ANAHEIM – As if they didn’t know it already, the Ducks have gotten a reminder of how tough the Pacific Division is going to be yet again.
Two nights after suffering a two-goal loss to the Dallas Stars, the Ducks dropped a second straight game at home to a division rival, 5-4 to the Phoenix Coyotes.
But unlike Friday night, Anaheim made it interesting late, getting a score from Ryan Getzlaf (his second of the night) to make it a one-goal contest with 1:08 left. With the Ducks net empty, Anaheim’s captain skated from just inside the blue line into a better angle before lasering a shot inside the left post.
But the Ducks’ efforts to get the tying goal, again with their own net empty, were denied by the Coyotes and goalie Mike Smith. The veteran Smith, in his first season with the Coyotes to band-aid the departure of Ilya Bryzgalov, had 29 saves on the night, including at least three where he robbed Ducks from point blank.
Anaheim starter Jonas Hiller didn’t fare as well, getting pulled after giving up his fifth goal. That came during a rough second period that saw the Coyotes score three unanswered before the Ducks tried to get back in the game on a Kurtis Foster goal.
"When you look back on it, the flurry of goals in the second period sunk our hockey club," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "I thought our team had its fair share of chances. We just didn’t execute to a level that was required and then we got frustrated."
Phoenix got its first two of the period within 1:40 of each other, starting with Boyd Gordon’s one-timer off a Taylor Pyatt feed at 4:47. Then at 6:27, a bad clear by the Ducks was punctuated by Teemu Selanne overrunning the puck, allowing Lauri Korpikoski to send it under Hiller.
Hiller was chased another minute and a half later, as another poor clear was followed by a Shane Doan shot getting blocked to Keith Yandle, who sent it netward to make the game 5-2. Hiller gave way to Dan Ellis, who didn’t allow a goal the rest of the game.
"It’s easy to sit and criticize the goalie because he is the last line of defense, but there were a lot of things happening in front of him," Carlyle said. "They were shooting the pucks from some areas where they should not have been unchecked. Jonas has been a stalwart for this hockey club and probably our MVP in a lot of games. It’s hard to point the finger, but I’m sure he’d like to have some of them back."
The Ducks were able to cut the lead to two goals with 6 1/2 minutes left in the second, right after a Martin Hanzal hooking penalty expired. The puck kicked out from in front of the net to an all-alone Foster, who whipped a shot over Smith’s glove.
"I thought Doan was going to go down, so I was ready to go around him," Foster said. "He didn’t really, so I just had to get it through. Cogs made a nice screen and it found its way through.
It was a nice welcome for Foster, playing his first regular season game as a Duck after having a wire removed from his thigh. "When they told me I was going to play, I was pretty excited," he said. "To be able to chip in with a goal is always a positive. It definitely felt good to get back in a game out there."
The Ducks and Coyotes came out of the opening stanza tied at two goals apiece, as two goals by Hanzal bookended scored by Getzlaf and Lubomir Visnovsky. Getzlaf’s goal with 5:58 in the period actually gave the Ducks the lead, as a Selanne shot first hit Bobby Ryan’s skate before Getzlaf tipped it with the stick blade.
Prior to that, Visnovsky had tied the game with a ripped one-timer that took flight off Pyatt’s skate and found the net for Visnovsky’s first of the year.
Anaheim dropped to 4-3-0 on the season going into a seven-game road trip, while Phoenix improved to 3-3-1.
"I wish we would have had a better game to send us off," Getzlaf said. "Maybe that is what we need is to get out on the road as a group, take advantage of this time together and work toward a bigger goal."
Note Maxime Macenauer, who took a puck to the forehead during the second period, received approximately 12 stitches and returned to the game.
20:00 - Ducks make it interesting late, but can't get the equalizer, 5-4.
19:00 - Ellis back in there, then out when the Ducks get it deep.
