ANAHEIM – The Anaheim Ducks have made Honda Center a fairly exhilerating place to be in the past few days.
Two nights after Bobby Ryan beat the Red Wings with a penalty shot in overtime, Lubomir Visnovsky scored his third goal of the game in the waning seconds of OT to finish off an incredible comeback over the Dallas Stars, 4-3.
Visnovsky polished off his second career hat trick (and the first for a defenseman in club history) with 3.8 remaining in the game to win it in dramatic fashion and ignite a raucous roar from the home crowd. Ryan Getzlaf started the play by winning the faceoff back to Visnovsky, who skated to his right before unleashing a rocket that beat a screened Kari Lehtonen. The Dallas goalie likely never saw the blur of the puck, as he was shielded by his own defenseman, Stephane Robidas.
"Wow, it’s awesome," said a bright-eyed Visnovsky. "It was a lucky night for me. I’m so happy to score three goals tonight."
The Ducks had a 4-on-3 that started with 24.6 seconds left in overtime after Stars center Tom Wandell pulled down Getzlaf in the Dallas end and was whistled for hooking. The Stars took a timeout to gather themselves, but Visnovsky cashed in the game-winner not long afterward.
Getting to overtime alone was enough of a feat for the Ducks, who trailed by two goals going into the final 15 minutes of regulation following a lackluster second period. But Visnovsky got them to within one with his second of the game at 5:24, rifling a one-timer over Lehtonen’s late glove off a Selanne feed.
Selanne himself tied the game with just 1:03 left in regulation and the Ducks skating with an extra attacker after sending goalie Dan Ellis to the bench. Bobby Ryan emerged from behind the net to get the puck to Visnovsky, who sent it across the ice to Getzlaf. He quickly touched it to Selanne, who scooped it in from between the circles to make it 3-3, as the home crowd went ballistic.
"You have to believe," Selanne said, "and get the feeling as a team that you’re going to come back. It doesn’t matter what the score is. That is what happened tonight."
Added Visnovsky, "We were down by two goals and the team showed character. The confidence is going up for everybody."
Visnovsky got his first goal of the game during a strong first period for Anaheim, which controlled the puck for much of the session and took a 1-0 lead. Visnovsky got them on the board with a wrist shot from the slot that sailed through a Dan Sexton screen with the two teams skating 4-on-4.
But Dallas completely turned the tables in the second, scoring three unanswered to take a 3-1 lead. Jamie Benn scored the Stars’ first goal by redirecting an Alex Goligoski pass, and Adam Burish tallied eight minutes later by beating Ellis stick side from the right wing circle.
Two straight Dallas power plays near the end of the period ended up biting the Ducks, as Getzlaf was called for a hold behind the net and Brandon McMillan was whistled for hooking just as that penalty was expiring. Dallas cashed in when Mike Ribeiro fired a shot from the point that Loui Eriksson tipped under Ellis from between the circles.
That was the last damage for Dallas, which lost for the first time in the last four games.
"I don’t know why, but the first two periods we were really flat emotionally," Selanne said. "I think everybody got really mad in the third and found a way to win the game. It was huge."
Said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, "There is a real hockey atmosphere being displayed out there and a lot of passion. It’s a very entertaining brand of hockey. It was good for our fans. They rallied behind our guys. Any time you pull your goalie and score late in the hockey game, you have to feel fortunate. Again lady luck was on our side, but we worked for it."
In overtime this season, the Ducks are 10-3-2.
The Ducks improved their record at HOME to 20-10-2 this season. They are also 11-4-1 over their last 16 contests at home. The club’s season-long seven-game homestand will conclude with contests vs. Vancouver (Mar. 9) and the NY Rangers (Mar. 9).
Tonight marked Lubomir Visnovsky’s second career hat trick (also Nov. 2, 2005 w/LA at DAL) and his four points tonight (3-1=4) are a career high. He becomes the first defenseman in club history to record a hat trick. Tonight also marked his third career OT goal and second this season (also Nov. 9 at SJ). Visnovsky’s 12-39=51 points rank third among all NHL defensemen and his 12 goals now rank fifth among league blueliners. He has 5-16=21 points in the last 22 games.
Tonight marked Teemu Selanne’s 400th career goal in a Ducks uniform. Only Calgary’s Jarome Iginla (469) has more goals with one team among active NHL players. Selanne has appeared in 757 career games with Anaheim, scoring 400-451=851 points with a +122 rating. With 1-1=2 points tonight, Selanne is on pace for a 78-point season, which would mark his highest point total since 2006-07 (94). Selanne has 6-9=15 points in the last 12 games, 7-12=19 in the last 15 and 11-21=32 in the last 29.
Over his last eight appearances (four with TB, three with ANA), Dan Ellis has stopped 198-of-214 shots for a .925 SV%, 1.95 GAA (16 GA/492 MIN) and 5-0-2 record. He has won three straight appearances with Anaheim and over his four games with the club, he has gone 3-0-1 with a .918 SV% (101-of-110) and 2.13 GAA (9 GA/253 MIN).
Tonight marked Ryan Getzlaf’s fourth 3-or-more assist game of the season (0-3=3). Since his return from injury on Feb. 9, Getzlaf has earned points in nine of 10 contests (3-12=15).
Bobby Ryan extended his point streak to five games (2-4=6). He also has points in eight of the last nine (5-6=11) and 9-8=17 over the last 15 games.
Tonight’s attendance was 12,883.
