ANAHEIM – In a game that looked eerily similar to the one two nights prior, the Ducks had plenty of chances but couldn’t convert enough of them in a frustrating home defeat.
This time it was to the struggling Edmonton Oilers, losers of sixth straight coming into tonight’s contest. And despite 40 shots on net against Oilers second-year goalie Devan Dubnyk, the Ducks could only manage two second period goals in falling 4-2 at Honda Center.
"Getting 40 shots isn’t relevant if you’re just taking shots from the boards and the blue line," said Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. "We’re not doing a good enough job of getting pucks and people there."
Edmonton took the lead for good with 6:31 left in the game when Ales Hemsky took a Dustin Penner pass on the right wing and darted past Toni Lydman before wristing it top shelf.
The Ducks tried desperately to get the equalizer, sending goalie Jonas Hiller to the bench for an extra attacker with less than a minute left. But a Corey Perry pass from behind the net hit nobody and cruised to the other side of the ice, where it dropped into the empty net to ice the game.
"We had our fair opportunities, but again I don’t think we got into that dirty area to create that second and third opportunity," said coach Randy Carlyle. "In the second period, we didn’t execute with the puck to get through the neutral ice. We gave them momentum. We got back in the hockey game and tied it up 2-2. I thought we’d be able to find a way and reach back in the third period."
It was the fifth straight loss for the Ducks coming off their six-game winning streak. That included two nights ago, when Anaheim had 50 shots, 25 in the third period alone, in a 4-3 loss to Columbus. They went 66 straight shots without a goal dating back to that game before turning everything around tonight in a second period where deuces were wild: two Ducks goals in a span of 22 seconds to tie the game 2-2.
The first came 16:33 into the period courtesy of a Bobby Ryan goal on a power play that the Ducks may not have deserved. Edmonton’s Theo Peckham was called for a delay of game penalty for flipping the puck over the glass, but replays showed the puck actually went through an open photographer’s hole.
Bob Hall, NHL senior officiating manager, commented on the call afterward:
“What happened in real time on the ice was the puck went out of play. The referee that was right in the corner didn’t see how it left the ice. He went and conferred with two of the other officials on the ice. They put the pieces of the puzzle together and they came out with it was shot out, which we all now know in seeing it on the replay that it was not the correct call.”
Regardless, the Ducks converted quickly, as Cam Fowler sent the puck from the point to Ryan in the slot, where he redirected it into the top corner of the net.
The Ducks quickly got another one, as Dan Sexton sent the puck on net from the low right wing, where it hit the stick of former Duck Ryan Whitney and caromed to Saku Koivu, who backhanded it over the stripe.
That erased an Oilers lead that they too had built with two relatively quick goals earlier in the period. Sam Gagner one-timed a Hemsky pass from behind the net 6:48 into the period, and less than two minutes later, 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick Taylor Hall fired a wrist shot from the left wing that beat Hiller on the stick side.
Recently recalled wingers Dan Sexton and Brandon McMillan were in the lineup for Anaheim, as was defenseman Andy Sutton, in his first game since breaking his thumb on opening night in Detroit. The Ducks were without winger Teemu Selanne, who left Friday night’s game in the third period with a sore groin and elected to rest it tonight with the Ducks not playing again until Friday afternoon vs. Chicago.
"The effort is there, but we have to bear down," Getzlaf said. "We’re playing on a little homestand where we have to take advantage of it. We’re going into a break. We have to learn from the mistakes and go forward."
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks drop another tough one, 4-2.
19:44 - EDMONTON GOAL - TOM GILBERT - Perry desperately tries to feed it in front from behind the net and it hits nobody, sliding all the way to the other end of the ice, where it drops into the empty net. Gilbert gets the goal for being the last to touch it.
19:10 - Hiller to the bench.
18:50 - Timeout Anaheim with 1:10 left, with Hiller seemingly headed to the bench first chance the Ducks get.
18:30 - Ducks can't even get on the attack, as Edmonton pins it into the Anaheim end.
13:29 - EDMONTON GOAL - ALES HEMSKY - On the rush, Penner feeds to Hemsky on the right wing, who darts past Lydman and roofs it for the go-ahead goal. It's 3-2 Oilers.
12:15 - Big kill for the Ducks as Sutton rejoins the gang.
10:15 - ANA Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. holding. Sutton gets called for putting his hands around Penner as he enters the zone. Hmm.
