ANAHEIM – For the second time in four seasons, the Ducks had a dominating performance to win their last game of the year at Honda Center. But this time around, it was under much different circumstances.
Three years ago the Ducks captured Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Ottawa to win their first championship. This time, they rolled to a 7-2 win over the lowly Edmonton Oilers to close out a disappointing season for Anaheim.
"It was nice to get this one tonight," said Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer. "But it’s disappointing that we’re in this situation."
In what could very well be the last NHL games for beloved Ducks Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne, those two skated out in front of an entire Ducks team that circled the rink after the game and saluted the crowd of 16,392. That throng chanted “One more year!” at different times throughout the night, the loudest time when Selanne was interviewed for TV postgame.
"This isn’t exactly the way I wanted to finish the season," Selanne said. "We are way too good of a team to miss the playoffs. It was disappointing, but it’s too late now to start crying. At least we played pretty well in the end and gave ourselves a chance. It’s still hard to swallow when you believe you have a better team."
If it is the last game for Selanne, he went out doing what he has done 606 times in his career – scoring a goal. Selanne found the net on the power play early in the second period as part of a seven-goal barrage that matched a season high for the Ducks.
Ryan Carter had two of those goals, the first just 2:04 into the game, kicking the puck to himself and sliding it past goalie Jeff Deslauriers on the stick side.
The Ducks got another from Steve Eminger just 32 seconds later to jump out to a lead they would never relinquish. Eminger rocketed a slap shot from the point that sailed past a Carter screen and beat Deslauriers high glove.
Edmonton got one back from Mike Comrie near the midway point of the period, but the Ducks re-took the lead with 6:36 left as rookie Matt Beleskey batted in a rebound for his third goal in the last two games.
A Shawn Horcoff hooking penalty near the end of the period gave the Ducks a power play to start the second and they capitalized immediately as Selanne faked a slap shot from the right wing and snapped it through on the near side to give Anaheim a 4-1 cushion.
Former Duck Ryan Whitney, booed throughout the night each time he touched the puck, exacted some revenge with a goal from the right wing early in the third that brought Edmonton to within two goals.
But the Ducks poured it on from that point, as Carter netted his second of the game 9:34 into the period by getting into position to pick up a loose puck and slinging it through.
A little more than two minutes later, George Parros lit up the crowd with his fourth goal of the year, stealing the puck at center ice and wristing a shot under Deslauriers from the high slot.
Kyle Chipchura, playing on a fourth line with Parros that was outstanding all night, provided some icing on the cake with a shorthanded goal with 3:14 left, waiting out a sliding Taylor Chorney before wristing a shot off Deslauriers and in.
The Ducks snapped a three-game losing streak to finish the season with 89 standings points, six out of a playoff spot in 11th place.
"Our message won’t change," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle "It’s a disappointment for us and I’m sure it’s a disappointment for them. But we have to live in the reality of the situation. There are ways to deal with it. We’re going to regroup, do analysis, try to develop a plan and go forward."
Said Selanne, "There are so many great players here. We were so close. I still think this team is going to have a great future down the road. I hope there is not going to be too many changes. There are a lot of good things happening here."
The Ducks went 23-14-4 for 50 points in the second half of the season (41 games), which equaled the eighth best record in the league. Anaheim also finished with points in eight of the last nine games (5-1-3) and went 9-3-3 over the last 15 contests.
The Ducks finish the 2009-10 season with a 6-0-2 record in the last eight games at Honda Center and were 17-3-3 in the last 23 contests at home.
The Ducks’ seven goals tonight equaled a season high (also Oct. 30 vs. VAN and Feb. 14 at EDM).
Tonight, the Ducks extended their win streak vs. Edmonton to five straight games (5-0-0) dating back to Mar. 31, 2009.
Scoring a power play goal tonight, Teemu Selanne completed the season with six goals in the last five games he appeared in (6-2=8). With 606-654=1,260 points in 1,186 career games, Selanne currently ranks 17th in all-time goals, 56th in all-time assists and 35th in all-time points. He finished the season ranked tied for third in the NHL in PPG and his .50 goals-per-game this season ranked eighth in the NHL. Selanne also has recorded points in seven of his last eight games (6-6=12) and in nine of his last 11 (7-6=16). With 27-21=48 points in 54 games, Selanne has recorded 14, 25-or-more goal seasons in his career.
