ANAHEIM – If 2011 is anything like the way 2010 ended, it’s going to be a good year for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks got two goals apiece from Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky and a solid 35-save showing from Jonas Hiller in a commanding 5-2 victory over the Flyers in front of a New Year’s Eve gathering of 17,103 at Honda Center.
It was the first game for Anaheim without center and captain Ryan Getzlaf, out indefinitely with multiple sinus fractures suffered Tuesday night in Phoenix when he was struck in the face by a puck.
"With Getzlaf out, it’s a huge hole for us to fill," Blake said. "We knew they played last night [7-4 win in Los Angeles] and we wanted to jump on them right away."
The Ducks looked as if they didn’t miss Getzlaf on the offensive end, racking up five goals on Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, including four in the final two periods.
Anaheim got major insurance 6:40 into the third period from Bobby Ryan, who was centering the top line with Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey in Getzlaf’s absence. Ryan’s connected on a wrist shot from the top of the right wing circle for his first tally in eight games, and it gave the Ducks back a two-goal lead just minutes after Philadelphia made it 3-2 on a Jeff Carter strike.
Later in the period, Visnovsky put the game away by taking in a Teemu Selanne pass and firing a wrist shot under the crossbar for his second of the game and 100th in his career.
"I’m very happy to have 100 goals in my 10th season," Visnovsky said. "I look at the [game notes] paper before the games. Everybody knows how many games and how many goals you have. I knew two more goals and I would have 100. I’m very happy I scored them before the start of the New Year."
Blake goals in each of the first two periods paced the Ducks to a 3-1 lead through the first 40 minutes. He broke the scoring ice five minutes into the game, as the Ducks took advantage of a Flyers defensive breakdown. Oskars Bartulis was badly out of position on a headman pass by Toni Lydman to Blake, who skate in on the breakaway, went to the backhand and roofed it.
Visnovsky got the second straight Anaheim goal 3:58 into the second period, picking up the loose change off a blocked Selanne shot and sending it over Bobrovsky’s shoulder.
Exactly two minutes later, Blake struck again, punching in a rebound off a point blank snap shot by Joffrey Lupul. It was the first two-goal game as a Duck for Blake, who was acquired by Anaheim last January 31.
The Flyers cut into the Anaheim lead when Andreas Nodl slapped a shot through a crowd from the slot to make it 3-1 at 8:15 of the middle session.
Philly got even closer 3:30 into the third, when Perry turned the puck over to Carter in the Anaheim end, and Carter sent a wrist shot off the inside of the far post. But Ryan scored that long-awaited goal off a Toni Lydman feed soon afterward to give Anaheim some breathing room.
"Our guys battled back and got the goal back," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "That was our mindset. We had to go out and win the third period. It didn’t matter what was happening, we had to win that period. That was what our goal was and we went out and did it."
The game was the first of six straight at home for the Ducks, who take on Stanley Cup champion Chicago (Philly’s opponent in last year’s Final) on Sunday. Anaheim officially hits the halfway point of the season (41 games) with 44 points, putting them seventh in the West, though they've played more games than anyone else in the conference.
The Ducks have improved their record at home this season to 12-6-1, earning 25 of a possible 38 points. Anaheim has posted a 5-2-0 record at Honda Center over the last seven contests.
Anaheim has gone 7-4-1 overall in the last 12 contests.
The Ducks swept the two-game season series against Philadelphia, outscoring the Flyers 8-4 over those two contests. The club edged Philadelphia by a score of 3-2 on Oct. 21 at Wells Fargo Center. Overall, the Ducks have a three-game win streak vs. Philadelphia dating back to Oct. 10, 2009 (3-2 SO win at Wells Fargo Center).
In 13 contests vs. Eastern Conference teams this season, the Ducks have gone 8-4-1.
Tonight marked Jonas Hiller’s fourth career assist. His recorded his last assist on Mar. 17, 2010 vs. Chicago at Honda Center.
Over the last 11 games, Hiller has gone 6-3-1 with a 1.87 GAA (20 GA/643 MIN) and .945 SV% (345-of-365).