4:56 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - HAT TRICK TO WIN IT!!!! Getzlaf wins the draw back to Visnovsky, who skates to his right and absolutely rips a slap shot past Lehtonen, who couldn't see it through a screen by his own guy, Robidas. Ducks win it on Lubo's third of the game. Holy lord that was incredible.
4:52 - Getzlaf's shot is deflected into the netting.
4:35 - DAL Penalty - Tom Wandell, 2 min. hooking. Getzlaf picks off the puck at the blue line and as he's trying to get it to Perry, he's pulled won by Wandell. Big-time opportunity with 24.6 left.
3:54 - Getzlaf whips a shot from the slot, but Lehtonen is there.
3:35 - Stars get on a dangerous 2-on-1, but Ellis lays out to stop a Daley shot. Game-saver.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - We're going to OT, baby.
18:57 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - The Ducks move the puck beautifully on the 6-on-5, with Ryan giving it to Visnovsky at the top of the circle, and he feeds across the ice to Getzlaf. The captain touch-passes to Selanne, who scoops it in front the slot. Crowd goes bananas and we're tied. 400th as a Duck for 8.
18:40 - Ellis to the pine.
18:20 - Timeout Ducks, who have some work to do. Rocky music.
18:20 - Ellis holds a shot from Morrow with 1:40 left. He'll be heading to the bench soon for an extra attacker.
16:15 - Lydman takes a bad angle and Been gets on the partial breakaway, losing the puck off his blade as he goes slamming into Ellis and the net.
15:30 - Fowler breaks his stick in half, but without the stick he gives a hard hip check to Vincour.
14:25 - Timeout with 5:35 left. Here we go.
11:14 - ANA Penalty - Brad Winchester and DAL Penalty - Jamie Benn, 2 min. each cross checking. Some aggression in front of the Dallas bench, possibly stemming from Winchester's hit a little bit ago. Ducks already got a goal on the 4-on-4 tonight.
9:30 - Winchester flattens Langenbrunner at the blue line. Stars not happy about it.
7:52 - Great job by the PK unit to keep this a one-goal game.
5:52 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant, 2 min. hooking. Marchant takes down Vincour in front of the net.
5:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Selanne looks to the net from the high slot and doesn't see anything he likes, so he sends it to Visnovsky, who rifles a one-timer from the right wing into the top corner. Lehtonen got his glove up almost a full second too late trying to flag it. Ducks within one on Visnovsky's second of the game, 3-2.
4:28 - DAL Penalty - Stephane Robidas, 2 min. holding. Robidas gets whistled for a hold while fighting for the puck in the corner.
0:00 - Start of the third, and it's go time for the Ducks.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Bad, bad period for the Ducks sees the Stars score three unanswered and they lead it 3-1.
18:37 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - Back-to-back power plays end up killing the Ducks, as Robidas one-times a pass from Ribeiro and Eriksson just gets his stick on it in the slot to get it under Ellis. Ducks down 3-1.
16:56 - ANA Penalty - Brandon McMillan, 2 min. hooking. During some scariness in front of the net, McMillan gets tagged just as Getzlaf's penalty is ending.
14:57 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. holding. Getzlaf takes down Benn behind the Ducks net. Tough one.
14:50 - Good save Ellis on a slapper by Langenbrunner from the left wing circle.
10:35 - DALLAS GOAL - ADAM BURISH - Williams charges up the right wing and sends it ahead to Burish, who fires from the circle past Ellis stick side. Suddenly the Ducks, who looked so good in the first, trail 2-1.
7:30 - Sexton fires a shot on the run off Lehtonen and it nearly gets kicked in by a Dallas player before Robidas chips it away in the crease.
5:20 - Ryan goes sliding on his back and takes down the official in the corner. Ryan on his way to a 300 game.
2:23 - DALLAS GOAL - JAMIE BENN - Benn drops the puck to Goligoski, who sends a pass back into the low slot, where Benn tips it past Ellis to tie it 1-1.
0:42 - Daley gets off the first shot of the period, which Ellis gobbles.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - Strong to quite strong first period for the Ducks, who go up 1-0 and outshoot Dallas 12-6.
18:20 - Ryan gets the puck in front with his back to the net, spins around and throws it into Lehtonen.
15:10 - Visnovsky with a nice pass on the rush that goes under Perry's stick with an open half-net in front of him.
It's the choose the player's iPod promo during the timeout and it's between Bobby Ryan, Lubomir Visnovsky and Ryan Getzlaf. My musical tastes seem to be similar to Bob's, which isn't exactly something I'm always proud of.
9:22 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - On the 4-on-4, Ryan peels back along the left wing wall and feeds Visnovsky in the slot, and he gets off a shot that flies past a leaping Sexton screen and beats Lehtonen. It's 1-0 home team.
9:00 - ANA Penalty - Jarkko Ruutu and DAL Penalty - Jamie Langenbrunner, 2 min. each roughing. Burish waits to catch a flying puck and Beauchemin drives him into the Ducks bench. That sparks a little scuffle down at the end of the ice after a legit shove by Langenbrunner to Ruutu's chest.
8:00 - Ducks knockin' at the door. Early 5-1 shot advantage.
4:23 - DAL Penalty - Steve Ott, 2 min. hooking. Ott just does get the stick into Chipchura's jersey as he's heading up ice.
0:50 - Getzlaf weaves his way in deep, feeds Perry (I've heard that somewhere before), but his shot is stopped.
Ducks in their third jerseys.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Nice job again on the anthem by the alto Amanda Guerrero.
Saku Koivu is out again with a sore groin and Jason Blake is out with a right hand laceration. Starters in bold/italics.