ANAHEIM – For the second straight game, the Ducks let a two-goal lead in the third period slip away from them, but this time its top line made sure it didn’t hurt them too badly.
Anaheim recovered from squandering a 2-0 cushion in the final period when the RPG line of Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf combined for a clutch goal to give the Ducks a 3-2 victory over visiting Phoenix.
With about 5 1/2 minutes left in the game, Ryan sent the puck out of the Anaheim end to Getzlaf to start a rush up the left wing, where the Ducks captain slid a pretty cross-ice feed to Perry, who extended out with both hands to redirect the puck under goalie Jason LaBarbera.
"Bobby made a great play in the defensive zone," Perry said. "He battled for the puck and made a great play to get it to Getzy. The two of us were just trying to get to the net as fast as we could. Getzy found a way to get it through and I got a stick on it."
From there, the Ducks made certain they didn’t lose a lead for the second time on the night, thanks in great part to a number of huge saves down the stretch by Jonas Hiller, who had 36 on the evening.
Anaheim entered the third with a 2-0 lead that got quickly sliced into by the Coyotes, who got a Scottie Upshall goal just 1:01 into the period. Upshall’s shot from the left wing circle clanged off the post, then hit Hiller’s back and just barely trickled over the stripe.
Phoenix ultimately tied it with 8:41 left, as Matt Beleskey had the puck poked away from him by Adrian Aucoin, where it ended up on Shane Doan’s stick, and the Coyotes captain fed Eric Belanger for the goal.
The Ducks had also relinquished a two-goal lead two nights ago against Atlanta, eventually losing 5-4 in a shootout.
"We did a lot of good things in the game to give ourselves a two-goal lead, but we can’t slip in the third period like that," said coach Randy Carlyle. "I don’t have cuticles left, so that is the way it went. It got to a hairy point there. The bottom line is we won the hockey game."
The Ducks built the original advantage in a bittersweet second period for 18-year-old rookie defenseman Cam Fowler, who scored the first goal of his NHL career, but later left the game with an injury and did not return.
He got the Ducks on the board 3:41 into the period, as Getzlaf worked to send the puck up the wall to the point, where Fowler fired a high lefthanded wrist shot past a Perry screen and just under the crossbar.
He almost got another one about five minutes later, showing off a pretty toe drag move on the right wing to dangle Doan before flipping a shot on net that LaBarbera kicked behind himself, leaving the puck sitting tantalizingly on the stripe. But Fowler’s momentum and a shove from Doan took the youngster face-first into the wall, where he remained down for a couple of minutes. He left the ice on his own power, but headed to the locker room for evaluation and didn’t return.
About a minute after Fowler’s near-goal, Toni Lydman scored his second in as many games as a Duck, catching a beautiful backhand pass from Bobby Ryan right in front of the net and sending it top shelf. Lydman, who had just four goals all last season with Buffalo, was playing just his second game after missing the beginning of the season with double-vision.
"If you just check my stats from previous years, I haven’t been doing that too much," said Lydman of his first career goal streak. "It’s nice to put a couple in there. Especially when we win, it feels so much better."
Combining this win with a with a victory last Wednesday night over Vancouver and the shootout loss to Atlanta, the Ducks earned five of six points on this mini homestand. They play four straight on the road starting Wednesday night in Columbus.
"It was huge to get back in the win column and have that feeling going on the road," Perry said. "We know we can win in crucial times. We showed it tonight. We found a way to win. That is how we have to play."
Over the last three games, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan have combined for 6-14=20 points, including 1-6=7 tonight. Getzlaf has a three-game point streak, earning 2-6=8 points during that span. Bobby Ryan has scored 1-4=5 points over the last three, including a career high three assists tonight (0-3=3). Corey Perry is also riding a three-game point streak (3-3=6).
Over the last three games, Jonas Hiller has gone 2-0-1 with a .918 SV% (101-of-110) and 2.93 GAA (9 GA/184 MIN).
Tonight’s attendance was 13,574.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Phoenix doesn't threaten over the final 12.9 seconds and the Ducks hang on for a 3-2 victory.
19:40 - Hiller makes another huge stop on Stempniak, following a bad Visnovsky turnover with the Phoenix net empty. Not pretty.
19:14 - PHX Penalty - Keith Yandle, 2 min. hooking. LaBarbera back in there.
19:10 - Marchant whips the puck into the Phoenix end, where Perry chases it down, but all he can do is fire it through two Coyotes off the side of the post.
18:56 - Timeout Phoenix with a tense 1:04 left.
18:50 - Hiller with a huge stop on a Vrbata scoring chance, then makes another one as Schlemko pinches in for a shot attempt.
18:45 - LaBarbera off.
