ANAHEIM – An Edmonton Oilers power play that has been ice cold over the last three weeks was thwarted by the Ducks during some critical moments, as Anaheim managed to hang on for a 3-2 decision at Honda Center.
In a desperate attempt to tie the score over the last minute and a half, Edmonton had a two-man advantage that turned into a three-man advantage after they sent goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to the bench for an extra attacker. (It got even more precarious for Anaheim when Saku Koivu lost his stick early in the power play and sprinted to the bench for a replacement.)
But the Ducks penalty kill kept them at bay and continued to do so when Toni Lydman came out of the box after serving his high sticking penalty. Goalie Curtis McElhinney and the Ducks defense was able to withstand some dangerous moments around the net in the closing moments, and they clinched a tense victory when Lydman backhanded the puck out of the Anaheim end with a couple seconds left on the clock.
"We take the two points," said Teemu Selanne, who had two goals in the game, "but we are not very happy how we got them."
The win was Anaheim's fourth in its last five and came one night after a rough 6-2 loss in Phoenix. "We couldn’t have found any better way to make it more interesting, a six-on-three, then the broken stick, so it was kind of like six-on-two and a half," said Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton. "We found a way to get it done. We kind of banded together, three guys can be more like five. We had a couple of big saves and we just found a way to get it done."
The Oilers, who entered the night 0 for their last 33 on the power play, were unsuccessful on all five opportunities tonight and haven’t scored a power play goal since December 23. They got both of their goals tonight in a 26-second window in the second period to make it a one-goal game.
"Third period they were much better," Selanne said. "They were aggressive, they were skating, they won the battles, and and we had a goalie that stopped everything. Without him this would be ugly.
The Ducks built their lead thanks to a guy who got his second career goal (Luca Sbisa) and one who notched his 619th and 620th (Selanne). Selanne put the Ducks up 3-0 late in the second period on the power play, redirecting a pass from Lubomir Visnovsky with the back of the stick blade.
But the Oilers quickly turned the tables later in the frame with those two quick goals. Magnus Paajarvi punched in a rebound off McElhinney on the rush to make it 3-1 Ducks, then Sam Gagner got them even closer with a one-timer from the left wing circle off a Linus Omark feed.
McElhinney got the start in net despite the fact it looked like Jonas Hiller might start his second straight game after playing just over half the game before getting pulled in last night's defeat in Phoenix. McElhinney actually came out of tonight’s game briefly in the second period after making a save and falling forward chin-first onto the back of Maxim Lapierre’s skate blade. McElhinney went to the dressing room, where he received stitches on the cut, and he returned to the game after just a couple of shifts.
"It was one of those things where I knew I would go back out there as soon as I got stitched up, so it wasn’t that bad," McElhinney said. "I went to cover the puck and I just kind of fell on the heel of somebody’s skate, I believe. I knew I was cut open but it didn’t feel that bad. As soon as I saw the blood I thought I would just go get it checked out on the bench."
As active as McElhinney was during those torrid final moments, he only saw four shots in a first period in which the Ducks went up 2-0 on goals by Selanne and Sbisa.
Sbisa connected on a slap shot from the right wing point through a Jason Blake screen midway through the period, his second career goal and third point as a Duck.
Selanne got the 1,300th point of his much-longer career with four minutes left in the first, tipping a Visnovsky shot off the leg pad of Khabibulin, then depositing the rebound into the open cage.
"We thought this was going to be easy, but there are no easy games in this league," said Selanne. "If you can’t play 60 minutes of solid hockey, you are going to be having some problems. And it showed again tonight."
The Ducks, who have played seven of their last eight at home, now head off on a four-game roadie leading into the All-Star break.
Anaheim has won four straight games at Honda Center and has gone 10-3-0 at HOME over the last 13 contests. The club is 17-7-1 at HOME this season, earning 35 of a possible 50 standings points. The Ducks currently lead the NHL in wins at HOME in 2010-11 (third in win percentage with .700).
The Ducks have gone 29-for-30 on the penalty kill (96.7%) dating back to the third period on Dec. 28 at Phoenix (spanning nine games).