With two assists in tonight’s contest, Teemu Selanne has moved to within one assist of a share of 55th in all-time assists (Bobby Smith, 679). In 1,218 career NHL games, Selanne has earned 616-676=1,294 points, now sitting just six points away from the 1,300-point marker. Selanne has 0-6=6 points over the last five contests.
Lubomir Visnovsky’s second goal on the night was the 100th of his career (100-285=385). It was his first multi-goal game since Mar. 19, 2010 vs. the New York Islanders (2-0=2) and the seventh multi-goal game of his career. Visnovsky has 3-1=4 points in the last six contests and 4-6=10 points in the last 11.
Tonight was Jason Blake’s first multi-goal game (2-0=2) since Dec. 3, 2009 with Toronto at Columbus. It was the 22nd multi-goal game of his career (has 6 career hat tricks). Blake is now just two goals away from the 200-goal milestone.
Corey Perry has a two-game point streak (1-1=2), including an assist tonight. He also has 4-3=7 points in the last six contests, 8-7=15 points over the last 11 and 10-10=20 points over the last 17.
Toni Lydman collected his second multi-assist game of the season (also Oct. 26 at Dallas) with 0-2=2 points tonight. Lydman has earned 0-3=3 points over the last three games and 0-6=6 points over the last 10 games.
Saku Koivu has 0-3=3 points over his last two games, including two assists tonight. He also has 0-5=5 points over the last seven games.
Joffrey Lupul has points in consecutive games (1-1=2) and 3-2=5 points over the last eight.
With an assist in tonight’s game, Brandon McMillan has his first career point streak (0-2=2 over the last two games). In addition, McMillan has 1-3=4 points over the last five contests.
20:00 - END OF GAME - A very satisfying 5-2 victory for the Ducks.
19:54 - Hiller with one more great stop, taking a goal away from Carcillo with the glove with 5.5 left.
19:28 - Blake, looking for the hattie, shoots from the slot into the glove. (I'm not typing Bobrovsky anymore.)
17:00 - Fowler back on the bench.
16:50 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Seconds after the Fowler blocked shot, Selanne feeds cross-ice to a charging Visnovsky, who skates into the left wing circle and fires a wrist shot just under the crossbar. Second of the game for Visnovsky and the 100th of his career. It's 5-2 Ducks and we're going to Hooters!!
16:45 - Fowler gopes down to block a shot and he's shaken up. Holding his back as he heads off.
16:00 - Strong game by Hiller tonight.
14:45 - Ducks being outshot, 34-22, not that it matters.
12:35 - Lupul is robbed by Bobrovsky while following up a fat rebound off a McMillan shot.
12:02 - Hiller makes his trademark dramatic glove snatch on a point blank shot by Hartnell. Unreal save.
Shot of Mike Scioscia in the crowd gets a nice round of applause from the crowd, and a big crowd at that tonight. Some people got tickets in their stockings.
Great shot after the goal of Selanne putting an arm around Ryan on the Ducks bench and whispering something that made Ryan smile.
6:40 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Finally, it's Ryan, who scores for the first time in eight games. After a Perry shot from a bad angle skitters across the crease to the wall,Lydman picks it up and feeds Ryan, who slings a wrist shot from the right wing circle that hits nothing but net. Crowd is a little louder than normal knowing it's Ryan and it's 4-2.
3:30 - PHILADELPHIA GOAL - JEFF CARTER - Perry, with pressure on his back by Meszaros, turns the puck over in his own end to Carter, who waits a second and a half before whipping a shot off the inside of the far post. It's 3-2 Ducks.
0:45 - Big kick save by Hiller on Carle off a Ducks turnover. Goalie coach Pete Peeters jots down notes next to me. He must have liked that one.
0:00 - Ducks start the third on the power play.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks gets goals from Visnovsky and Blake, but give one up and it's 3-1.
19:57 - Fowler elects to hold the puck in his end and run out the clock, content with taking 30 seconds of PP time into the next period.
18:30 - PHI Penalty - Scott Hartnell, 2 min. boarding. Hartnell shoves Blake into the wall.
18:00 - Koivu drills Coburn after Coburn did the same to Selanne in the corner.
