ANAHEIM – With so much attention lately on their goaltending situation, it was around the other net the Ducks couldn’t get much going in a frustrating defeat to the Minnesota Wild.
Anaheim attempted 48 shots against Wild on the night (their second-highest total of the season), but only managed two goals in a 3-2 overtime defeat at Honda Center that marked their fifth straight loss.
"It’s tough. You look at all the chances we had to score and put the game away," said Corey Perry.
The Ducks had trouble getting the puck past Minnesota backup Jose Theodore the entire night, until they finally broke through with 2:00 left in regulation to tie the score 2-2. Jason Blake’s shot from the wing caromed off Theodore into the crease, where Francois Beauchemin just got his stick on it to send it fluttering into the net. It was Beauchemin's first goal since coming to the Ducks in a trade with Toronto on February 9.
Two minutes later the Ducks earned a point for the first time in five games, but they ultimately faltered with just 6.3 seconds left in overtime. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was all alone when he got the puck from Brent Burns at center ice for a breakaway. ("I don't think anybody saw him out there," Perry said.) Bouchard deked to his forehand before sending the puck under new Ducks goalie Dan Ellis for the winner.
Ellis was making his first start as a Duck after being acquired in a trade yesterday with the Tampa Bay Lightning (with Jonas Hiller still out with balance issues). Among his 28 stops was one about 30 seconds before the Bouchard goal on another breakaway, as he stonewalled Cal Clutterbuck and stopped the ensuing shot off the rebound.
"I don’t think you ever design to give up two breakaways in four-on-four play," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "We got too loose and too aggressive on the offensive side of it. We got caught. You can’t do that. (Ellis) made a big stop on the first one. The puck bobbled over Cam Fowler’s stick and they got in behind us. That’s a new one for us."
Minnesota took a 2-1 lead in the third on a puck that Ellis probably should have stopped, as Clayton Stoner fired an attempt from the high left wing that snuck under a late-reacting Ellis.
Anaheim’s shot total was two short of the season-high 50 it put up against Columbus back on November 19. Of the seven times the Ducks have had 40 shots or more in a game, all have been losses.
The Ducks and Wild skated scoreless for more than 15 minutes, until John Madden broke the ice with a goal at 15:29. Madden cruised down left wing on the 2-on-1 and wristed a pretty shot into the top far corner of the net.
Anaheim got even just short of halfway through the second period, as a pretty Ryan Getzlaf backhand feed from behind the net hit Blake just outside the crease. Blake’s shot was saved by Theodore, but both Blake and Bobby Ryan were there for the rebound, and replays showed Ryan got his stick on the puck to jam it under the Wild netminder.
That was one of the few blemishes on Theodore’s night, as he registered a season-high 46 saves while giving No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom the night off. Backstrom took the 4-2 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles last night.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Theodore over there," Perry said. "He played well and made some big saves. He saw a lot of rubber tonight. It’s a matter of finding those bounces again that we were getting early on when we were winning."
The Ducks, who remained just two points out of the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings, roll on with their seven-game homestand Sunday vs. Colorado.
"We have to look at the positives," Beauchemin said. "We got one point. That is not enough, but we’ll take that. We’ll have a good practice tomorrow and go back to work on Sunday."
Said Carlyle, "We did some things throughout the hockey game to give ourselves a chance. We didn’t execute when we had open nets and didn’t get enough traffic in front of Theodore. But we had 40-plus shots and got a point. Now we have to build on this, forget this, move on to tomorrow and prepare for Sunday."
4:53 - MINNESOTA GOAL - PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD - Fowler loses the puck in the Minnesota end, and Burns sends it ahead to a cherry-picking Bouchard, who has no one around him at center ice. He gets on the breakaway, makes a deke and sends it under Ellis to win it. Ducks lose fifth straight, but get a point.
4:20 - Ellis with a huge stop on a Clutterbuck breakaway after a bad Lydman turnover.
2:46 - Minny ices it with 2:14 left.
1:19 - Ellis takes in a Cullen shot from the wing. Similar to the one that got through earlier.
0:06 - Selanne tries to send us all home with an absolute blast of a slap shot on the right wing that Theodore deflects out of play.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Clock hits triple-zero and we're going to overtime.
18:00 - ANAHEIM GOAL - FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN - Ducks finally break through on Theodore as Blake fires a shot off him that provides a rebound in the crease, where Beauchemin is there to just get his stick on it and chip it in. First goal for Beauchemin following the trade from Toronto and it's a gargantuan one. We're tied 2-2.
17:17 - Timeout with 3:43 left and the Ducks needing a goal.
15:03 - MINNESOTA GOAL - CLAYTON STONER - Stoner charges down left wing and fires a slap shot that gets under a dejected Ellis. It's one he should definitely have stopped and he's frustrated for it. It's 2-1 Wild.
14:15 - Marchant AGAIN nearly gets one from in deep.
12:17 - Ducks have 39 shots on goal.
10:50 - Ducks can't take advantage after Cullen's stick breaks in half.
10:21 - Ryan tries to tip through a Fowler shot that Theodore holds, and Burns gets a little aggressive shoving Ryan off his goalie. So Ryan shoves back.
9:44 - Selanne with a couple of one-timer tries that Theodore stops. He's playing very very well tonight. Here me, hockey gods? He's playing great.
