ANAHEIM – If the Ducks were looking for a turning point to this season, they may have found it tonight.
Anaheim got three goals in less than seven minutes in the second period, then hung tightly to a one-goal lead over the final 16 minutes to clinch a 3-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Coupled with Wednesday night’s 3-2 win over Tampa Bay, it was the first two-game win streak this season for the Ducks.
"Hopefully it’s a stepping stone and we can get some confidence," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We’ll feel a lot better about ourselves tomorrow morning again. That is what we’re trying to do, something to build on here. We want this building specifically to be a tough place to come into and play. We’ve accomplished that in these last two games."
Sidney Crosby’s second goal of the game, 3:48 into the third, made for some nervous moments for the Ducks contingent in the sellout crowd of 17,174 at Honda Center, but Anaheim held on with some help from goalie Jonas Hiller (30 saves). Pittsburgh emptied the net with a minute left for an extra attacker, but Corey Perry sealed the victory by diving to slap the puck out of the zone and into the Anaheim end with 10 seconds remaining.
"We were overdue," Ryan said of that second period. "We had some chances in the first that didn’t quite find the net the way we wanted them to. When you stick with the basics, they are going to come back around for you. We did that in the second."
Ryan struck first when Lubomir Visnovsky had his point shot rejected back to him and he sent the puck to Ryan in the high slot. Ryan fired a quick wrist shot that fooled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and dove into the top corner of the net.
Getzlaf made it 2-0 Ducks 12:22 into the period after Perry came from behind the net to lay the puck off to Getzlaf, who fired it top shelf from in deep.
A little more than two minutes later, Koivu jumped on a rebound after a hard Visnovsky shot and got enough stick on it to guide it over the stripe. "That was a big goal for our line and the confidence for us," Koivu said. "We’ve been having some great chances in the last four, five games. We’re trying to capitalize on those chances. It’s hopefully the start of something good."
Crosby cut into the lead with 2:33 left in the period when he redirected a Kris Letang shot from just in front of the net on the power play. It was the first power play goal in the last 30 opportunities for the slumping Penguins.
His next goal that made it 3-2 came after the Ducks couldn’t clear a rebound following a Hiller chest save, and Crosby backhanded the puck just through Hiller’s leg pads.
But Anaheim thwarted every effort by the Pens to tie it, climbing to 6-7-1 on the season and handing Pittsburgh its fifth loss in the last six games.
"The first and the second period were really strong for us and they pretty much took it to us in the third period," Koivu said. "The great thing is we got that win and two points that were big for us."
The Ducks have gone 4-1-1 in their last six contests at HOME, earning nine of a possible 12 points.
With a goal in tonight’s contest, Ryan Getzlaf now has a three-game goal streak (3-1=4) and has earned 4-5=9 points over the last seven.
Teemu Selanne, who appeared in his 1,200th career NHL game tonight, has gained sole possession of 33rd in all-time NHL points with an assist in this evening’s contest (612-663=1,275). He has a three-game point streak (1-4=5) and has earned 4-6=10 points over the last eight contests. Selanne became the 87th player all-time and the 10th European-born player to reach 1,200 games.
Corey Perry has a three-game point streak (1-3=4) and has earned 2-4=6 points over the last five contests.
Lubomir Visnovsky has recorded multiple-point nights in four of the last six contests (0-8=8 during that stretch, including two assists tonight). He has earned 0-4=4 points over the last two games and 1-11=12 points over the last 11.
Jonas Hiller has allowed only two goals in each of his last six starts. Over that six-game stretch, Hiller has gone 4-2-0 with a 1.99 GAA (12 GA/361 MIN) and .937 SV% (177-of-189).
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks hold on to clinch a huge 3-2 victory.
19:50 - Perry makes an absolutely huge play to dive at the puck and knock it over the blue line into the Pittsburgh end, where Ryan skates with it behind the Pens net as the clock heads toward zero.
18:50 - Fleury to the bench.
16:10 - Selanne comes close twice to one-timing one through.
15:10 - Ducks come oh so close to getting another one, as Ryan makes a great feed to Koivu, who has Fleury down, but waits too long to shoot.
13:45 - Fowler is so unbelievably poised when he gets the puck. Never panics. Can't believe he's 18.
10:20 - Lubo makes a quick cut to the slot, where he fires off Fleury's chest.
9:51 - PIT Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. cross checking. Big scrap in the corner after the whistle, after Koivu gets drilled into the wall by former Duck Kunitz and Mara gives Kunitz a cross check in the back.
9:07 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. hooking. Selanne gets his stick into the armpit of Alex Goligoski, who throws back Selanne's stick in response. Crowd does not like it when they see the replay.
Attendance announced at 17,174. Second sellout of the year for the Ducks.
7:10 - Ryan absolutely nails Tyler Kennedy, sending him flying into the separation between the two benches. Kennedy looks like he's looking for payback.
7:05 - Crowd gets juiced about a potential 2 on 1 with Getz and Perry, but it gets thwarted by the last man back.
3:48 - PITTSBURGH GOAL - SIDNEY CROSBY - Hiller stops a Dupuis shot with his chest, but the Ducks can't clear the rebound, as Crosby steps up and backhands it just between Hiller's leg pads and over the line. Second of the game for Crosby and it's a very scary 3-2 Ducks.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Heck of a 20 minutes for the Ducks, who get goals from Ryan, Getzlaf and Koivu and give up one on the power play to Crosby to take a 3-1 lead.