18:52 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - The Ducks dodge a couple bullets with their net empty, and then get the goal they were looking for. Getzlaf picks up the puck inside the blueline, skates to a better angle and then lasers a shot past Smith stickside. It's 5-4 with 1:08 left.
17:58 - Ducks take timeout with 2:07 left and 36 seconds of power play time remaining. Ellis stays on the bench when they come out, 6-on-4.
17:58 - Smith with another big stop, this time with the glove, on a Selanne tip from the slot. He's been huge for them tonight.
16:50 - Getzlaf's redirect is wide left, and Smith denies when Perry sends it back in front.
16:28 - PHX Penalty - Oliver Ekmund-Larsson, 2 min. delay of game. Ducks catch a break when the puck is flipped over the glass. Absolutely have to have one here.
14:45 - Gordon unleashes a shot that had Smith out, but it's just wide. Dying to get this kid his first as a Duck. Now would have been a good time for it.
14:01 - Ducks come out of the timeout with 5:59 left, down 2 and faceoff in the Phoenix end.
11:28 - Ellis with a big stop on Langkow right at the end of the power play. We go to the timeout with the Ducks down two and 8:32 left.
10:45 - McMillan steals the puck and heads the other way, spinning for a feed to Smith-Pelly, who comes up empty on the one-timer.
10:11 - Ellis slides over to deny Doan's one-timer.
9:27 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. holding. Selanne rides Boedker to the ice with the left arm. Easy one to call.
9:10 - Ryan picks up a bouncing puck in front of the net and flips a backhand that Smith robs with a diving effort. That's about three goals he's thwarted with incredible saves tonight.
4:10 - Selanne just misses from point blank.
3:58 - Selanne feeds Perry down low, and he turns to the forehand and fires it wide.
3:00 - Ducks get a break when a turnover is followed by a 2-on-1 in which Hanzal's attempt is just tipped away.
1:57 - PHX Penalty - Andy Miele, 2 min. hooking. Miele, playing his first game tonight, gets the blade into Brookbank before it's cleared down the ice. Ducks with a shot coming up soon.
1:30 - McMillan blocks a shot with the shin guard and appears okay.
0:15 - ANA Penalty - Maxime Macenauer, 2 min. cross checking. Macenauer makes his presence felt immediately, knocking Doan to the ice near the wall.
0:10 - Macenauer back on the ice.
0:00 - Puck drops for the third, the Ducks with some work to do.
20:00 - Ducks give up three unanswered in a rough second period, but get one back from Foster to make it 5-3 with 20 minutes left.
16:30 - Yandle tries to flip the puck into the zone and the puck catches Macenauer in the face. He heads off.
15:05 - Smith absolutely robs Selanne blind near the right post, diving across the crease to glove away a one-timer off a nice Koivu feed. That one hurt.
13:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KURTIS FOSTER - Just as Hanzal springs from the box, the puck squirts out to Foster straightaway, and with calls of "SHOOT IT!!" raining down from the stands, he whips a wrister over Smith's glove. First as a Duck for Foster in his first game of the season, and it's a big one. Ducks pull within 2.
13:15 - Another Fowler shot is stopped by Smith and appears to be covered in the crease by Klesla during a mad scramble. Getzlaf looking for a call on that, but doesn't get it.
12:30 - Fowler with a couple of shots tipped by Ducks just wide.
11:27 - PHX Penalty - Martin Hanzal, 2 min. hooking. Hanzal AGAIN??? Ducks desperately need a goal on this PP.
11:30 - Beleskey with the Finns on the second line.
9:55 - Sbisa tries to get something going and drops the gloves with Torres right off the draw, landing a couple of rights to the head, then taking a couple before slamming the redhead to the ice. We'll see what kind of effect that has on the Ducks.
7:56 - PHOENIX GOAL - KEITH YANDLE - Another bad clear for the Ducks leads to another Coyotes goal, as Doan's shot from the low slot is blocked by Beauchemin, and it kicks to Yandle, who sends it past a caught-out-of-position Hiller. Unbelievably, it's 5-2 Phoenix.
