By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – His first goal in the last seven games couldn’t have come at a better, or more dramatic, time for Corey Perry.
The reigning league MVP scored 2:14 into overtime to help the Ducks down the visiting Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 at Honda Center.
Perry appeared to get his stick in the skates of Hurricanes winger Jussi Jokinen behind the Carolina net, as Jokinen went down in a heap and surrendered the puck. Perry picked it up and sent it across to Sheldon Brookbank, who gave it back for a Perry one-timer that dented the twine.
"They didn’t blow the whistle, so you keep playing," Perry said. "I found (Brookbank) coming late. He made a great play back to me. We’ve had calls against us all year. Maybe that is a turning point for us."
Perry's third career OT winner provided another much-needed two points for the Ducks, who won for the first time in overtime this season (1-4). After trailing the eighth spot in the Western Conference by 20 points on January 1, the Ducks have since gone 11-3-2 (third-best in the NHL) to pull within eight.
"It was huge," Perry said. "You look where we are in the standings, every point counts for us. It doesn’t matter who it is against."
Carolina took a one-goal lead early in the third when Eric Staal stole the puck and tried to send it in front from behind the net. It deflected back toward him off Rod Pelley’s skate, and both Pelley and Staal appeared to tip the puck with their sticks, as it went in the net off the back of Hiller’s catching glove.
But Anaheim got one right back when a Luca Sbisa point shot was tipped by Matt Beleskey and caromed hard off a drawn out Cam Ward, who was well outside the crease when Saku Koivu slid in the rebound. It was the first goal for Koivu in 11 games, since a hat trick January 10 vs. Dallas at Honda Center.
"Getting the tying goal right after theirs was a big one for us," Koivu said. "We’ve done a fairly good job in the last month, five weeks. We really have a tremendous opportunity to make something big happen."
Ward was one of the hotter goalies coming into the game, with a 6-3-2 record and a 1.45 goals-against average in his last 11 starts. He also owned a 2-0-0 record, a 2.14 goals-against average and .941 save percentage lifetime vs. Anaheim, though the Hurricanes hadn’t played at Honda Center since November of 2009.
"The way Cam Ward can play, I was a little worried," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "We really attacked the net in the next shift. I was glad for Saku because he hadn’t got one in quite awhile, so maybe it jumpstarts him."
Carolina went in front late in the first period, when a Tuomo Ruutu shot rebound try hit off Hiller (31 saves) and into the air, where Ruutu batted it through at about waist-high.
The Ducks tied it near the midway point of the second period when Lubomir Visnovsky’s slap shot from the high right wing was redirected by a Nick Bonino tip with his back to the net.
The victory came at the end of a homestand for the Ducks that will give way to an eight-game, 16-day road trip that unfurls Friday in Detroit (where the Red Wings have won 18 straight).
"We didn’t want to go into the road trip on a losing note," Perry said. "Eight games is a long way. It can make or break our season here."
Anaheim has scored 50 goals in 16 games since Jan. 1 (3.13 per game), tied for the third-highest (also Toronto) in the NHL behind only Nashville (3.25) and Boston (3.24).
The Ducks are 11-2-2 over the last 15 games since Jan. 6. The Ducks were 20 points behind eighth-place Nashville at that time. The Ducks (50 points) are now eight points behind eighth-place Minnesota (58 points – ninth place Phoenix also has 58).
The Ducks are now 14-11-4 under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Since his NHL debut as a head coach on Nov. 23, 2007, Boudreau has the second-best win percentage in the NHL. He is now 215-99-44 with both Washington and Anaheim (.662), second to only Todd McLellan of San Jose (181-79-37, 672).
Corey Perry scored his third career OT goal this evening (last: Mar. 20, 2011 vs. Calgary, 5-4). Perry has earned 9-3=12 points over the last 16 games.
Jonas Hiller won his second straight game, stopping 31-of-33 shots tonight. He has allowed two-or-fewer goals in 11 of his last 13 decisions. In that time, Hiller has gone 9-2-2 (one ND) with a 1.93 GAA (26 GA/810 MIN) and a .927 SV% (330-of-356).
Luca Sbisa has picked up points in four of the last five games (1-3=4), including an assist tonight. Sbisa is on pace for a career-high 28-point season.
Collecting an assist this evening, Matt Beleskey has now scored points in four of the last five games (2-2=4).
Lubomir Visnovsky has a three-game assist streak (0-3=3) and has earned 1-7=8 points in the last nine games.
Scoring his fourth goal of the season tonight, Nick Bonino has notched 2-4=6 points in the last 10 games.
With an assist on Perry’s OT goal, Sheldon Brookbank has now earned 0-3=3 points in the last four contests.
Tonight’s attendance was 12,675.
2:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Perry appears to trip Jokinen behid the net as he goes down in a heap and loses the puck. Perry picks up the loose change, feeds across to Brookbank and gets it back for the one-timer that tickles the twine. It's a 3-2 win in overtime for the Ducks.
1:05 - Visnovsky's shot is just barely missed by Koivu, trying to tip it.