Corey Perry completed the 2009-10 season on a three-game point streak (0-3=3), with 4-10=14 points in the last 15 games and 6-13=19 in the last 21. He led the club with a career-high 27-49=76 points and was the only player to appear in each of the Ducks’ 82 regular season games this year.
Matt Beleskey had 3-0=3 goals in his last two games. He also recorded 5-3=8 points in his last 13 contests of the season. His 11 goals on the year ranked tied for 10th among league rookies (11-7=18 in 60 games).
Steve Eminger had 1-1=2 points tonight for his second multi-point game of the season and finished the year with 2-3=5 points in his last eight games.
With two goals tonight, Ryan Carter tied his career high in the category (also Feb. 8, 2008 at NJ, 2-0=2).
Saku Koivu had 4-7=11 points in the last five games he appeared in and 7-11=18 in his last 14. With 19-33=52 points on the season, Koivu eclipsed the 50-point mark for the seventh consecutive season.
Tonight marked Kyle Chipchura’s first career shorthanded goal. His 1-1=2 points tonight marked his first multi-point game of the season and the third of his career (last: Dec. 1, 2007 w/MTL vs. NSH, 0-2=2).
Curtis McElhinney went 5-1-2 in his last nine games and recorded a 2.61 GAA (22 GA/505 MIN) and a .921 SV% (257-of-279). He stopped 11-of-12 shots tonight coming on in relief of Jonas Hiller.
20:00 - END OF GAME - A standing ovation from this crowd of 16,392 as the season ends for Anaheim.
Louder chants of "One more year!" for Selanne and Niedermayer as the clock winds down on this Ducks season.
16:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - KYLE CHIPCHURA - The Ducks get on the rush on the penalty kill, with Koivu getting it to Chipchura in the slot. He waits patiently as Chorney slides to stop a shot, skates toward the left post and sneaks it through a small opening as it deflects off Deslauriers and trickles behind him. It's 7-2 Ducks.
16:33 - ANA Penalty - Aaron Ward, 2 min. slashing.
15:15 - The fourth line continues to kill it tonight as Brown nearly finds the net on consecutive shots. Ducks are outshooting Edmonton 44-25.
11:42 - ANAHEIM GOAL - GEORGE PARROS - Parros takes the puck away from Pisani at the red line and heads the other way. Just before Arsene can get to him, he fires a wrist shot that dents the net behind Deslauriers. It never ceases to amaze how beloved Parros is here, as the crowd goes wild following his fourth goal of the year. It's 6-2 Ducks.
9:34 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - Eminger picks up the puck in his own end and leads a rush the other way. He tries to pass to the wing but the puck gets knocked down, where Carter edges in front of Jones and slings it through. Second career two-goal game for Carter, the first coming February 8, 2008 at New Jersey, which were Carter's first two career goals. It's 5-2 Anaheim.
9:00 - Nice stop by McElhinney as Hilary Duff's fiancee gets on the breakaway following a defensive breakdown.
Jonas Hiller apparently left the game because his back spasms acted up again. At least we don't have to worry about how many games he'll miss after tonight.
7:05 - Perry picks off a pass, but is denied on the breakaway on both the initial shot and the rebound try.
2:50 - EDMONTON GOAL - RYAN WHITNEY - On the rush, Whitney gets it on the right wing and fires a wrist shot from the circle that beats McElhinney. Whitney throws a fist to the sky, possibly intended for the Honda Center fans who have been booing him all night. It's 4-2 Ducks.
1:13 - Brookbank fires, corraled by Deslauriers.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks on the power play.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get one from Selanne and go up 4-1.
19:54 - EDM Penalty - Potulny, 2 min. slashing. Potulny back to the box as the Oilers take another late-period penalty.
14:58 - Hiller looked like he got hurt on that Cogliano save and he's headed to the locker room. McElhinney is in there now.
14:54 - EDM Penalty - Ryan Potulny, 2 min. hooking.
This year's Power Players brought to you by Unique Tan, and it sure shows out there. Very bronze.
14:45 - Another nice stop by Hiller on Cogliano as the Oilers play tic-tac-toe.
