By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Ryan Getzlaf could not have picked a more spectacular time to break out of his slump.
The Ducks captain, who had gone 17 games without scoring a goal, connected on a one-timer with 46.0 seconds left in regulation to give the Ducks a crucial 3-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames.
"That was a big win for our group," Getzlaf said. "Tonight was an emotional one. We have to enjoy it right now and get ready for the next one."
It was the 15th straight regular season win by the Ducks over Calgary, who haven’t won at Honda Center since January 19, 2004. More importantly, the victory moved the Ducks to 12th place in the Western Conference and kept them seven points behind Dallas (who beat Edmonton 3-1 tonight) for the eighth spot. And since the win came in regulation, it kept the Flames (currently in 11th) from gaining any points in the playoff chase.
Anaheim and Calgary looked poised to head to extra time when Corey Perry came down the right wing and dropped a pass to Getzlaf, who blistered a one-timer from the top of the circle just inside the far post. The Ducks went berserk on the ice, as did the Honda Center crowd of 16,431.
"The last little bit has been a bit of a struggle with putting the puck in the net," Getzlaf said. "We had all kinds of chances the last few games. Tonight it was nice to get one. It was a good neutral zone regroup. We got some speed going there. We came fresh off the bench, were able to go wide and back the ‘D’ off a little bit. Pears made a nice little drop pass to me."
Said Perry, "He’s been battling through it. He found a good time to pick one. He let that shot go. I don’t think too many goalies are going to stop that shot when he lets go of it."
Anaheim took its first lead 7:41 into the middle session when Getzlaf fought for the puck near the end boards, passed up a shot from left of the net and made a nice feed to Perry for the tap-in.
"He’s so patient with the puck," Perry said. "He waited and everybody in the building thought he was going to shoot the puck right away. You just go to the net with your stick down when he has the puck and good things happen."
But the Flames drew even when a Mike Cammalleri shot rebounded in front of Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, and Alex Tanguay deposited it into the open net.
Hiller made his 24th straight start for the Ducks, breaking a team record once owned by J.S. Giguere (2001) and Guy Hebert (1997). Calgary rookie Leland Irving had 35 saves in his start over top netminder Miikka Kiprusoff (1-6-3 lifetime at Honda Center), who got the win last night in Phoenix. Irving made his sixth NHL appearance (all on the road).
"The first half of the game, I thought we were the better team," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "When it got to 2-1, we sort of stopped playing and were trying to defend. They had some really good chances and came at us. When they tied it 2-2 in the third, we were probably a little nervous. I thought Hillsy in the last 10 minutes saved our bacon. Then, we got the chance to score and we did."
Anaheim gave up the game’s first goal for the sixth straight game, and ninth in the last 10, as Calgary converted on the power play 3:06 into the first. Former Duck Curtis Glencross banked a shot from the extended goal line off Hiller’s right leg pad.
The Ducks countered a few minutes later on an odd-man rush, as Teemu Selanne made a beautiful saucer pass to Bobby Ryan for the one-timer from the left wing.
The win was much-needed for the Ducks, who had lost two in a row coming into it. They face an equally critical game tomorrow night, when they head up to LA for a battle with the rival Kings (currently ninth in the West, four points ahead of Anaheim).
"We have half the battle done this weekend," Getzlaf said.
Anaheim is 9-3-3 in its last 15 games and 18-5-4 in its last 27. In addition, the club has gone 10-2-1 in its last 13 at Honda Center.
The Ducks extended their winning streak vs. Calgary at HOME to 15 games, the longest win streak vs. one opponent at home in franchise history. Anaheim has not lost at home to Calgary since Jan. 19, 2004. In addition, the club is 14-4-1 vs. the Flames overall, dating back to Nov. 29, 2007.
In those 24 consecutive starts, Hiller has gone 15-5-4 with a 1.85 GAA (45 GA/1463 MIN) and a .928 SV% (578-of-623), including two shutouts (Jan. 13 at EDM, Feb. 19 at FLA). In addition, Hiller is 6-3-1 in his last 10 starts, for a .927 SV% (227-of-245) and a 1.78 GAA (18 GA/606 MIN).
Corey Perry is just one goal shy of 200 in his NHL career, scoring the club’s second marker tonight as part of a two-point game (1-1=2). Perry has nine goals in his last 13 games (9-3=12) and 17 goals in his last 28 (17-6=23).
Toni Lydman collected an assist in his 800th career NHL game this evening. He is now just one assist shy of 200 in his career (36-199=235).
Ryan Getzlaf scored his third game-winning goal of the season as part of a two-point night (1-1=2). He has earned 1-3=4 points in the last five contests.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Getzlaf wins it for the Ducks, 3-2.
19:50 - Hagman flips the puck toward the empty net and it nearly goes in before it's swept off the stripe by Giordano. It won't matter though.
19:40 - Irving to the bench.
19:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Perry heads down the left wing and drops it back to Getzlaf, who drills a one-timer from the top of the right wing circle off the inside of the far post and in. Ducks and the crowd go absolutely berserk, as Anaheim takes the lead with 46.0 left. First goal in the last 18 for Getzlaf.
17:15 - Calgary ices it with 2:45 left. Ducks want to win this thing in regulation, since they're battling with Calgary for a playoff spot.
14:05 - Fowler's shot from the high slot is blockered away. He could definitely use one.