17:01 - Beleskey gets the crowd a little loud with a partial breakaway, but he loses the puck on the cut to the middle.
Forgot to mention, Ducks going with three As -- Perry, Koivu, Selanne -- in captain Getzlaf's absence.
11:05 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. hooking. Beleskey gets the stick into , I think Leino. Tough to read the numbers on the Flyers jerseys since the sleeve numbers are nearly impossible to see.
8:15 - PHILADELPHIA GOAL - ANDREAS NODL - Right out of the timeout, Nodl takes a pass from Carle in the slot ,and Nodl threads the needle with a snap shot that beats Hiller to make it 3-1.
8:05 - Philadelphia takes a rare mid-second-period timeout. Obviously Peter Laviolette doesn't like what's going on.
It's a New Year's edition of Kiss Cam, with the big smooches coming a bit before midnight, as one guy gets in a kiss while talking on his phone. Thanks for making the time, bud.
5:58 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JASON BLAKE - On the rush, Koivu feds from right wing to Lupul for a slap shot from point blank that goes off Bobrovsky right to Blake, who dumps it into the empty net. Second of the game for Blake, who celebrates with another sweet uppercut fist pump, and it's 3-0. First multi-goal game for Blake as a Duck.
4:48 - PHI Penalty - Nikolay Zherdev, 2 min. high sticking. Never thought I'd get to a point in my life where I could say, "Hmm, that's a different way to spell Nikolai."
3:58 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Koivu gets the puck to Selanne in the slot, and his shot is blocked, but Visnovsky picks up the loose change and whips a forehand over Bobrovsky's shoulder. Sixth of the year for Vish and it's 2-0 Ducks.
0:49 - Nice drop pass by Beleskey to Ryan, whose stopped by Bobrovsky. BR can't buy one lately.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Very solid first for the Ducks, who lead it 1-0 on Blake's breakaway.
17:25 - Bobrovsky loses the puck behind the net, then springs back to absolutely rob Blake. Rob Blake?
16:40 - Sutton looks a bit hurt after getting hit with a shot in about the same spot on the ice where Getzlaf took one to the forehead in Phoenix. That came mere seconds after Beleskey took one in the shin.
14:43 - ANA Penalty - Joffrey Lupul, 2 min. slashing. Lupul, the former Flyer, chops Hartnell's stick.
Wasn't sure what the Power Players were wearing on their heads, then realized they're New Year's hats. Almost forgot that's tonight.
12:29 - Kyle Chipchura and noted tough guy Daniel Carcillo drop the gloves away from the play after Chipchura objects to Carcillo hitting him against the glass. They both take some punishment from some solid rights, before running out of gas. Pretty decent bout.
11:35 - Selanne shot get sticked away by Bobrovsky. Still, the Ducks are all over the Philly net.
During the timeout, it's some sort of singing contest where a girl named Emily changes the lyrics to "More Than a Feeling" to add, "Let the Ducks beat the Flyers tonight!" Not bad. The guy who goes after her gets lustily booed.
10:49 - Nice one-handed grab of a flying puck by the guy sitting behind the penalty box wearing a ... wait for it ... Andrew Ebbett practice jersey.
9:00 - Selanne gets robbed by Bobrovsky.
8:35 - van Riemsdyk (yes, lowercase "van") steals the puck from Selanne and shoots it in one motion, but Hiller is ready.
5:10 - ANAHEIM GOAL - JASON BLAKE - Ducks take advantage of a defensive breakdown as a seemingly innocent headman pass by Lydman hits Blake and he's on a breakaway as a diving Bartulis is way out of position. Blake skates in on net, dekes to the backhand and flips it past Bobrovsky. Ducks lead it 1-0 as Blake gives a nice underarm fist pump. Second assist went to Hiller, who started the rush with an outlet pass.
4:10 - Hiller dives to thwart a rebound try by Leino. Wow.
3:10 - Hiller makes a nice gut stop on a Zherdev bullet from the circle.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:07 p.m. - The lovely Sarah Bennett (who happens to be a Ducks intern) knocks out the anthem again. Starters in bold/italics. Scratches crossed out.