12:57 - ANA Penalty - Mike Brown, 2 min. kneeing and EDM Penalty - Ryan Jones, 2 min. high sticking. Within seconds of each other, Jones gets Ward in the face and Brown knocks down an Edmonton player in open ice.
12:03 - Chipchura somehow gets denied twice in the crease on a great pass by Blake. Off the rebound on the first shot, he has a wide open net and I'm still not sure what kept that puck out. (Replays showed Deslauriers made a heck of a pad save.) The guy controlling the goal horn apparently thought it was a goal, accidentally hitting it for a quick pitch.
10:20 - Bodie takes a nice feed from Niedermayer on the doorstep, takes a couple of whacks but gets nothing.
8:20 - Perry goes hard to the net, but can't curl the puck back enough as he's pushed down.
7:28 - Beleskey fires on net right off the draw, but Deslauriers is ready for it.
6:45 - Good stop Hiller on a Cogliano shot.
Chants of "One more year!" rise from the crowd.
0:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Koivu picks up a bouncing puck just inside the blue line and quickly gets it to Selanne on the right wing. He fakes a slap shot, walks in and wrists it through on the short side. As if we needed further indication this guy can still play, he shows off those magical hands once again. It's 4-1 Ducks.
0:00 - Off we go in the second, the Ducks on the power play.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get goals from Carter, Eminger and Beleskey on their way to a 3-1 lead.
20:00 - EDM Penalty - Shawn Horcoff, 2 min. hooking. Horcoff wraps it around Wisniewski in the Anaheim end, giving the Ducks two minutes of power play time when we come back.
17:11 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. roughing. Perry gets Whitney in the head with the stick during a battle in the corner. When the crowd watches the replay and realizes it's Whitney, they object.
15:23 - Bodie nearly sneaks one through on a slap shot from the right wing.
It's trivia time and young Nicole from Yorba Linda is asked, in which statistic is Todd Marchant tied for third among all active players? She goes with No. 3, shorthanded goals, and she's ... right! She wins Beatles Rockband. Not bad, unless she doesn't have an Xbox.
13:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL - MATT BELESKEY - Nice teamwork by Beleskey and Perry, as they do a little give-and-go on the rush, with Perry muscling in front of Taylor Chorney to backhand a shot. It takes a friendly bounce off Deslauriers' leg pad, where Beleskey bats it through for his 11th of the season, third in the last two games. It's 3-1 Ducks.
Who Wants to Host Ducks TV winner Mike Ashkar is recognized on the video screen, wearing a sportcoat and sweet spiked hair, joined by a gal sitting next to him. You might remember Ashkar asking out a Power Player during his Ducks TV segment. If not, you can watch it here.
11:20 - Big stop by Hiller to deny Pouliot from point blank on a rebound.
8:59 - EDMONTON GOAL - MIKE COMRIE - Comrie takes a pass from Patrick O'Sullivan in the slot, glides toward the net and fires a shot under Hiller. Whitney gets some boos as he's announced as the second assist man. It's 2-1 Ducks.
8:55 - Whitney booed as he touches the puck.
7:50 - Perry denied on the doorstep on a one-time try.
7:06 - Blake sends it to Koivu on the 2-on-1, but Koivu makes bad contact with the shot attempt.
No tennis balls tonight, though female tennis ball emailed me earlier in the week to say they had a scheduling conflict. Definitely not a sign of protest.
4:35 - Deslauriers goes old school in stacking the pads to deny Mikkelson. It's already a good day for guys with that name (albeit slightly different spelling).
2:36 - ANAHEIM GOAL - STEVE EMINGER - Eminger takes the puck from Bonino at the point, scoots a couple steps to his left and rockets a slap shot past a Carter screen the beats Deslauriers high glove. Ducks get two in 32 seconds and it's 2-0 on Eminger's fourth of the year.
2:04 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN CARTER - The nicest Duck, Ryan Carter, gets the Ducks on the board early, kicking the puck to himself in the slot off a Chipchura pass and sending it past Deslauriers stick side. Third of the year for Carter and it's 1-0 Anaheim.
1:40 - Ward pounces on a rolling puck and fires twice into Deslauriers.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:07 p.m. - The winner of the Ducks' and OC Register's Oh Say Can You See Contest, Emily Van Gorder, does a very nice job on both anthems (we forgot to test her on the Canadian one during the contest). Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.