ANAHEIM – The personnel has changed over the years, as has the level of success, but one thing has remained constant for the Ducks – beating the Calgary Flames at home.
The Ducks took down the visiting Flames for the 12th straight time in the regular season, but they once again made it hard on themselves, losing a two-goal lead in the third period for the third straight game. This time they were bailed out when Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry came through in the shootout and Jonas Hiller withstood two of three Calgary attempts to earn a 3-2 victory.
"The good part is we won tonight. The bad part is we had a two-goal lead and we gave it up again," Hiller said. "It shouldn’t have happened. In the end, we’ll be happy with the two points."
Getzlaf led off the shootout by sending a forehand under goalie Calgary goalie Henrik Karlsson, but Alex Tanquay evened it up by sneaking a shot under Hiller’s skate. Hiller, taking part in his third shootout in as many nights, got a break on Calgary’s next attempt as Niklas Hagman rang his shot off the crossbar, and Perry followed by swinging in off left wing and sending the puck under Karlsson. Hiller iced it when he threw out his leg to deny Rene Bourque on the forehand.
Calgary, which hasn’t won at Honda Center since January 19, 2004, tried to steal one this time by scoring twice in the third period to erase a 2-0 lead. Olli Jokinen got Calgary’s first goal 6:58 into the third on the power play, launching a shot from the top of the right wing circle that beat Hiller on the near side.
Then with 6 1/2 minute left, David Moss tipped a Mark Giordano shot enough to bounce it off Lubomir Visnovsky’s skate and under Hiller.
Visnovsky struck at 12:46 in the first when he took the puck from Getzlaf on right wing, cut to the middle of the ice and rifled a slap shot from just above the circles that darted inside the post.
Visnovsky had a part in the goal that make it 2-0 Ducks with 3 ½ minutes remaining in the second. He banked the puck off the all from the Anaheim end, where it met up with rookie Brandon McMillan just beyond the Calgary blue line. McMillan waited until the last instant to send a pass across the top of the crease, where Sexton bunted it into the open net just before falling and slamming into the wall.
Lubo made a really good play," Sexton said. "I noticed it because it looked like he was going to put it off the glass. All of a sudden he walked around a guy quick, which I don’t think a lot of defensemen would think to do. That bought us time to get down the ice. Mac made a great pass and I just banked it off my stick. I was fortunate enough for it to go in."
It was the second of the year for Sexton, who just arrived in Anaheim this afternoon after a late recall from Syracuse.
"I had to be prepared,"Sexton said. "I tried to make my legs feel good and get a lot of liquids in me. Luckily I didn’t play a lot of minutes, so when I was out there, I was able to be moving alright."
Unfortunately, the two-goal cushion Sexton's goal gave the Ducks ultimately vanished, something that happened Tuesday night at Edmonton (where they won in a shootout) and Wednesday night in Vancouver (shootout loss). This time they had a number of opportunities to end it in overtime, as they fired a number of shots off Karlsson during a 4-on-3 power play in the middle of the extra session.
Regardless, they earned the win in the tiebreaker, making them 5-2-1 in their last eight contests. In addition to the 12-game regular season streak, the Ducks have also earned points in 20 of 21 regular season home games vs. Calgary (17-1-3).
Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan appeared in their 400th and 200th NHL games tonight, respectively. Perry scored the shootout-winning goal tonight, the seventh game-deciding shootout goal of his career.
With an assist in tonight’s contest, Ryan Getzlaf has earned 1-3=4 points in the last six games and 1-7=8 points in the last eight.
Jonas Hiller has gone 5-2-1 in his last eight appearances, stopping 230-of-248 shots for a 2.44 (18 GA/442 MIN) and .927 SV%. In his last 18 games, Hiller has gone 10-6-2 with a 2.66 GAA (46 GA/1,039 MIN) and .918 SV% (513-of-559). Hiller won his second shootout of the season, stopping two-of-three shots.
Tonight’s attendance was 13,775.
CGY Rene Bourque's attempt is NO GOOD, as he dekes to the forehand and Hiller kick saves to WIN IT!