A member of the military is surprised by family and friends as the Ducks honor him during the timeout. Pretty damn cool.
Classic '80s tune, Up All Night by Boomtown Rats (had to look that part up) during the timeout.
11:40 - Hiller robs Glencross right on the doorstep.
10:45 - Perry gets a good kick off the glass and keeps the puck for a good while, as the penalty ticks down.
9:52 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. tripping. Koivu takes down Giordano.
8:45 - Cogliano's pass from the wing bounces into the crease and Smith-Pelly nearly drag it in.
8:20 - Hagman shaken up as he heads to the bench.
8:00 - Hagman hits Perry on the rush, but Irving closes the door.
4:27 - CALGARY GOAL - ALEX TANGUAY - Cammalleri shot rebounds in front of Hiller, and Tanguay drags it back and sends it into the open net. We're tied 2-2.
2:30 - Ducks buzzing around the Calgary net. Came out hard this period.
0:00 - Off and running in an all-important third.
20:00 - Getlaf-to-Perry puts the Ducks on top 2-0.
19:28 - Hiller loses the puck out of his glove into the blue paint, but falls backward on it.
17:36 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Cogliano, 2 min. interference. Cogliano knocks down Giordano away from the puck.
16:05 - CGY Penalty - Tim Jackman, 2 min. hooks. Jackman loses the puck, then hooks Blake trying to get it back.
14:05 - Loose puck that might have come off Getzlaf's stick bounces past Irving, but just wide of the net.
9:16 - CGY Penalty - Scott Hannan, 2 min. holding. Hannan holds up Selanne at the blue line and gets called, despite putting his hands up in innocence.
7:41 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Getzlaf wrests the puck away from Brodie near the end boards, then passes up an open shot just left of the net to feed an open Perry, who taps it in to make it 2-1. It's the 31st for Perry.Last year he had zero goals in the first three games of March. He finished with 15 in the month.
5:00 - Selanne and Koivu with a little give-and-go, but 8 is tied up on the give-back pass in front.
1:00 - Ducks kill it.
0:00 - Here we go in the second with the Flames on the power play off the Koivu penalty.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Just as the horn sounds, Blake fires a shorthanded shot from the low left wing that beats Irving. Flames not happy with the shot after the horn, but it was so close, you can't blame Blake. It's 1-1 after 1.
18:56 - ANA Penalty - Saku Koivu, 2 min. goaltender interference. Koivu runs into Irving outside the crease. The crowd and Boudreau not happy at all with that call.
18:50 - Getzlaf steps up to a lost puck and tries to drag around a sliding Glencross and loses it. He can't buy a goal.
Alex Tanguay's name makes me want to sip some gin.
18:21 - CGY Penalty - Alex Tanguay, 2 min. tripping. Tanguay takes down Hagman behind the net.
One of the cowboy hat-wearing girls is on Kiss Cam and uses it to cover her and her dude's faces during the smooch. Kinda cute.
15:00 - Ryan gets on a mini breakaway and fires a wrister off Leland, on the one-year anniversary of him beating Detroit with a similar shot on a penalty shot in OT.
All of section 207 (behind the Ducks bench) is wearing white cowboy hats in honor honor of Stampede Day. Looks crazy.
Leland Irving has such a distinguished name. Kinda feel like it should be Leland Irving III or Leland Irving IV.
10:45 - Koivu fires off Irving from the slot and he makes a great save on Selanne's rebound try.
10:09 - CGY Penalty - Scott Hannan, 2 min. tripping.
9:26 - We have a flashback to the '06 playoffs as Beauchemin and Iginla trade blows away from the play, just as Calgary was getting the puck to the front of the net. This one isn't as one-sided as that one (an lopsided Beauchemin decision that turned that series) as they both land a couple of shots before running out of gas. Fans loved that one.
8:50 - Hagman picks up a loose puck and feeds in front to Perry, who is robbed by Irving.
6:17 - Off the draw, Sbisa and Kostopoulos decide to put up their dukes, with a couple of missed rights followed by Sbisa drilling Kostopoulos with one to the bag of the head. Kostopoulos gets the jersey over Sbisa's head before they break it up. Sbisa stretching out his hand in the penalty box.
5:58 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Selanne uses his speed to beat Moss to a loose puck, getting on a 2-on-1 with Ryan. He waits for the right time to slide a saucer pass across in front of Bouwmeester, and Ryan one-times it into the open left half of the net. Huge hug from Ryan on Selanne and it's 1-1.
5:32 - Bad Calgary turnover leads to an odd-man rush for Anaheim, in which Ryan slings a shot from the high slot into the glove.
3:06 - CALGARY GOAL (POWER PLAY) - Former Duck Curtis Glencross tries a shot from the extended goal line, getting it to glance off Hiller's right leg pad and sneak over the stripe. It's 1-0 Calgary.
2:49 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. hooking. Getzlaf gets Iginla in the corner. Five seconds left in the original penalty.
0:53 - ANA Penalty - 2 min. too many men on the ice. Bad change leaves a ton of Ducks out there.
0:40 - Ducks with a couple chances early, including a wrister from the slow by Fowler off a drawn-out Irving. Fowler looking for his first goal in a long time.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Canadian recording artist Jason Greeley sings the Canadian anthem, and Dawn Wright blows him away with a spirited, and well-received, American anthem.