ANAHEIM – Chants of “MVP! MVP!” rolled through Honda Center on a number of occasions tonight, notably after each of the three goals by the guy who made a great case for it.
Hart Trophy candidate Corey Perry had his third hat trick of the year (giving him a league-leading 50 goals on the season) to lead Anaheim to a colossal 6-2 rout of the rival Sharks in front of a delirious crowd of close to 16,000 at Honda Center.
The victory pulled the Ducks back into seventh place in the Western Conference, a position they relinquished briefly when Chicago beat St. Louis in overtime earlier in the night. With two games left in the regular season, Anaheim moved into a tie with the Blackhawks at 95 points, but own the tiebreaker by virtue of having more non-shootout victories.
Those chants rose up one last time as Perry was drowned out during a TV interview that was simulcast through Honda Center after being named the game’s No. 1 star. "It’s pretty exciting," he said in a quieter locker room. "To do it front of your own fans and I had family in town for the game, it’s nice to get that done."
NOTES ON COREY PERRY’S 50 GOALS AND HAT TRICK:
Perry became the third player in franchise history to reach the 50-goal mark (Paul Kariya had 50 goals in 1995-96 & Teemu Selanne had 51 goals in 1996-97, and 52 in 1997-98). It also marks the most goals scored by a Duck since Selanne had 52 in 1997-98.
The last time a player in the Western Conference scored 50-or-more goals was Calgary’s Jarome Iginla in 2007-08 (50 goals).
Perry’s 50-47=97 points are the most by a Duck since 1997-98 when Teemu Selanne scored 47-60=107 and Paul Kariya collected 39-62=101.
Perry’s hat trick tonight was the third of his career (all in 2010-11). It marks just the second time in club history that a player had three hat tricks in one season (Teemu Selanne, 1997-98).
Perry’s 10-game point streak (14-8=22, +11) is tied for the longest current streak in the league (NSH’s Kostitsyn also currently has 10).
Perry’s four points (3-1=4) in tonight’s contest marks his third 4+ point game of the season and fourth of his career. He also recorded his 200th NHL assist tonight. His 50 goals continue to lead the NHL and his 97 points rank second (D. Sedin, 100).
The Sharks had won 26 of their last 34 games on the way to clinching the Pacific Division title with a 6-1 hammering of the Kings two nights ago in San Jose.
But Perry, who registered no shots on goal in a 4-2 loss in San Jose last Saturday night, was too much for the Sharks tonight. He scored two of his three goals in a four-goal Ducks explosion in the second period that saw them roll to a 6-1 lead by the time the horn mercifully sounded for San Jose.
Perry made it 3-0 Ducks 6:46 into the period during a delayed whistle on what would have been a Dan Boyle holding call. After Bobby Ryan fired wide, Perry picked up the puck beneath the extended goal line, fought his way in front and guided it past a diving Antero Niittymaki.
"He is one of those guys who rises to the occasion," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said of linemate Perry. "He plays playoff hockey any time you need him. He has proven time and time again, he can play in those big games and have results."
Boyle dug into the 3-0 Ducks lead two minutes later on a goal that deflected off Francois Beauchemin’s stick, but that opened the gate for three unanswered for Anaheim.
The first was set up when Dany Heatley got four minutes for roughing after cross checking Perry in the face following a near-goal for the Ducks winger. Perry responded on the ensuing power play with his third of the game when Teemu Selanne held the puck near the left post and laid it in front for Perry to tap it under Niittymaki. That set off a thunderous roar from the crowd as Perry and Selanne embraced, and those “MVP!” chants started up again as ballcaps came raining down from the stands.
"I thought 40 might be a stretch and then all the sudden they kept coming," said Perry in a rare moment of focusing on his own feats. "Fifty is a huge number. Everybody talks about it. Not a whole lot of people get to do that and be in that category. It hasn’t really sunk in. I don’t think it will until it’s all said and done when the summertime comes. It’s an exciting number and hopefully there is more to come. "
A couple minutes after Perry's 50th, with the Ducks again on the power play following a Torrey Mitchell hooking call, Selanne added some insurance himself as a Cam Fowler pass from the right circle kicked off Selanne’s skate and slipped under Niittymaki.
San Jose’s fifth penalty of the period (a Marc-Edouard Vlasic roughing minor) led to a Jason Blake goal off a Saku Koivu feed on the rush that put the Ducks comfortably in front 6-1. All that was left was a meaningless Sharks goal from Ben Eager 5:29 into the third.
Perry got his first of the game 12:58 into the first, when he artfully dragged the puck to his backhand to elude Vlasic and lifted it under the crossbar.
Fowler made it 2-0 Ducks with 1:46 left in the opener when he rocketed a shot from the left point over Niittymaki’s left shoulder.
Ray Emery, who had 22 saves on the night, left the game in the middle of the second with an undisclosed minor injury and didn’t return. Dan Ellis went the rest of the way for Anaheim, stopping 14 of 15 shots.
The Ducks’ final two games come Friday at home and Saturday in LA against the rival Kings, with the Ducks possibly needing two points in those contests to punch their playoff ticket.