0:54 - Selanne's shot from the wing hits the outside of the post, but he recovers and puts it back into the crease, where it almost slips through before Ward falls on it.
0:00 - Heart attack time again.
20:00 - END OF REGULATION - We go to OT for the third straight game.
17:05 - Ducks escape from a turnover and a Carolina 2-on-1 when Sutter's backhand misses everything.
16:00 - Hiller gets away with letting out a fat rebound, as Ruutu shoots it right back into his leg pad.
11:50 - Getzlaf surprises everybody by slinging a wrister from the slot on the rush, but it's wide left.
Always a nice moment when they honor a member of the military and the crowd stands and applauds. Today it's Lance Corporal William Dwyer.
9:31 - Nothing doing on that PP.
8:16 - Getzlaf out of the bin and the Ducks on the power play.
7:31 - CAR Penalty - Chad LaRose, 2 min. tripping. LaRose LaTrips Hagman in the corner of the Anaheim end.
7:10 - Scariness in front of the Ducks net, but they escape.
6:16 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. hooking. Getzlaf loses his stick hooking Skinner way deep in the Carolina end.
5:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAKU KOIVU - Ducks get one right back when a Luca Sbisa point shot is tipped by Beleskey and bounds hard off a drawn out Ward, who is well above the crease when Koivu slides in the rebound. We're tied 2-2.
3:47 - CAROLINA GOAL - ERIC STAAL - Staal picks off a pass behind the net and tries to send it in front, where it goes off Pelley's skate, then gets knocked off the back of Hiller's glove by both Pelley and Staal and into the net. Fluky goal and it's 2-1 Canes.
3:30 - Brookbank's shot trickles in front of Ward, and Koivu can't bury the diving rebound try.
2:30 - Man, Ward is tough. Hard to believe Carolina struggles so much when they have him.
1:35 - Spacek hits Hiller in the chest with a point shot and Hiller covers.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
20:00 - Ducks get one back on a Bonino tip and it's 1-1. Why do I feel like the next goal wins this thing?
19:27 - Blake gets in front of Harrison on the rush, but Ward denies again.
18:29 - Hagman is on a 2 on 1 with Pelley, drags the puck away from a diving Allen and fires off the crossbar. Painfully close.
17:20 - Getzlaf powers his way to the net and is denied by Ward.
13:05 - Ryan almost stick-handles his way through three Canes, but Stewart takes away the puck from behind.
12:48 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NICK BONINO - Ducks finally find a way to get one past Ward -- with a tip. Visnovsky fires on net from the high right wing, where Bonino redirects it with his back to the net and immediately throws his fists into the air. We're tied 1-1.
11:45 - Hiller gets stuck playing the puck behind the net and almost gets caught not getting back in time. We're good though.
8:40 - Beauchemin with a bad cross-ice pass that Nodl picks off, but Fowler hustles back to thwart any hopes of a breakaway.
4:30 - A lot going on behind the net for the Ducks, but nothing in front.
2:45 - Beauchemin shoves down LaRose. Crowd likes it.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ruutu's late one gives the Canes the 1-0 lead through 1.
17:57 - CAROLINA GOAL - TUOMO RUUTU - Ruutu tries to punch in a rebound and it bounces off Hiller into the air, where Ruutu bats it past him from just outside the crease. It's 1-0 Carolina.
17:15 - Parros with a one-timer as he's falling, off the side of the net.
14:30 - Beauchemin pinches in and one-times a Perry feed off Ward.
13:50 - Getzlaf to Ryan on the rush, turned away by Ward. He's going to be tough tonight.
Relatively tame Kiss Cam until they show two people who aren't together. The dude is texting and not even looking up, and the girl is feverishly shaking her head.
11:52 - Skinner tries to hack away at the puck in the crease, but Hiller holds on.
11:10 - Getzlaf shows off his shot that reached 102 mph during the skills competition at First Flight. This one is kicked away.
8:30 - Perry jumps on a rolling puck and unleashes a shot that's kicked away.
7:10 - Two Hurricanes collide, losing the puck to Beleskey, whose feed to Koivu is knocked away, and Selanne just misses chipping it in.
6:30 - Hiller kicks away a Harrison missile.
5:00 - Perry charges down for a backhand shorthanded, but Ward saves.
4:30 - ANA Penalty - Luca Sbisa, 2 min. hooking. Sbisa tries to get to McBain from behind after he turned it over and commits the hook just as Hiller makes a nice stop.
2:40 - Hagman has a shot deflect off his leg and he's a little gimpy.
2:20 - Pelley with Anaheim's first shot of the game from the slot, kicked away by Ward.
0:10 - Ducks appear to get an early opportunity on a rush, but Selanne is a step or two offside. Crowd with a collective "Ugh."
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Dawn Wright belts out another anthem while the Ducks are joined by youth hockey players from San Diego. "It's a fact: It's the greatest city in the world..." Scout sitting a row in front of me has his cell ring in the middle of the song, battles with himself on whether to take it or not and ... decides to take it and hold a conversation. Starters in bold/italics.