ANA Corey Perry's attempt is GOOD, as he swings in from left wing and fires it under Karlsson.
CGY Niklas Hagman's attempt is NO GOOD, as he fires off the crossbar.
ANA Joffrey Lupul's attempt is NO GOOD, as Karlsson leans on his side and stacks the pads.
CGY Alex Tanguay's shootout attempt is GOOD, as he moves to the forehand and barely sneaks it under Hiller's skate.
ANA Ryan Getzlaf's shootout attempt is GOOD, as he cuts to the forehand and sends it five hole.
Overtime Teemu Selanne shown on the bench in street clothes, a leather jacket to be exact. Not sure that's allowed, but so be it.
5:00 - END OF OVERTIME - We go to a shootout for the third straight game.
4:46 - Ducks fire four times on net, unfortunately all from the perimeter, and all are knocked away.
3:39 - Vish fires a one-timer off Karlsson's glove and out of play.
2:37 - CGY Penalty - Brendan Morrison, 2 min. hooking. Morrison takes down Sbisa behind the Anaheim net. Huge opportunity for the Ducks.
1:50 - Lupul cannons a one-timer off the inside of the post. That didn't miss by much. Wow.
0:00 - Here we go.
3rd Period 20:00 - END OF REGULATION - Another two-goal lead gone, another overtime.
18:54 - Ryan slings a somewhat surprising shot through Regehr, but Karlsson is ready for it.
Feels like this game is flying by.
14:07 - Bit of a rumble involving eight players, as Lilja objects to something from Kostopoulos.
13:25 - CALGARY GOAL - DAVID MOSS (SCORING CHANGE FROM EARLIER) - Giordano takes the puck off the wall and fires a shot from high left wing. Moss tips it off Visnovsky's skate and it sneaks under Hiller. Tough break for the Ducks, who watch a two-goal third period lead vanish for the third straight game.
11:40 - Blake tries to send it deep and it hits the linesman and comes back behind the blue line. Not a good night for those guys.
8:49 - Ducks get a break when a misplayed puck by Calgary goes over the glass, because Hiller's stick was 10 feet away from him on the ice. He needs that.
6:58 - CALGARY GOAL (POWER PLAY) - OLLI JOKINEN - Jokinen takes the puck from Giordano at the top of the right wing circle and fires a shot that beats Hiller top shelf on the near side. Bobby Ryan was playing without a stick on the PK after it broke on a clearing attempt. It's 2-1 Ducks on just the fourth of the year for Jokinen.
4:50 - Lupul fires a shot from above the right wing circle that Blake knocks down to himself in front of the net, and Karlsson can't located the puck as Blake puts it in the open net. But it's waved off immediately by the official, who says Blake touched it with a high stick.
4:22 - Parros is standing over Karlsson as he freezes the puck. Giordano thinks about shoving Parros off his goalie, realizes how big Parros is, and just kind of nudges him.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get one from Sexton off a perfect feed from McMillan and lead it 2-0. It's the third straight game they'll have a two-goal lead in the third period.
19:56 - Lubo rips a slap shot that hits off Karlsson and bounds behind him before he pounces on it.
19:20 - Lupul feeds across the top of the crease to Perry in front of an open net, but it rattles around Perry's skates.
Power Players not going with the traditional Santa suits, but just the orange Santa hats with their third jerseys and shorts. Still works.
17:58 - CGY Penalty - Tom Kostopoulos, 2 min. holding. Ducks get another chance on a power play that hasn't look so good tonight.
16:29 - ANAHEIM GOAL - DAN SEXTON - Visnovsky sends the puck off the wall, where it meets up with McMillan just beyond the Calgary blue line. He heads down left wing and waits until the last second to send the puck across the crease to Sexton, who taps it into the open net. Sexton falls to the ice and slams into the wall right afterward, thrusting his arms up in the air from a prone position. It's his second of the year after not arriving in Anaheim on a plane from Syracuse until this afternoon. It's 2-0 Ducks.
