1), stopping 36-of-40 shots in tonight’s shootout loss. Over the last five games, he has recorded a .933 SV% (140-of-150) and 2.14 GAA (10 GA/281 MIN). In his last four STARTS, McElhinney has gone 3-0-1 with a 2.21 GAA (9 GA/244 MIN) and .934 SV% (127-of-136) during that span.
Tonight’s attendance was 16,534.
ANA Bobby Ryan's attempt is NO GOOD, as he dekes a couple times and fires right into Raycroft. Ducks lose it 5-4.
VAN Pavol Demitra's attempt is GOOD, as he skates in from right wing, fakes a shot and backhands it in.
ANA Teemu Selanne's attempt is NO GOOD, as he dekes to the forehand and Raycroft makes a hell of a diving stop.
VAN Kyle Wellwood's attempt is GOOD, as he walks in and roofs it right corner.
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is GOOD, as he skates in from the left wing and wrists it home.
5:00 - END OF OVERTIME - The Ducks escape with their lives in the closing minute of OT and we're going to a shootout. No, not nerveracking at all.
4:30 - Salo rings the same post. Whoa.
4:20 - Bieksa's shot rings the left post.
3:20 - Marchant runs after a bouncing puck on what would be a sure breakaway, but it goes under his stick. Heartbreak.
3:03 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. tripping. Salo goes down hard with Ryan against him and they call the trip. Ryan is hopping mad. Literally. And he looks to have good reason.
1:00 - Selanne outruns the Vancouver defense to chase a puck deep and has an open look, but whiffs on the shot.
0:31 - McElhinney makes an awkward stop on a low-angle shot, but thankfully covers the loose puck.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - The Ducks get one late from Koivu on the power play and we're going to OT.
18:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SAKU KOIVU - The Ducks make it happen on the 6 on 4, as Ryan sends a blind pass from behind the net in front, where it kicks off Perry to Koivu, who buries it. Six Ducks celebrate against the glass and we're tied 4-4.
18:21 - Timeout Anaheim, which will have a 6 on 4 with 1:39 left as McElhinney stays on the bench.
18:21 - VAN Penalty - Ryan Kesler, 2 min. hooking. Kesler gets the stick into Selanne as he whiffs on a shot from the circle.
17:14 - Grabner makes a bid for a fourth from the wing, but nice stop McElhinney.
13:33 - VANCOUVER GOAL - JANNIK HANSEN - McElhinney stick saves an Ehrhoff shot from the left point, but it caroms right to Hansen, who sends it home. It's 4-3 Vancouver.
10:40 - It's Grabner again with two big-time scoring chances thwarted by McElhinney. What's gotten into Grabner tonight? He's a rookie with two career goals coming into tonight.
9:20 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - The two Finns do it again as Koivu sends a pass from the low right wing circle through a small window to Selanne, who punches it through. We're tied 3-3.
8:04 - VAN Penalty - Sami Salo, 2 min. holding. Ryan knocks the puck away along the wall and uses his big body to get ahead of Salo on the way to the goal. Salo holds him from behind just before Ryan backhands wide past an open net.
5:40 - Bonino weaves into the slot, but fires wide.
4:13 - VAN Penalty - Andrew Raycroft, 2 min. delay of game. Raycroft goes behind the net to clear the puck and serves it over the glass.
3:55 - VANCOUVER GOAL - MICHAEL GRABNER - Grabner gets the hat trick when he reaches out to tip a Christian Erhoff point shot and redirect it down and through. A few hats hit the ice from the visiting Vancouver fans and the Canucks have two unanswered to take the lead.
Flames just beat Colorado 2-1, which has an impact on the slight chance of Anaheim getting into this race. They've got to win this one though.
1:22 - VANCOUVER GOAL - MICHAEL GRABNER - Grabner gets his second of the night, forcing his way past Eminger into the slot and firing it off the inside of the far post and in. We're tied 2-2.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get goals from the two Finns, but one sandwiched in between by Vancouver and lead it 2-1 going into the third.
18:03 - A big opportunity for Anaheim's goes awry as they just can't find the angles on that long power play.
14:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Seconds after a Visnovsky bid richochets off the post, he tries again, ripping a one-timer that bounces off Raycroft to Selanne left of the net, and he quickly flicks it in. It's No. 602 all time for Selanne, passing Jari Kurri for most all-time by a Finnish player. And it's 2-1 Ducks with still plenty of power play time left.
14:03 - VAN Penalty - Jannik Hansen, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Hansen cuts Eminger with the Ducks already on the PP.
13:20 - VAN Penalty - Alexandre Burrows, 2 min. tripping. Burrows takes down 27 behind the net.
13:00 - Nice job by Brookbank to anticipate the pass and thwart a 2-on-1 that looked dangerous.
11:05 - Beleskey with a nice drop pass to a wide open Parros, but he fires wide. Opportunity missed for Anaheim.
10:07 - VANCOUVER GOAL - MICHAEL GRABNER - Visnovsky takes a gamble by pinching in and can't knock down the puck, sending Grabner off on a 2-on-1 rush. He takes the shot himself, snapping a wrist shot over McElhinney's shoulder and we're tied 1-1.
Kiss Cam mixes in the scene from "Dumb and Dumber" in which Jim Carrey practically swallows Lauren Holly's face whole. They show one woman in the crowd that prompts goalie coach Pete Peeters (sitting next to me) to frighteningly admit, "That's my mom."
7:11 - Kill. Free tacos. And for some reason, we have some Del Taco tacos sitting up here. I'm fighting the urge.
6:50 - Kesler gets it in front with only McElhinney to beat and sends it too high.
5:11 - ANA Penalty - Nathan Oystrick, 2 min. roughing. Behind the Anaheim net, Oystrick puts a hand in the face of an unidentified Canuck. I guess that's a penalty. Just for the hell of it, Perry touches it up by trying to send it into the abandoned net. I like that.
3:04 - Right off the draw it's Parros and Darcy Hordichuk throwing down the gloves, with both landing a couple of furious blows (including a couple of Parros uppercuts) before Parros starts to lose his balance and violently drags Hordichuk down with him. Nice bout.
2:01 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - The second line comes up big again, as Blake slickly reverses his field behind the Anaheim net and sends it in front to Koivu, who dekes around Alberts and sends a backhand top shelf from the low slot. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
2:40 - McElhinney with a couple more stops.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - We're scoreless.
19:42 - Big kill Ducks, which ends again with Visnovsky sending it down the rink.
18:40 - Ward makes a huge play to chip away the puck before it gets to a waiting Demitra, who had an opening.
17:42 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank, 2 min. roughing. Brookbank doesn't like that Burrows is all over his goalie, so he punches him in the back of the head. Not the wisest of penalties.
15:01 - VAN Penalty - Alexandre Burrows, 2 min. hooking. Burrows knocks down Visnovsky right in front of the Anaheim net, then gets control for a shot that's not to be.
Trivia time gets off to a rough start with PA announcer Phil Hullett announces that the prize is a "Rob Niedermayer puck" before correcting himself. The question: In which season did the Ducks have seven rookies score their first NHL goals? He guesses B.) 1997-98 and he's ... right! Nice guess.
12:38 - Blake gets in deep, but can't force it under Raycroft. Blake flying yet again tonight.
12:13 - McElhinney denies Hansen right on the doorstep, the last of a number of big stops in the last two minutes.
11:20 - Just as the penalty expires, Visovsky blocks a pass with the shaft of his stick, then knocks it out of the air down the length of the ice. Heck of a play.
9:09 - ANA Penalty - Steve Eminger, 2 min. high sticking. Eminger gets a Canuck in the head away from the puck.
5:25 - Ryan tries two from a low angle, both saved.
4:20 - Perry moves in and tries a backhand that hits Raycroft and trickles right to Selanne standing next to the open net, but he can't get control. An "Aww" moment if there ever was one.
3:21 - VAN Penalty - Andrew Alberts, 2 min. hooking. Parros blocks a shot and heads down the wing, getting hooked from behind by Alberts.
2:38 - McElhinney makes a huge save, diving to stop Raymond's wraparound bid. Wow.
0:45 - Selanne controls the puck at his feet and snaps a quick wrister that rings the plumbing.
Chant of "Go Canucks, Go!" early on by those guys.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Laura Savitz sings passionately on both anthems, getting some accompaniment from the LARGE number of Canucks fans in the building tonight. Yikes.