ANAHEIM – For a New Jersey Devils team looking to break out of a horrible early-season slump, the host Ducks were unfortunately a bit too accommodating.
Anaheim didn't generate much on the offensive end in getting edged 2-1 by a normally competitive New Jersey team that came in having lost five of its last six and brought a 2-7-1 record to town that was second-worst in team history.
The Ducks, looking to build off a 5-2 victory in Dallas that clinched a split of a four-game road trip, didn’t come with the same offensive firepower, as Jason Blake’s second period goal was their only score. The Ducks tried to apply the pressure over the last minute with goalie Jonas Hiller on the bench for an extra attacker, but were denied by a New Jersey defense led again by goalie Martin Brodeur.
"We knew they were going to come out hard and try to start a winning streak," Blake said. "For us, we were just trying to keep the ball rolling. We had a great win in Dallas. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the win tonight. I thought we had some great chances. We were facing a great goaltender."
New Jersey got the eventual game-winner less than two minutes into the third period off a Ducks turnover, as Danny Syvret tried a cross-ice pass that was picked off by Alexander Vasyunov. He quickly got the puck to Patrick Elias, who fired a slap shot from the high slot that beat Hiller.
"We didn’t have a lot of momentum going our way until later in the hockey game, after they got the 2-1 lead," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We just didn’t execute. Our power play was pretty much on the outside. We scored one goal with Jason Blake that was a power play goal. But the other group didn’t get much done from an offensive standpoint."
The Ducks actually outshot New Jersey 28-27 in the game, despite a significant shots advantage for the Devils in the early going and a scoreless first period that ended with the visitors holding a 14-7 lead in that category. Anaheim forged a lead 8:07 into the second on a power play goal by Blake, a healthy scratch in the last game in Dallas. Blake took a pass near the right post from Saku Koivu, forced a shot off Brodeur’s leg pad and punched in the rebound.
But New Jersey evened the score about 2 ½ minutes later, as Jamie Langenbrunner threw the puck on net from the extended goal line, where it caromed off Hiller and leaked behind him.
"We knew they were one of the teams in the same situation as us, not playing as well as they are supposed to," Hiller said. "It was almost a must-win. We just couldn’t find a way."
It was the first time in four home games the Ducks didn’t come away with at least a point, as they fell to 4-6-1 on the year.
"Every time you think we’re going to get it going, we play a game like tonight and lose again. It starts all over again. We have to find a way to win tomorrow. It would be great if we could get a streak going. It just makes it easier."
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks can't get much going offensively and fall 2-1.
19:58 - Getzlaf hits Selanne with a long stretch pass from behind the net, but it's knocked off Selanne's stick just before he can shoot with a second left.
19:41 - Ryan and Perry try to jam in a loose puck near the post, but Brodeur denies with 18.3 left.
18:45 - Hiller to the bench.
18:20 - New Jersey ices the puck, and the official waves it off for no apparent reason. Tough break.
17:49 - Blake, active again, tries a backhander that Brodeur snags with the glove.
15:40 - Selanne tries a pretty saucer to a rushing Getzlaf, but it bounces over his stick.
14:55 - Hiller makes a huge stop to thwart a Langenbrunner one-timer from point blank on the 2 on 1. Game saver for now.
14:30 - Five and a half minutes left and the Ducks need to get to work.
12:25 - Blake does a nice job picking up a loose puck on the right wing and sends it on net, where Koivu nearly sneaks one in. Close call.
8:45 - Shots on goal are now even at 25-25 after New Jersey had a big advantage for much of the game. It was something like 9-2 to start.
5:45 - Carter just misses wide, then seconds later lets a nice Lydman pass get under his stick in front of the net.
5:10 - Perry tries to weave his way in and gets the puck taken away, just as the power play ends.
3:11 - NJD Penalty - Jason Arnott, 2 min. interference. Arnott said he was innocent and the ref ... nevermind. Ducks power play.
2:37 - Visnovsky cuts to the middle and fires a shot that clangs off the inside of the right post. Literally three inches from a Ducks goal.
1:54 - NEW JERSEY GOAL - PATRIK ELIAS - A Ducks turnover comes back to haunt them, as Syvret tries a cross-ice pass to Carter, but it's picked off by Vasyunov. He gets it to Elias in the high slot, and Elias rips a slap shot past Hiller. It's 2-1 Devils.
1:00 - Syvret winds up and fires from the point, off Brodeur.
0:48 - Nothin' doin' on that Ducks power play.
So, before the game they had this video that our guys put together, showing Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame It was a fake story about how despite the mask, he was a terrible goalie. And he's been haunting hockey arenas ever since. So throughout the night, they've been showing shots in the crowd with what looks like a faded version of Jason sitting next to people in their seats. Kind of funny. And I really don't think my description did it justice. Kind of a hard thing to write.