On the power play, Anaheim has a 50% success rate (9-for-18) over the last five games. The club has gone 24-for-91 (26.4%) on the power play at HOME this season, ranking second in the NHL.
The Ducks have gone 7-1-0 in their last eight contests vs. the Oilers, dating back to Mar. 31, 2009.
Teemu Selanne recorded his 1,300th career NHL point (620-681=1,301) on his first goal tonight (2-0=2 on the evening). Selanne became the 32nd player in NHL history to reach the 1,300-point plateau. Tonight marked his second multi-goal game of the season and second multi-goal game in the last five (4-2=6 in that span). He also has 4-9=13 points in the last 12 contests.
Lubomir Visnovsky recorded his 11th multi-point game of the season tonight with two assists (0-2=2). Visnovsky has points in five straight games (1-8=9), 3-8=11 points in the last eight games, 4-9=13 in the last 13 and 5-14=19 in the last 18. Visnovsky is on pace for a 67-point season, which would match his career high set in 2005-06 with LA (17-50=67).
Cam Fowler has 0-3=3 points in his last three games and 0-6=6 points in the last five. His 3-21=24 points on the season lead all NHL rookie defenseman and his 21 assists lead all NHL rookies (ranks sixth overall in rookie points).
Toni Lydman has 0-3=3 points in the last five games and 0-6=6 points in the last eight. He is on pace for a career-high 34-point season (scored a career-best 6-22=28 points in 2001-02 with Calgary). His +25 rating on the season ranks second in the NHL (PHI’s Mezsaros has a +27 rating through 44 games).
Jason Blake has a three-game point streak (1-3=4) and 3-3=6 points in his last seven contests.
With an assist tonight, Joffrey Lupul has 1-5=6 points in the last nine contests.
Tonight’s attendance was 15,764.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks hang on, 3-2.
19:58 - Lydman backhands a loose puck down the ice as the clock heads toward zero and the crowd roars.
19:30 - Sutton pitchforks it out after some scariness around the net. Crowd goes wild.
18:55 - Ducks survive for now, as Koivu loses his stick, and runs to get another one. Lydman out of the box now, gets a pass ahead, but can't put it in the empty net.
18:28 - ANA Penalty - Andreas Lilja, 2 min. boarding. Lilja pushes Omark into the wall. Scary time for Ducks, as Khabibulin stays on the bench and it's a 6 on 3.
18:15 - Khabi to the bench.
17:45 - Nice glove save by McElhinney on a Hemsky slapper.
16:48 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. high sticking. Ducks are totally gassed after a very long shift in their end, and it shows on the Lydman penalty behind the net.
14:17 - Edmonton kills it, as the Ducks miss a huge chance.
13:35 - Blake is robbed after a nice fake-shot-pass by Fowler.
12:05 - Redirect off a Sbisa shot just hits off Khabibulin and trickles barely wide.
10:17 - EDM Penalty - Theo Peckham, 4 min. (double minor) high sticking. Peckham cuts Selanne as Selanne skates by him in the Edmonton end. Selanne gets some attention from the trainer, but he's overall okay. Huge opportunity for Anaheim.
9:30 - Can't help but feel like we need a goal.
8:40 - Great kick save by McElhinney on a one-timer by Cogliano.
8:00 - Great backhand feed to Marchant in the crease goes under Marchant's stick.
3:40 - McElhinney makes a huge stop on Reddox, who tried to jam one in from the crease off a nice feed.
1:40 - Lilja saves the day by diving on his stomach and breaking up a pass on a 2 on 1.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, Ducks on the PP.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks go up 3-0 thanks to Selanne's second, but they give up two quick ones to make it 3-2. Anaheim has 1:21 of PP time when we come back.
19:40 - Khabibulin makes a couple of big stops from point blank with Perry all over him.
19:20 - EDM Penalty - Theo Peckham, 2 min. boarding. Peckham drives Blake into the wall.
18:44 - EDMONTON GOAL - SAM GAGNER - Omark picks off a Lilja clearing attempt and, as Paajarvi takes out Lilja in the slot, Omark gets the puck fo Gagner for the one-timer. Big-time turn of the tables in this one and it's 3-2 Anaheim.