7:15 - Fourth line of McMillan (temporarily), Smith-Pelly and Macenauer working hard.
6:27 - PHOENIX GOAL - LAURI KORPIKOSKI - Ducks have a bad clear as Selanne overruns the puck trying to go up ice with it. Korpiskoski picks up the loose change and sends a shot from the right wing under a late-reacting Hiller. Things are not going well in the second for Anaheim and it's 4-2.
4:47 - PHOENIX GOAL - BOYD GORDON - Off a Hiller save, Pyatt picks up the puck behind the Anaheim net and feeds an unchecked Gordon in front for the tap-in goal. It's 3-2 Phoenix.
4:30 - McMillan makes a phenomenal last-second backhand feed to a charging Macenauer, and he's absolutely robbed on the doorstep by Smith.
4:09 - Hiller gloves a Torres sling from the wing.
2:50 - Koivu takes the puck away, then threads the needle on a rush pass to Selanne, who is denied by Smith.
0:45 - Not anymore.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Ducks with some power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Topsy turvy period ends 2-2, as Hanzal strikes twice for Phoenix and Visnovsky and Getzlaf score for the Ducks.
19:40 - Fowler one-timer on the PP hits Korpikoski hard, and he goes off in some pain.
18:45 - PHX Penalty - Martin Hanzal, 2 min. delay of game. Hanzal flips it over the glass, but he apparently doesn't think so. We've called his name a bit tonight.
17:35 - Ryan whips a shot from the left wing that gets a tip and loudly clangs off the far post.
Described the last Ducks goal wrong. It was credited to Getzlaf, who got the tip in front after it hit Ryan's skate.
16:51 - Beleskey with a lefty one-timer that Smith gloves over his head.
14:44 - PHOENIX GOAL - MARTIN HANZAL - Beauchemin loses track of Hanzal on the left wing, giving him enough room to launch a slap shot that hits the underside of Hiller's blocker and skitters behind him. It's 2-2 on Hanzal's second of the game.
14:02 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Selanne gets denied by Smith in deep, but makes up for it seconds later, shooting the puck from above the right wing circle and getting a tip from Getzlaf that sends it under Smith for the goal and a loud "YEAH!!!" from the crowd. It's 2-1 Ducks.
13:01 - Ducks kill with the help of Brookbank, playing D on the PK.
11:01 - ANA Penalty - Maxime Macenauer, 2 min. holding. First PP for either side.
8:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY - Perry emerges from behind the net and finds Lubo for the rocketed one-timer that takes flight off the leg of Pyatt and rings the inside of the post before touching nylon. It's the first of the season for Visnovsky and it's 1-1.
7:55 - McMillan is just barely denied from deep on the right wing. Close.
During the timeout, the Ocean View (Huntington Beach) team that won the Little League World Series is shown on the Honda Vision. They're in a suite all sporting Ducks hats and foam fingers Life is good for those kiddos.
5:05 - Ducks almost get the equalizer on a nice feed by Macenauer in front to Smith-Pelly, but Smith robs him with the glove. That was close to being DSP's first goal.
4:41 - PHOENIX GOAL - MARTIN HANZAL - Boedker picks up the puck near the right wing wall and gets little pressure from McMillan before sending it to Hanzal for the one-timer from in deep. Fowler tried to tip away the pass attempt but couldn't do it. It's 1-0 early.
2:10 - Visnovsky puts a quick shot on net looking for a Koivu tip that he doesn't get. Save Smith.
0:50 - Selanne makes room for himself in the circle, but it's deflected off the wall.
First time the Ducks have faced a Bryz-less Coyotes team since '07.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center. Pregame
Parros scratched and Ducks have seven Ds (including Foster making his Ducks debut), meaning Brookbank is likely playing forward again. Beleskey starts on the third line with Gordon and Cogliano in place of Smith-Pelly. We'll see how long that lasts.
One referee tonight, as it was just announced that scheduled referee Steve Kozari is ill. Starters in bold/italics.