0:21 - We've got a delay as Getzlaf throws the puck into the corner, putting a spiderweb crack in the glass.
0:00 - Off and running in the third with 48 seconds of power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks get one from Blake, but New Jersey gets one back from Langenbrunner and we're tied 1-1. Ducks have fresh ice and 48 seconds of PP time when we come back.
18:48 - NJD Penalty - Jason Arnott, 2 min. slashing. He said, "I'm innocent," and the referee said, "You Arnott."
18:20 - Zubrus looks shaken up (didn't see what happened) and gets off the ice slowly.
During the timeout, it's Guess That Duck, where they show a kids picture of a Duck and you text your guess. It's CLEARLY Saku Koivu, and they also give the choices of Todd Marchant (of course) and Jason Blake. Somehow, Blake is the narrow winner, but it's definitely Saku. At least to me it was.
16:30 - Voros makes a pretty blind feed in front from behind the net, but Perry doesn't get his stick on it.
13:45 - After the whistle following a Brodeur cover, Sestito thinks Blake is too close to Marty, so he gives him a shove, sparking a minor scuffle.
10:39 - NEW JERSEY GOAL - JAMIE LANGENBRUNNER - Langenbrunner is unchallenged behind the net, where he skates to the extended goal line and fires on net. It hits Hiller and caroms behind him for the tying goal.
Brodeur chose to stay in his goal rather than going to the bench during the timeout. One look at the Power Players in their costumes and I think I figured out why.
8:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JASON BLAKE - On the PP, Koivu holds the puck for several seconds along the right wing wall, then finally drops it near the post to Blake, who first shoots off Brodeur's leg pad, then stays with it to punch it under him. Blake goes to a knee for the first pump to celebrate his second of the year (and he was a healthy scratch last game). It's 1-0 Anaheim.
7:00 - Perry draws out Brodeur off a Getzlaf pass, gets it around him, but the puck goes just wide. Someone in the crowd yells, "Happy birthday, Marty!"
6:26 - NJD Penalty - Jamie Langenbrunner, 2 min. hooking. First power play for Anaheim.
6:10 - Hiller with a kick save on a Greene shot from the point. He's got 20 tonight.
4:33 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. high sticking. Another one on the captain, and he is not pleased.
4:30 - Ryan taps the puck to himself off a workmanlike feed from Bodie, but fires off Brodeur.
4:11 - Another kill for the Ducks. That's 3 for 3.
2:11 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. tripping. Hiller a beauty of a glove save on a Vasyunov wrister, but Getzlaf takes him down with the leg right after it.
1:50 - Voros working his tail off on that top line with Perry and Getzlaf.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Just before the horn, Voros gets a little intimate with Brodeur trying to punch in a rebound, starting a minor scuffle. Devils gets 14 shots and two power plays, but we're scoreless.
Here's a picture of the Power Players in costume, by popular demand (okay, one guy emailed.) Click it for a larger version.
18:43 - Another big kill for Anaheim.
16:43 - ANA Penalty - George Parros, 2 min. tripping. Georgie takes down Pelley with his stick in the offensive zone.
During the timeout, they allow people to text to vote for which song they want to hear: Ghostbusters, Dead Man's Party or Wherewolves of London. Just as long as it's not Ghostbusters. Not really a song that has stood the test of time. Looks like Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo is gonna win it.
A little Rush played in the arena during the stop in action. Rush always reminds me of the movie "I Love You, Man."
13:00 - Kovalchuk another shot, this time a one-timer from the left point.
12:56 - Voros tries to throw one on net with the backhand from underneath the extended goal line and nearly sneaks it behind Brodeur.
12:19 - Hiller stretches out to make a big stop just as the penalty dies.
10:19 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. interference.
TV shows a replay of Ryan Carter's first two career goals, February 8, 2008 in New Jersey on Brodeur. I was at that game.
10:10 - Hiller steps out to thwart a Kovalchuk shot on a 2 on 1.
First timeout and first chance to see the Power Players in their Halloween costumes. This year's theme is fairy tales, so we have Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Red Riding Hood ... and somehow the Tooth Fairy and Dorothy got involved.
3:40 - Marchant skids to a stop and delivers the Ducks' first shot of the game, easy-to-stop as it was.
2:40 - Shot from the point by Eckford is nearly deflected past Hiller. Quick 6-0 shot advantage for New Jersey.
2:00 - Hiller bails out a Ducks turnover with a nice save on a Kovalchuk backhand. He had zero shots two nights ago in a 5-2 loss in SJ.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Ducks Community Relations intern Sarah Bennett sings the anthem and does a beautiful job. Wow, what a voice. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.