"We were able to play with one of the best teams in the league and that is great," Getzlaf said. "We have a big two games here to win and make sure we’re in the playoffs."
GAME NOTES The Ducks have won eight of their last 11 games (8-3-0) and 12 of their last 17 (12-5-0). The club is also 27-13-1 over the last 41 contests. Anaheim is currently in seventh place in the Western Conference with a 45-29-5 record and 95 points. The Ducks have also reached the 95+ point plateau for the fourth time in six seasons (also 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08).
At Honda Center, Anaheim has gone 4-1-0 in its last five games and 8-3-0 in its last 11.
Corey Perry’s hat trick was the seventh hat trick scored by a Duck this season (also Ryan (2), Visnovsky (1) and Selanne (1)), marking the most scored in one season in franchise history.
With an assist tonight, Lubomir Visnovsky matched his career high in points (18-49=67, also 67 points in 2005-06 with Los Angeles). He continues to lead all NHL defensemen in scoring and points-per-game (.85). He also leads all league defensemen in HOME scoring with 12-29=41. Visnovsky has points five straight games (3-3=6), in eight of the last nine games (4-6=10) and 12 of 14 (6-10=16).
With a power play goal tonight (1-1=2), Teemu Selanne matched Mario Lemieux for sixth in all-time power play goals (236). In addition, Selanne matched Denis Savard and Dave Andreychuk for 27th in all-time points (635-703=1,338). He also now ranks tied for 48th in all-time points with Jeremy Roenick. Selanne’s 78 points on the season rank ninth in the NHL and his 16 PPG rank third behind Daniel Sedin (18) and Steven Stamkos (17).
Bobby Ryan collected his 200th NHL point as part of a three-assist game (0-3=3, first assist). Ryan has points in four straight (2-4=6) and 2-9=11 points over his last eight games.
Ryan Getzlaf collected four assists tonight (0-4=4), bringing his season total to 56 (19-56=75), which ranks tied for third in the NHL (with Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg). He has points in eight of the last nine games (2-16=18) and his 1.15 points-per-game rank tied for fifth in the NHL (with Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin).
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks polish off a huge 6-2 victory over the Sharks, move back in seventh.
18:03 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank, 2 min. hooking. Brookbank wraps the stick around a charging Heatley.
During the timeout, video board replays Perry's third goal, with him going absolutely bonkers after it, then show him life on the bench. Small smile and save as the crowd chants "MVP!" one more time. I have a feeling it's coming out during the Three Stars too.
Good lord, I thought Niemi was in there. I'm losing it.
10:25 - Perry with a slap shot deflected over the net by Niemi, followed by Selanne with a shot that Sharks goalie just stops.
9:07 - SJS Penalty - Dan Boyle, 2 min. holding. Boyle foils a possible Blake breakaway. Seventh minor on the Sharks.
My fault, folks. Ellis still in there.
5:29 - SAN JOSE GOAL - BEN EAGER - A pass from Desjardins out of the corner deflects back off a skate into the slot and Eager charges the loose puck before one-timing it past Ellis. It's 6-2 Ducks.
3:02 - Parros and Mashinter decide to get something going and drop 'em, with Mashinter landing a couple of shots on Parros, who won't go down. He bounces back enough to get some nice left jabs in and take the kid down. Mashinter is treated for a cut to the head after hitting the ice and heads to the room.
1:50 - Winchester just misses getting goal 7.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Decent period for the Ducks, who get four goals, including two from Perry, to go ahead 6-1.
Emery suffered a "minor injury" and has been cleared to return.
17:10 - Blake almost gets another, one-timing off the far post.
15:16 - SJS Penalty - Joe Pavelski, 2 min. hooking. Yet another power play for the Ducks.
15:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JASON BLAKE - Ryan pushes the puck ahead to Koivu, who speeds down right wing and feeds across to Blake, who dumps it into the open left half. It's 6-1 Ducks and we've got 4:44 left in the second.
Some legit making out between a few couples on Kiss Cam. Everyone's happy so far tonight.
14:28 - Emery sitting on the Ducks bench. Not sure what the issue is.
14:28 - SJS Penalty - Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 2 min. roughing. Vlasic gets into it with Winchester after the puck is frozen by Sharks goalie.
12:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - With the Ducks still on the power play, Fowler holds the puck near the right wing circle and feeds a charging Selanne. It hits off his skate and gets under Sharks goalie. They immediately review it to see if he kicked it in and they rule that he did not. Goal stands and it's 5-1 Ducks. WE'RE GOIN' TO HOOTERS!!
10:57 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - COREY PERRY - HAT TRICK!!!!!!! Selanne picks up the puck off the back wall near the left post, hesitates and lays it in front, where Perry taps it under Niittymaki. It's the third of the game and 50th of the year for Perry, as the hats come raining down from the stands. Crowd goes crazy, chanting "MVP! MVP!" yet again. Seriously, if he's not the Hart winner right now, no one is. No one has come up bigger when his team needs it.
