By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Coming off a decidedly successful marathon road trip, the Ducks kept their playoff push going back in the friendly confines of Honda Center.
In front of a record regular season crowd of 17,601 (including standing room only), the Ducks got a goal and an assist from Teemu Selanne in a convincing 3-1 victory over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim, which went 5-1-2 on an eight-game, 15-day road trip that ended Thursday, won for the sixth time in the last eight games.
"We all knew how important this game was going to be," Selanne said. "Fifteen days on the road, it’s never easy to come back. The tank was pretty empty. We had one day off and one practice. I was very happy how we played, especially the last two periods, we were really solid. That is a good feeling. We’ll just keep battling."
Selanne got the helper on the go-ahead goal and added insurance on the power play in the third period to pass Luc Robitaille and land in 20th place on the NHL all-time scoring list.
On the heels of an overtime win by the Dallas over Vancouver earlier in the night, the Ducks needed a victory to remain six points behind the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"We take every win we can get right now," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Nobody seems to want to lose that is going for the playoffs in the West. We are going to have to try to do it ourselves."
Anaheim dominated play for most of the night, outshooting the Blackhawks 38-19 and handing them their third straight loss (including a 4-0 defeat last night in LA).
Chicago got its only goal a little more than halfway through the opening period, when Patrick Kane slung a shot from the high right wing that whistled through a crowd and beat Hiller on the glove side. It was the first power play goal for Chicago in the last 40 opportunities, a drought that spanned 13 games.
Anaheim evened things up on an Andrew Cogliano goal that required a lengthy replay review to determine. Nick Bonino’s shot rebounded off goalie Ray Emery and Cogliano kicked the puck between Emery’s pads before swinging at it with his stick and slipping it behind the Chicago netminder. The goal was waved off on the ice, but after a six-minute review, officials ruled that Cogliano did get his stick on it.
The Ducks took their first lead with 7:29 left in the middle session, as a Selanne pass from behind the net got under the stick of Bobby Ryan and squirted out to Sheldon Brookbank. He immediately fired on net, getting the puck to deflect off defenseman Duncan Keith and sneak under Emery. After going 167 games without a goal, that one was Brookbank’s second in the last five.
"It’s nice to help the team out any way you can," Brookbank said. "It always feels good when you get the win and you are a part of it. I could tell you a lot of stories of goals called back. Maybe I have more confidence now. I’m feeling a little more comfortable getting in the offensive spots. Whatever it is, it’s working and I’ll take it."
Anaheim made it a two-goal cushion less than five minutes into the third period when two straight Chicago hooking penalties gave the Ducks a two-man advantage. They quickly took advantage as Ryan Getzlaf sent the puck to Selanne, who one-timed it home from the bottom of the left wing circle.
The Ducks didn’t look back from there, getting a key home win before hitting the road tonight for a game in Colorado tomorrow.
"When you go through some tough times, like we did in the first half, you couldn’t believe what was happening here," Selanne said. "When we turned this around, it has been unbelievably fun. That is why we all play hockey. We’ll try to keep pushing and enjoy this all the way. There are a lot of good things going right now."
Anaheim improved its record in 2012 (since Jan. 1) to a league-best 17-4-4 (38 points). Detroit (17-6-2) and St. Louis (17-5-2) rank second in points earned since Jan. 1 with 36 each. In addition, the club’s goal differential of +23 since Jan. 1 leads the NHL (also St. Louis).
At HOME, Anaheim is 9-1-1 in its last 11 contests, dating back to Jan. 6 vs. the New York Islanders (4-2 win). In that time, Anaheim has outscored its opponents 40-27.
Overall, the Ducks are 8-1-3 in their last 12 games and 17-3-4 in their last 24.
Bruce Boudreau has compiled a 20-12-6 record as Anaheim’s head coach. Since his debut as a head coach on Nov. 23, 2007, Boudreau has the best win percentage in the league. He is 221-100-46 in 367 career games with both Anaheim and Washington for a .665 win percentage (San Jose’s Todd McLellan is second in win percentage in that time at .661 (184-85-38)).