17:12 - Hiller dodges a bullet, as he lets out a fat rebound on an Upshall shot from the corner, but he makes the save as Doan tries to follow.
14:23 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - It's highlight-reel time as Getzlaf leads the breakout up the left wing and slips a perfect cross-ice pass to a charging Perry, who reaches out with both hands and redirects it under LaBarbera. Beauty of a goal and the Ducks lead it 3-2. Give the second assist to the other guy on that line, Ryan, who started it all by headmanning to Getzlaf from out of the Ducks end.
13:48 - Lilja tries a slap shot off a Blake pass on the rush, but LaBarbera covers it.
12:10 - Ryan and Perry whiff on shots within seconds of each other, the latter a Perry one-time try off a nice Ryan feed from behind the net.
11:19 - PHOENIX GOAL - ERIC BELANGER - Beleskey gets the puck poked away from him by Aucoin, where it ends up on Doan's stick. He feeds from the slot to Belanger, who slings it past Hiller. We're tied.
10:30 - Perry, whose been just about everywhere. tonight, slides on his stomach to knock the puck away from an open Doan.
9:25 - Sexton nearly sneaks one in, tipping a Koivu pass with his back to the net, but LaBarbera was ready.
Wanna know the best way to protect a one-goal lead? Make it a two-goal lead.
8:05 - Hiller a big kick save.
7:15 - Big Sexy throws it on net from the corner, where Koivu nearly bats in the rebound.
Jeff, who sits next to me and does stats for the coaches, notices that you often hear someone doing three short whistles in a row at different points in the game. He says he also hears it during basketball and baseball games. Anyone know what that is?
5:20 - Ryan whips it on net from near the wall, where Perry almost chips it in. Audible gasp from the crowd.
4:00 - Marchant wheels from behind the net and nearly gets it under LaBarbera.
Jason LaBarbera appears to be a big fan of slamming his stick on the ice to pump himself up. He does it a lot when the puck is coming toward him from the other end of the ice.
1:01 - PHOENIX GOAL - SCOTTIE UPSHALL - Doan picks up the puck at the outer edge of the circle and feeds Upshall in the circle, who fires a shot that hits off the post, off Hiller's back and just barely over the stripe before Hiller can grab it. They take a look on the replay and confirm that it is indeed a goal. It's 2-1 Ducks.
0:00 - Ducks start the third with a two-goal lead. I'm just going to leave that one alone.
2nd Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Bittersweet period for the Ducks, who get goals from Fowler (first ever) and Lydman (second in two games as a Duck), but lose Fowler for the rest of the night. It's 2-0 Anaheim.
19:04 - Selanne gets a second chance after whiffing on a one-timer, but LaBarbera knocks it into the netting.
17:51 - PHX Penalty - Radim Vrbata, 2 min. holding.
17:30 - Blake this time goes hard into the wall, but he gets up just fine.
15:45 - It was just announced that Fowler is still being evaluated in the locker room, but will NOT return to the game. Let's keep our fingers crossed for the kid.
Guess that Duck -- in which they show a blurry photo of a Duck, give you three choices and ask you to text your guess -- is not all that challenging tonight. It's clearly Teemu Selanne, which 77 percent of the fans text as their guess (that few?).
14:09 - Ryan from the slot off a Getzlaf feed, just wide. That line active yet again.
13:30 - Fowler still in the dressing room.
Just realized I've been spelling "LaBarbera" wrong for most of the night. Awesome. It's not like we haven't seen him in this building a million times.
12:21 - Carter fires on the 2-on-2 rush, into LaBarbera.
11:15 - Nice tap of the puck by Perry to Visnovsky, who spins and fires a shot of LaBarbara.
10:09 - ANA Penalty - Dan Sexton and PHX Penalty - Vernon Fiddler, 2 min. each roughing Sexton, of all people, getting into it with Fiddler after Hiller freezes the puck. First career roughing penalty for Sexton? I'm guessing yes.
9:44 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TONI LYDMAN - Unbelievable pass by Bobby Ryan, who takes the puck from Perry behind the net, skates across the extended goal line and delivers a no-look backhand pass to a wide-open Lydman, who catches, holds and roofs it. Second goal in just two games for Lydman, who had four all last season for Buffalo. It's 2-0 Ducks. WOW.
8:50 - Fowler to the locker room for now.
8:45 - So much happened in the last five seconds, I don't even know where to start. Fowler makes a very winger-like to drag move down the right wing on his way to the net to dangle Doan, flipping a shot that gets under LaBarbara and kicked by him right on top of the stripe. Carter comes from behind the net to swipe at it and just barely gets denied by a Phoenix defenseman. Meanwhile, Fowler gets ridden into the wall by Doan and goes face first into the boards, where he's down for awhile before heading off to the applause of the crowd. Ducks came within literally three inches of another goal.