10:39 - During the timeout, Emery comes off and Ellis goes in. Not sure why.
10:39 - SJS Penalty - Torrey Mitchell, 2 min. hooking. Mitchell gets the stick blade into Selanne as he weaves his way toward the net. It's 1:16 of 5-on-3 time for the Ducks, who take timeout.
9:54 - ANA Penalty - Bobby Ryan, 2 min. roughing and SJS Penalty - Dany Heatley, 4 min. roughing. Perry nearly gets his third on a wraparound try and after putting it into Sharks goalie twice, Heatley gives him a cross check to the face that sparks a rumble. Ryan gets two less than Heatley and the crowd loves it.
8:45 - SAN JOSE GOAL - DAN BOYLE - Boyle jumps on a rolling puck and fires a one-timer from the right point that deflects off the shaft of Beauchemin's stick and dives into the top corner of the net. No chance for Emery on that one and it's now 3-1 Ducks. Get Perry back out there.
6:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - During the delayed whistle following what looked like a hold on Boyle on Ryan, Perry gets the puck behind the net, fights his way in front and guides the puck past a diving Niittymaki as he's falling to one knee. Lydman was screening in front and could have been whistled for goalie interference. It's Perry's 49th of the year (most by a Duck since 1997-98 when Selanne had 52) and it's 3-0 Ducks. Crowd is loving it. More "MVP" chants.
4:20 - Visnovsky one-times a Perry feed that Sharks goalie just barely kicks away. It's not unreasonable to think Perry will make something happen every time he touches it.
2:10 - Big kill for the Ducks, as Emery makes about a half dozen saves.
1:00 - Emery with a couple of big stops early in it.
0:10 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. interference. Ducks now defending a 5-on-3.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Ducks on the PK.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks get out to 2-0 lead on goals by Perry and Fowler. Sharks with 1:25 of PP time when we come back.
19:55 - Perry with a feathery pass to McMillan on the shorthanded rush, but just out of his reach. Place would have exploded if that one went down.
19:24 - ANA Penalty - Todd Marchant, 2 min. hooking. Marchant gets the stick into the hands of Pavelski near the red line. Tough one.
Hawks win it in OT.
St. Louis ties it to send it to overtime in Chicago, but Hawks get a point.
18:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - CAM FOWLER - C4 Kid Dynamite gets the puck at the left point from Visnovsky and rockets a lefthanded shot that flies over Niittymaki's left shoulder. It's 2-0 Ducks.
18:05 - SJS Penalty - Devin Setoguchi, 2 min. roughing. Setoguchi with a shot to Getzlaf's face in the corner of the San Jose zone. After the whistle, bit of scrapping behind the net as Getzlaf gives Seto a shove.
17:20 - Perry almost gets another one, creeping out from behind the net and firing a forehand that hit something in front before trickling in front of Sharks goalie. He's ticked he didn't get that one.
Just realized I've spelled Niittymaki wrong three different times -- and in a couple of different ways.
During the timeout, woman shown in the crowd wearing a Sharks sweater. Booed heavily.
13:50 - Chants of "MVP! MVP!" fill Honda Center.
12:58 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Ryan drops the puck to Perry on the rush, and Perry drags to the backhand against Vlasic. He gets between the circles before he lifts a backhand past Niittymaki stick side. Crowd goes bonkers. Perry didn't have a shot last Saturday night in San Jose, but pots this one for his league-leading 48th of the year. It's 1-0 Ducks.
12:12 - Away from the play, Winchester takes on Murray, the guy all the Ducks fans in the arena want taken down. Unfortunately, Winchester slips at the beginning and goes down to the ice, with Murray delivering a shot to the back of Winchester's head while he's on his knees.
I refuse to type Niittymaki all night. Anyone got any alternatives?
11:51 - Selanne jumps on a rebound off Niittymaki with him down, but his backhand try is saved by the goalie's outstretched stick. Pretty nice save.
Guess That Theme Song is obviously the one from Beverly Hills 90210, and the girl contestant gets it from the choices of that, LA Law and Saved by the Bell. Would have been even easier if we could have seen Brandon doing that fist-pump at the beginning.
11:15 - Scary moment as Emery can't grab a loose puck in front, but the net it knocked off before anyone can knock it in.
9:47 - Big kill.
8:20 - Ducks just do tip the puck away from Thornton trying to punch in a rebound. He's one point away from 1,000, by the way. Here's hoping he celebrates is somewhere else.
7:47 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank, 2 min. hooking. Brookbank pulls down Pavelski chasing a puck in front of the Anaheim net.
4:05 - Beauchemin puts a shoulder into Mashinter, knocking his helmet off. Crowd likes that.
1:56 - Emery kicks away a White point shot high into the netting.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center. Oh my, is this a big one.
7:07 - Another team of kiddos joins the Ducks for the anthem, with the team's goalie chatting it up with Ray Emery before the song. Then when Emery does his customary mad dash into the net during "land of the freeeee..." the kid kind of looks to his left like, Where'd he go? Starters in bold/italics.