Teemu Selanne’s power play goal at 4:48 of the third period marked the 246th PPG of his career, one shy of tying Luc Robitaille for fourth in all-time NHL power play goals. In 1,321 career NHL contests, Selanne has earned 658-737=1,395 points, now 20th in all-time points (surpassing Robitaille tonight at 1,394).
Selanne is the second-oldest player in NHL history to have scored 21-or-more goals in a single season (also Gordie Howe, twice (1968-69, 31 goals & 1969-70, 23 goals)). Leading the Ducks with 21-34=55 points on the season and 1-1=2 points tonight, Selanne has earned 6-4=10 points over the last 14 games. His 10 PPG on the season rank tied for eighth in the NHL.
Jonas Hiller won his 24th game of the season, stopping 18-of-19 shots on net. Including this evening, Hiller has made 21 consecutive starts (club record is 23). Over the last 23 games, Hiller has gone 15-3-4 (one ND) for a .931 SV% (536-of-576) and a 1.76 GAA (40 GA/1364 MIN). He has allowed two-or-fewer goals in 18 of his last 22 decisions. In addition, Hiller has stopped 159-of-169 shots for a .941 SV% and 1.40 GAA (10 GA/429 MIN) in his last seven starts (allowed two-or-fewer goals in six of the seven).
Saku Koivu appeared in his 200th game as a Duck today. Just eight games shy of 1,000 NHL appearances, Koivu has earned 236-534=770 points in 992 career games, and 45-84=139 points in three seasons as an Anaheim Duck.
Including an assist on Selanne’s PPG, Corey Perry has earned 7-2=9 points in the last nine games. He ranks tied for fourth in the NHL in goals (30), tied for second in PPG (13) and fourth in the NHL in shots (231).
Tonight marked Sheldon Brookbank’s first career game-winning goal (scored at 12:31 of the second period). Before his game-tying goal on Feb. 17 at New Jersey, Brookbank has scored two goals over the last five games (2-0=2) and has earned 2-1=3 points in the last six.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks win it, 3-1.
19:55 - Getzlaf throws it at the empty net from just outside the blue line, and it's wide right. But it don't matter.
19:34 - Timeout Ducks with 25.8 left.
19:34 - Puck hits off Getzlaf's stick and heads slowly to the other end, going just wide before Chicago touches up for icing.
18:20 - Emery to the bench.
16:45 - Perry picks up a whiffed puck by Keith and and races to the other end, firing a slap shot wide of the far side with Keith hounding from behind.
Ducks fans trying to get an Emmmmmmerrry chant going.
13:09 - ANA Penalty - Niklas Hagman, 2 min. slashing and CHI Penalty - Ray Emery, 2 min. roughing. Hagman gets in deep and takes no less than three hacks at it, as Emery stays strong and then takes a shot from Hagman and gives one back. A couple of Hawks join in as well.
12:52 - That was the 18th shot for Chicago. Ducks have 35.
12:52 - Just as the power play ends, Hiller snuffs out a loose puck in a crowd.
12:10 - Hagman with a nice diving effort to eject the puck out of the zone.
7:19 - Beauchemin's slap shot is tipped on its way, but Emery stays with it and holds on as Parros slaps at it.
6:16 - Selanne with a shot from the lower right circle that Emery gloves as Perry leaps over him to stay out of the way.
5:40 - Visnovsky with his first shot of the game, a slap shot into Emery's gut.
4:48 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TEEMU SELANNE - Getzlaf feeds Perry and gets it back, sending it from the point to Selanne for the one-timer from the low left circle that hits Emery's leg pad and gets behind him. Selanne is positively thrilled as it's 3-1 Ducks with lots of power play time left.
4:27 - CHI Penalty - Jamal Mayers, 2 min. hooking. Mayers takes down Selanne near the wing and the Ducks have 1:28 of 5-on-3 time. Make it happen, boys.
3:54 - CHI Penalty - Dave Bolland, 2 min. hooking Bolland pulls down Perry from behind.
3:25 - Selanne falls, but still gets it to Ryan, who gives it back for a shot that Emery just does knock down with the leg pad.
0:50 - Perry nearly tips in a Sbisa shot.
0:25 - Selanne with an early bid from the right wing, kicked away by Emery.