15:31 - Flames ice it to end a power play they probably didn't deserve.
13:33 - ANA Penalty - Cam Fowler, 2 min. interference. As they both chase the puck into the Anaheim end, Tanguay grabs Fowler by the waist and spins him around. Somehow the penalty goes to Fowler. Crowd thinks it's ridiculous.
11:50 - CGY Penalty - Cory Sarich, 2 min. holding. The official turns his mic on a little early to announce the penalty and can be vaguely heard yelling to Sarich, "Get in the box!" Mildly funny.
10:00 - Hiller slides over to deny a Kotalik one-timer. Kotalik, who was looking at a wide open net, is left wondering what just happened.
9:10 - Hiller nicely splays out on all fours to stop a Tanguay shot with the left leg.
Former Duck Brendan Mikkelson up here in the press box tonight. He's played 15 games with the Flames this year.
Typing the name Karlsson makes me want a beer. Then again, pretty much everything makes me want a beer.
4:01 - CGY Penalty - Anton Babchuk, 2 min. slashing. Blake gets out of the box and immediately gets the puck at the blue line for a breakaway. His wrist shot is stopped by Karlsson, but Babchuk slashes from behind.
Just noticed in that Koivu photo below there are like a dozen people with KOIVU on their backs, and one guy ruins it with COLLINS.
3:17 - McMillan looks like he might get on the breakaway after stealing the puck, but he slips and falls, causing Perry to go offside.
2:42 - Hiller glove snatches an Iginla rocket from the right wing.
1:33 - ANA Penalty - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. Too much man.
1:06 - Hiller finishes off a big penalty kill by holding steady as Jokinen repeatedly bats a puck against the leg pad.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Calgary on a 5 on 3.
20:00 - Ducks get out of the period up 1-0, but Calgary will have a 2-man advantage when we come back.
19:01 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. holding the stick. Regehr gets his stick under Ryan's arm and Ryan gets the penalty for grabbing on. Hmm.
Reader Elizabeth sends a photo of that cluster of Koivu fans, which she snapped from one of the upper levels.
18:24 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. tripping. Right after a Lupul slingshot is knocked away by Karlsson, Getzlaf trips Sarich right by the net. Not a good penalty.
12:01 - Getzaf's one-timer stopped, as is Ryan's rebound try, and Fowler's shot seconds later is blocked.
17:36 - CGY Penalty - Mikael Backlund, 2 min. interference. Um, we'll take that one.
During the timeout, there is a competition between two fans, one older man and one older girl, for who can sing Santa Claus is coming to town better, with the winner getting tickets. The man pulls it off nicely, getting a nice applause, and the girl actually gets booed. Kind of sad, actually. I thought it was a nice effort on her part, although slightly off key.
16:00 - Flames try to jam the puck in through a scrum around the crease, and although Hiller falls backwards into the net, the Ducks survive.
12:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Getzlaf drops the puck to Visnovsky on the right wing, who loses Regehr with a cut to the middle and fires a slap shot just inside the right post. My favorite NHL 11 move, and it gives Visnovsky his first goal since November 9. Somehow "Bro Hymn" doesn't come on after the goal, but it still counts. It's 1-0 Ducks.
There is a cluster of fans in section 206, all of them wearing Koivu home jerseys. Not sure what that's about.
8:18 - Brendan Morrison, a Duck for one season, speeds down the left wing and fires into Hiller's belly.
6:43 - Hiller with a nice job to push out and swallow a Regehr shot from the point. No rebound.
Ducks in their thirds again, by the way, as they will be for every Friday home game this year.
0:55 - Perry with a one-timer off a Getzlaf pass, kick saved by Henrik Karlsson, in there for Kiprusoff tonight.
Screaming Guy, who sits in the back row, right up against the press box, is at it early tonight.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Beauty of a job on the anthem by both Amanda Guerrero (Canadian) and newcomer Natalie Gilbert (U.S.). The latter did wonderful work despite the smattering of Calgary fans hitting the words "see" (as in C) and "red" during the song. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.