Dude below us just screamed, "COME ON, DUCKS! EMBARRASS THIS TEAM!!!" Second straight game we've heard him down there. I do hope he's a season ticket holder.
7:35 - Ryan with a sick backhand pass, just inches out of the reach of a one-timing Selanne.
6:19 - PHX Penalty - Scottie Upshale, 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. Didn't see it, but I'm sure it was unlike a sportsman.
They've added something to the press box food this year, this cookie sandwich, which is two peanut butter cookies with Oreo-like cream in the middle. My GOD it's delicous, but it's got to be at least 1,500 calories. Not happy with our press box catering staff right now.
5:00 - Great pass by Getzlaf, just barely slides by the stick of Perry on the doorstep. Ducks with a little jump in their step now.
3:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL - CAM FOWLER - The kid gets the first of his career after the puck comes to him up the wall from a hard-working Getzlaf and Fowler fires a lefthanded wrister high and through a crowd (including an expertly screening Perry). Awesome moment for Fowler and the Ducks lead it 1-0.
Here's the kind of emails I get from fans: "Missy and I are at odds about that odd stain on the ice (and its smaller sibling next to it); she thought it looked like used Chef Boyardee Ravioli and I think it was Cambell's Vegetable Beef Soup. We both agree that we should be thankful that the Zamboni was able to pick whatever it was up. Eeeyuu."
1:00 - Hiller saves the day after Lydman has it knocked away from him in the corner, making a huge save on a Phoenix one-timer. I mean, huge save.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, with 17 seconds of PP time left.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks escape (for now) on the PK to keep it a scoreless first.
18:50 - Lydman and Lilja on the Ducks PK, two guys who weren't even in the lineup until this weekend.
18:17 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. tripping . Koivu takes down Stempniak behind the Anaheim net.
There is an odd stain of some sort on the ice right in front of the Phoenix bench. Nervous stomach for one Coyote?
17:31 - Seconds after falling awkwardly into the wall, Carter nearly stuffs it in when the puck bounces off the board in front.
16:40 - Seconds after an important penalty kill, Brookbank comes bouncing out of the box to take a bouncing pass from Chipchura and somehow get off a shot that LaBarbera sweeps away.
Prime Ticket telecast asks fans, "What's your favorite in-game treat? Salted pretzel, nachos or hot dog?" My answer: Yes.
14:30 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank, 2 min. interference. First penalty on the Ducks tonight.
Remember the good ol' days when we used to beat Phoenix 6 or 7 times a year? I miss that. Why'd they have to get good?
12:10 - Nice pass from Sexton to Visnovsky, but Lubo can't get the angle for the shot.
11:50 - Speaking of Selanne, very active tonight. Just gave a nice feed to Koivu in the slot, but Koivu couldn't get it out of his skates.
Some serious Ducks alums in the house tonight, about to be interviewed by Poor Man's Seacrest in a Honda Center suite. The group includes Steve Rucchin, Guy Hebert, Jason Marshal and Dave Karpa. Teemu Selanne is in the building as well.
9:00 - Sexton with Koivu and Selanne tonight. That puts Blake with Beleskey and Carter.
8:00 - Stempniak beats Hiller for a quick shot through a crowd, but Hiller gets the help of the pipe.
7:54 - Hiller swallows a slap shot from the wing by Vrbata.
6:00 - Carter out there for the first time this year.
5:45 - Selanne a wrister, rebound try by Brookbank, also saved.
5:20 - Lilja on the ice for Anaheim, wearing No. 3., last worn by Bret Hedican and before that, Keith Carney.
4:20 - Marchant backhands one off LaBarbara for the first Anaheim scoring chance of the game.
2:00 - Ducks get away unscathed despite Hiller being caught out of position.
1:25 - First shot of the game comes from Pyatt, into Hiller's belly.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:09 p.m. - On Hockey Fights Cancer Night, we have a special pregame ceremony for former Ducks team doctor (and very nice guy) Dr. Jeffrey Pulver, who succumbed to cancer earlier this year. Survivors Jason Blake and Saku Koivu present the Pulver family with a silver stick before taking the ceremonial puck drop. Then everyone in the crowd who has been affected by the disease is asked to stand to supportive applause from the rest of the fans. Got a little dusty up here.
5:07 p.m. - The no-longer-rosey-cheeked Jenny Swoish, who has been singing the anthem here for years, does another splendid job. Her mom tells me she's in college now, which can't be right. I still think of her as being like 11.
Jovanovski a surprise scratch (reportedly an upper body injury) and LaBarbera a surprise start (Bryzgalov played last night at home in an OT loss to Detroit).
Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.