9:56 - MIN Penalty - Jed Ortmeyer, 2 min. tripping. Ortmeyer takes down Fowler at the blue line. During the delayed whistle, Sbisa nearly pots one from the slot.
5:40 - Perry makes a pretty move in front and has Theodore down, but his backhand goes over the crossbar. Missed opportunity there for the Ducks.
3:00 - Scary times in the crease, but the Ducks escape.
1:44 - Ducks don't get much done on the power play.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, Ducks on the power play.
Nevermind on the previous note about where the Ducks would be in the standings.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks tie it up thanks to Ryan, who also draws the penalty that will have 1:47 left on it when we start the third.
19:46 - MIN Penalty - Greg Zanon, 2 min. hooking. Zanon spins Ryan around with the Ducks on the attack. That'll carry into the third.
19:30 - Ellis with a nice blocker save on a rocket by Zanon.
17:07 - Marchant on the doorstep yet again, but can't get it past Theodore.
15:19 - A little scuffle around the net after Theodore freezes the puck with Marchant batting away. Marchant has gotten into it a couple times tonight.
13:09 - MIN Penalty - Pierre-Marc Bouchard, 2 min. hooking. Bouchard gets called during a battle with Ruutu and the PP gets wiped out.
9:22 - ANAHEIM GOAL- BOBBY RYAN - Getzlaf passes up a shot to go behind the net and deliver a no-look backhand feed in front to Blake. His shot is initially stopped by Theodore, but Ryan is there to jam the rebound under him to get the Ducks on the board. It was so close between Blake and Ryan because their stick blades were actually hooked together on the shot, but replays show Blake's stick was behind Ryan's. It's the 29th of the year for Ryan and the 100th of his career. It's 1-1.
8:03 - Ellis has to do some poking of the puck at the other end to get the Ducks out of trouble.
7:22 - MIN Penalty - Brent Burns, 2 min. interference. Burns knocks down Ruutu in the corner as Ruutu was expecting a pass. During the delay, Sexton nearly one-times one home.
Ducks are in 12th as we speak. They go to seventh or even sixth with a win.
6:05 - Ryan tries a wraparound.
4:09 - Ruutu shot from the point hits Theodore awkardly and sends him tumbling backwards. Unfortunately, the puck stayed with him.
4:21 - Ortmeyer goes sliding into Ellis away from the play and there is a little jawing after the whistle involving Parros.
3:10 - Fowler with some deft stick-handling tries to make something happen with a pass in front.
2:30 - McMillan is all over Theodore and actually has a shot with the open net he created, but can't find the angle. He may have even kept a Selanne try from going in as it was slowly rolling toward the net.
1:40 - Marchant picks up a Ruutu pass on the rush and fires wide, looking for his first goal of the year.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Not a pretty one, as the Ducks go down 1-0 on Madden's goal. Ellis saves 11 of 12.
19:25 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. charging. Official determines Perry left his feet on a hit in the corner, wiping out the power play. Crowd not happy.
18:40 - MIN Penalty - Nick Schultz, 2 min. tripping. Schultz upends Ryan behind the Minny net.
16:21 - Remember, Ducks scored first in that 5-1 loss at Minnesota a week ago.
15:29 - MINNESOTA GOAL - JOHN MADDEN - Madden cruises down the left wing on the 2-on-1 with only Lydman back and he takes a shot from the top of the left wing circle that darts into the far top corner. Ellis had no chance at that one and it's 1-0 Minny.
15:10 - Perry loses his stick behind the net, keeps the puck alive with his foot to Getzlaf, then gets his stick back. Not bad.
14:20 - Sexton gets some space on the right wing on the rush, but fires of Theodore. Man, do I root for that kid.
During the timeout, it's Kiss Cam time, showing one couple in which the husband is reading a Ducks Digest. Atta boy. Near the end, it's an elderly couple in which the man shield the two of them with his hat to be discreet. Classy.
11:55 - Ducks get the kill.
9:55 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. hooking. Selanne gets the stick into Cullen's chest and he falls down. Only problem is that one didn't lead to the other.
9:30 - Blake in deep yet again, but it bounces off Theodore and goes wide. He's workin'.
8:04 - Ellis with a nice glove save on Madden on the run. Crowd appreciating his work so far.
6:54 - Blake gets in deep, but Theodore won't budge.
4:15 - Ellis takes a puck on his stick and sends it the length of the ice to Theodore. There's something we don't see every day.
4:00 - Perry gets the crowd riled up by twice taking the puck away deep in the Minnesota end on the PK.
3:20 - Ruutu nearly gets one shorthanded, firing on Theodore from the wing on the rush and just missing the rebound.
2:51 - ANA Penalty - Maxim Lapierre, 2 min. boarding. The Ducks took just one minor all last game against LA.
2:15 - First save as a Duck for Ellis, on a shot from the point by Nystrom.
1:30 - Theodore in net for the Wild, as Backstrom played last night. Theodore has a long history against Anaheim, having given up four goals to Joffrey Lupul in Game 3 of the second round in 2006 when he was with Colorado.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Nice work again on the anthem by the operatic Sarah Bennett, who also happens to be a Ducks intern. A team of Mites joins the Ducks starters during the anthem, and it was funny seeing on of them with Cam Fowler, who is probably only three or four years old then the kid.