0:00 - Off and running in the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A hard-fought period gets the horn, as the Ducks take the lead on a Brookbank goal and it's 2-1 with 20 minutes (or more) left.
16:05 - Beauchemin's shot rebounds in front of Emery, and Selanne tries to hack away at it.
12:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SHELDON BROOKBANK - Selanne tries to feed a charging Ryan from behind the net and it gets past him, but slides out to Brookbank. He fires right on net, and it deflects off Keith and under Emery. Brookbank goes 167 games without a goal and now has two in the last five. Crazy game, but we love it. It's 2-1 Ducks.
12:25 - Ducks get on the rush as Selanne feeds Koivu, who touches to Ryan, and he's denied on a great save by Emery.
Heck of an energy in here tonight. Feels a little like a playoff game.
It's the largest regular season crowd in Ducks history: 17,601 with standing room included.
8:40 - Sharp pass gets through traffic, and Kruger just misses tapping it in. Yet another scary moment involving a Kruger.
7:20 - Ducks owning it with the fourth line out there, as Brookbank's slap shot is deflected away by Emery.
6:50 - Parros a nice pass to Pelley, who has his shot knocked away by Emery.
6:00 - Smith-Pelly working his tail off again.
5:10 - Getzlaf pastes Leddy into the wall with a shoulder hit behind the net, then Beauchemin just misses wide on a slap shot.
0:40 - Beauch pinches in and is denied from the slot by Emery. So is Selanne on the rebound.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Kane ends the Hawks power play drought and Cogliano gets one back after replay. It's 1-1.
19:40 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDREW COGLIANO - Bonino's shot rebounds off Emery in front, and Cogliano kicks it under Emery and follows with a swing of the stick. The puck goes in behind Emery with 19.9 left, but it's waved off by the official behind the net. We lgo to replay review to determine if Cogliano got it with his stick after the kick or if Emery redirected it in with his own pad. After a lengthy look at it from several angles, referee Brian Pochmara's mic won't work, so PA guy Phil Hulett announces that it was touched with a stick and it's a GOOD GOAL. It's 1-1.
19:00 - Smith-Pelly with a great steal of the puck, leading to a Coigliano shot and a snow shower from DSP after an Emery save.
18:09 - Hawks kill it, then fans want a trip as Koivu goes down behind the net.
16:27 - Ducks with a couple of swats at it, then Perry fires into Emery's glove.
15:58 - CHI Penalty - Brendan Morrison, 2 min. delay of game. Morrison knocks it out of midair over the glass. Hawks argue to no avail.
15:00 - Getzlaf whips one from the high slot, just deflected away by Emery.
14:30 - Hiller with a big glove save on Keith as the Ducks are scrambling.
13:53 - Hiller with a nice kick and cover on a Kane pass into the crease.
12:38 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. tripping. Perry takes down Olsen as the Hawks are going the other way with the puck.
11:29 - CHICAGO GOAL (POWER PLAY) - PATRICK KANE - Kane takes in the puck from Leddy on the high right wing and slings a shot through a crowd that beats Hiller on the glove side. First power play goal in the last 40 tries and it's 1-0 Chicago.
10:50 - Sharp gets his stick tied up right on the doorstep as the Ducks escape.
10:42 - Not to jinx it, but Chicago is 0 for its last 39 on the power play (13 games).
10:42 - ANA Penalty - Toni Lydman, 2 min. high sticking.
A Ducks fan dude and his Hawks fan woman are encouraged to smooch on the Kiss Cam and they do it.
7:14 - Hiller with a point blank stop on Hossa, then dives to smother the loose puck.
7:05 - Ryan cuts in hard, but Emery pokes it away.
6:40 - Hiller staying strong.
1:50 - Third line of Cogliano, Bonino and Smith-Pelly.
1:15 - Blake crashes in, but can't finish.
0:00 - And we're underway at a packed Honda Center.
4:09 p.m. - Another wonderful job by Dawn Wright on the anthem. We're ready to go here.
Former Duck Emery getting the nod for the Hawks in net. Emery came in for Crawford in a 4-0 rout in LA last night. Beleskey is a healthy scratch for Anaheim. Starters in bold/italics.