19:35 - Crosby is somehow able to send it to a charging Malkin right off the draw and Hiller just barely makes the kick save.
17:27 - PITTSBURGH GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SIDNEY CROSBY - Sid the Not-So-Kid parks in front of the net, where he gets his stick blade on a Letang shot to redirect it past Hiller. First power play goal in the last 30 opportunities for Pittsburgh and it's 3-1 Ducks.
It's Guess that Duck time, where fans are asked to guess which Duck is depicted in the blurry picture. The hint: He was born in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The choices are Ryan, Mara and Carter. Most of the crowd texts Carter and they're right.
16:06 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. holding. Selanne commits the infraction trying to get the puck back from Malkin, lifting Malkin's leg in the air and taking him down. Crowd doesn't like it, but probably because it's 8 getting the penalty. He somehow doesn't like it either.
Just got a text from a co-worker friend that simply said "Awes." He's into brevity.
14:26 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - Koivu fires a shot from the right wing that's stopped by Fleury. Puck comes to Visnovsky who also fires a shot of Fleury, but it's left in front, where Koivu charges at it and gets enough stick on it to tap it over the stripe. Three goals in less than seven minutes for Anaheim and it's 3-0.
12:22 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Perry emerges from behind the net and just barely gets it to Getzlaf in front of the net. The Ducks captain control the puck and fires it top shelf, pumping both fists as he glides toward the glass and the crowd joins him. It's 2-0 Ducks.
10:45 - Now Ryan picks off a pass behind the net, and seconds later, Getzlaf almost turns it into a goal while trying to feed Perry.
10:30 - Marchant picks off a pass and tries to send it to rookie Palmieri, but it's just out of his reach. Ducks forwards playing some serious D tonight.
8:45 - Loose puck comes to Carnter all alone, and he's got no one in front of him but Fleury, who pokes away the puck as Carter tries to deke.
7:35 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Visnovsky's shot from the point comes right back to him, so he gives it to Ryan in the high slot, who fires a quick wrister that surprises Fleury and settles into the top left corner of the net. Wow, what a goal, and it's 1-0 Ducks.
6:20 - Ducks nearly get one again, as Blake gets denied on the wraparound and Selanne just misses jamming in the rebound.
5:50 - Ducks in their own end for a ton of time, but Hiller puts a stop to it by plucking a deflected puck out of the air.
2:45 - Ducks catch a big break, as Hiller speads out the leg pads to deny what looked like a certain goal, with the Ducks clearing it the length of the ice after.
0:55 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. Bad change for the Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks play a solid 20 minutes, get saved by a couple of posts and head to the room in a scoreless tie.
19:01 - Malkin creates his own shot, but Hiller is ready.
17:30 - Orpik sends it on net from the point through traffic, where it's tipped by Dupuis and off the post again.
17:05 - Perry sends it down the ice as the penalty expires, making the Pens 0 for their last 28 on the power play.
16:30 - Great job by Koivu to pin the puck behind the Pens net for a good length of time. Get a couple licks in while he was at it.
15:05 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. roughing. Bobby gets into it after the whistle.
15:05 - Hiller closes the pads together to stop a ripped slap shot by Dupuis on a play where Crosby looked offside.
14:20 - Shot by Letang beats Hiller, but clangs off the crossbar.
13:30 - Fowler does it again, sliding on his stomach to disrupt Malkin in front of the net.
12:30 - Pretty play by Visnovsky to kick a Pittsburgh pass to himself and try a stretch pass to Selanne.
Fan trivia question asks, which goalie had his first shutout of the season on Nov. 5, 2009 against Nashville. The choices are Hiller, Giguere and Bryzgalov. Since Bryz was in Phoenix then, I'm going to guess ... Hiller. So does our fan, and he's right!
11:10 - Fowler slides on his belly backwards to mess up a centering try by Letestu.
8:30 - Ducks with a couple of chances, but can't beat Fleury.
8:15 - Ryan has a wide open net off a feed across the slot by Blake, but it somehow gets under his stick.
7:30 - Hiller has trouble controling a bouncing puck and almost gives up a shorty to Adams.
6:52 - PIT Penalty - Zbynek Michalek, 2 min. boarding. As Perry is waiting behind the net for a dumped-in puck, Michalek gives him a shove into the wall from behind. No doubt about that one. Perry is slow to get up and the Ducks aren't happy about it.
5:30 - Ryan picks off a pass and has wide open ice in front of the net, but fires a wrist shot from the slot way wide.
5:00 - Getzlaf and Crosby, former Olympic teammates, exchange a couple of hard shoves as they go back and forth with each other. And they jaw at each other as they both get to their respective benches. Good stuff.
4:30 - Ryan tries a quick touch pass to Getzlaf after taking a drop pass from Perry, but it's knocked away.
1:42 - Right off the draw, Parros and Deryk Engelland throw down the gloves, and this one is over early as Parros lands a right and takes down Engelland with the left as he grabs the jersey. Engelland wants to get up for more, but officials won't allow it. First moustache-less fight for Parros and he dominates it.
0:45 - First shot of the game comes from Perry above the left wing circle, into Fleury's chest and held.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Fleury and his 1-5-0 record in net for Pittsburgh over Johnson (5-1-1). Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.