18:18 - EDMONTON GOAL - MAGNUS PAAJARVI - On the rush, Gagner takes the puck from Chorney and wrists a shot from the right wing that McElhinney blockers away, but right to Paajarvi, who punches it in. It's 3-1 Ducks.
17:32 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Visnovsky holds the puck at the straightaway point, waiting for an opening, before he slides the puck to Selanne, who redirects it with the back of the stick blade under Khabibulin. Second of the game for Selanne and it's 3-0 Ducks.
17:20 - Not to jinx it, but Edmonton is now 0 for its last 36 on the power play.
16:30 - EDM Penalty - Taylor Chorney, 2 min. holding. Chorney impedes Marchant near the Ducks bench.
14:29 - McElhinney back in net for the Ducks. Reportedly received stitches for a neck laceration.
14:29 - ANA Penalty - Luca Sbisa, 2 min. interference. Sbisa pushes down Jacques as the Oiler tries to chase a dumped puck, sparking a bit of a scuffle between the two teams.
11:55 - Koivu gets absolutely robbed twice, first on a rebound by Khabibulin, then when he gathers the puck and shoots it past the drawn-out goalie, Petry slides in front of the net and miraculously blocks it. Wow.
11:36 - McElhinney stops a point blank one-timer try by Jacques, but he's shaken up immediately afterward, as he falls mask-first on the back of Lapierre's skate. He heads into the locker room and Jonas Hiller comes in.
8:20 - McMillan gets taken down from behind by Peckham as he goes to the net. Crowd wants a call.
8:05 - Perry gets tangled up with Gilbert and then tackled after dumping the puck on the PK. Crowd wants a call.
6:25 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. tripping. Koivu gets the gate for taking down Hall as they both chase the puck. He doesn't care for that one.
5:55 - Fowler looks a little shaken up after taking a puck off ... something.
2:58 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. hooking Beleskey gets the stick under the arms of Gagner in the corner. Tough one.
2:10 - McElhinney gloves a Paajarvi shot from the wing, just the fifth shot from the Oilers tonight.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Nice opener for the Ducks, as they lead 2-0 on goals by Sbisa (2nd of his career) and Selanne (619th).
Rush song played during the break in the action. Always reminds me of "I Love You, Man."
16:00 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - Visnovsky has a ton of room to fire a rocket from the high right wing that Selanne actually tips off of the leg pad of Khabibulin, who tries to pounce on the puck, but it's out of his reach. Selanne picks it up and easily deposits it into the open net. It's 2-0 on the 1,300th NHL point for 8.
14:50 - McMillan hacks away near the goal post. He's very active tonight.
During the timeout, we play Name that Theme Song with Ducks fan Dan, who is surrounded by Power Players and, for some reason, the USC ice girls. They play "Show me that smile again...," clearly the Growing Pains theme. Dan is given the choice of Silver Spoons, Growing Pains and Family Ties. He goes with Growing Pains!He wins a bevy of prizes.
12:10 - Sutton with three points shots in a row that miss the mark.
10:50 - McElhinney hangs tough during some madness in front.
9:23 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - LUCA SBISA - From the right wing point, Sbisa takes a d-to-d pass from Lydman and hammers a one-timer through a Blake screen that flies past Khabibulin's glove. It's 1-0 Ducks on the second of Sbisa's career.
9:00 - Ryan with a slick move to the net, but passes up a shot. Then a Lupul redirect goes just wide.
8:00 - EDM Penalty - Steve MacIntyre, 2 min. high sticking. Got Bobby Ryan up high near center ice.
7:00 - Lots of back and forth, but no meaningful shots in the last few minutes.
3:30 - Fowler busts a shot for a high rebound off Khabibulin, which McMillan tries to chip in and can't.
1:00 - Perry with Anaheim's first shot, off the blocker.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
5:08 p.m. - Brian Hayward is honored before the game for broadcasting his 1,000th game. Nice little ceremony at center ice that includes giving him a crystal memento and a week-long trip to Alberta. He better hustle up to the booth now.
5:07 p.m. - Another nice job on both anthems by Dawn Wright.
McElhinney gets the start over Hiller. Starters in bold/italics.