2:04 - Sbisa's shot from the slot goes off Dubnyk, resulting in a fat rebound with a wide open net for Bonino, who somehow can't get his stick on it.
1:00 - Ryan gets some room on left wing off a Getzlaf pass on the rush and LOUDLY rings the post. Ryan has seen more plumbing than one of the Mario Bros.
0:00 - Off and running in a big third period for the Ducks.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Heck of a period for the Ducks, who get two in a span of 22 seconds to tie it 2-2.
16:55 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - Blake takes the puck away from Gilbert behind the net and feeds Sexton, who quickly puts it in front. It hits Whitney's stick and bounces to Koivu in the crease, and he tucks it in to tie the game at 2-2.
16:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BOBBY RYAN - Fowler sends the puck into the slot to Ryan, who with his back to the net, redirects it into the top corner of the net. It's the first goal in 66 shots for the Ducks, on a power play they may not have deserved, and it's 2-1 Edmonton.
During the timeout, it's Guess That Duck and they go with a young photo of George Parros instead of blurring out a current Duck photo. The texting guessers are split between Bonino and Parros, but suddenly lean toward Parros. It's Georgie.
16:25 - EDM Penalty - Theo Peckham, 2 min. delay of game. Peckham is called for sending the puck over the glass, and argues vehemently that it went through the camera hole. Replays show he was right. Oops.
14:45 - Getzlaf makes a nice cross-ice pass to Ryan, who beats Dubnyk but rings the post. Ducks cannot buy one right now.
13:56 - EDM Penalty - Ryan Whitney, 2 min. holding. During a battle in front of the net, Whitney falls on top of Voros and holds him to the sheet. Ducks desperately need to make something happen here.
8:29 - EDMONTON GOAL - TAYLOR HALL - The No. 1 overall pick of the 2010 draft gets the puck on the left wing and shoots it past the No. 12 pick, Cam Fowler, with the puck sailing past Hiller on the far side. It's 2-0 Edmonton.
6:48 - EDMONTON GOAL - SAM GAGNER - Right off the draw, Hemsky skates behind the net, then reverses his field and feeds to the doorstep to Gagner, who one-times it through. Edmonton goes up 1-0.
5:55 - Perry, who has been all over the net tonight, fires a slapper from the wing that Dubnyk deflects away.
5:25 - Hiller with a nice stop on a slap shot by Brule with the penalty nearing its conclusion.
3:30 - ANA Penalty - Cam Fowler, 2 min. tripping. Fowler takes down Penner as Dustin heads the other way with the puck. Just the second penalty of the year on Fowler.
The full cage that Sexton is wearing for the once-broken nose makes him look even younger than usual.
2:00 - EDM Penalty - Kurtis Foster, 2 min. holding. Foster all over Ryan as BR heads toward the net.
1:30 - Perry shows off that patience again, holding the puck for awhile in front of the net, before snapping a shot off Dubnyk, the 20th of the game for Anaheim.
1:01 - McMillan takes a stretch pass at the Edmonton blue line to set up a potential breakaway, but he's a half step offside.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - This looks familiar. The Ducks get off 19 shots (to Edmonton's four) and can't convert. We're scoreless through one.
19:00 - Ducks with a couple of chances around the net, but nothing on the good side of the goal stripe.
17:06 - EDM Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice.
14:18 - ANA Penalty - Aaron Voros, 2 min roughing. Carter stuffs the puck into Dubnyk in front of the net, then gets the stick whipped out of his hands. He doesn't like it, so he shoves Jacques in the back, sparking a mini brawl that Voros gets involved in. Voros in the lineup for just the second time since Oct. 30.
13:00 - Ducks haven't found the net on their last 50 shots, dating back to Friday night.
12:00 - Picking up where they left off Friday night, Ducks outshooting Oilers 13-2 right now.
Selanne, by the way, scratched for tonight.
8:10 - Fowler nearly sneaks one through, then Bonino nearly does the same on the rebound. Combined age of those two? The same as Teemu Selanne by himself.
6:57 - Blake nearly pots one from the slot, but Dubnyk is ready.
5:14 - EDM Penalty - Gilbert Brule, 2 min. slashing. Apparently it's GHIL-bear Bru-LAY. Either way, Ducks power play.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:07 p.m. - Another fine job on the anthem, this time BOTH anthems, by the always-reliable Jenny Swoish.
Sexton (just recalled) and Sutton (just activated today) are starters tonight for Anaheim. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.