By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Corey Perry’s scorching play in the final two months of last season were a major factor in his surge to league MVP honors and the Ducks making a late charge to the playoffs. If tonight is any indication, Perry may be trying to do it all again.
Perry scored two third-period goals, including a clinching empty-netter, to help the Ducks to an important 4-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers. The win pulled the Ducks to within five points of the San Jose Sharks for eighth in the Western Conference.
Perry gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with 3:20 left when Niklas Hagman jumped on a bad turnover from behind the net by former Duck Ryan Whitney and fed Perry for the wrist shot.
Edmonton got within a goal with 1:46 left as their top-ranked power play cashed in a two-man advantage with goalie Nikolai Khabibulin sent to the bench for an extra attacker. Jordan Eberle flipped a shot off the shoulder of Jonas Hiller to convert their first power play of the night.
But Perry all but sealed the victory 30 seconds later, just as Khabibulin was again heading to the bench. He picked off a pass by Whitney at the point and cruised toward the empty cage, dumping the puck in from between the circles.
The goals were the 32nd and 33rd of the season for Perry, who last season had 15 in the month of March on his way to 50.
Earlier in the third, Bobby Ryan scored the go-ahead goal when Teemu Selanne hit him with an outlet pass that sent off Ryan alone on a breakaway. Ryan eluded a diving Whitney as he pulled the puck to the backhand and shuttled it past Khabibulin just before being taken down from behind. The assist moved Selanne to 19th on the NHL all-time scoring list, tied with fellow Finn and boyhood idol Jari Kurri.
"I came in behind the play because it was a weird change," Ryan said. "I wasn’t sure if Teemu was going to see me, but he put it in the perfect place for me to just skate right into it and not lose any speed. The rest was just trying to make a move I’m comfortable making."
For the first time in the last eight games, the Ducks got the game’s first goal, late in the first period as their power play was ending. Caught in a bad change, the Oilers had nobody near Ryan and Jason Blake on the right wing as Ryan dropped a pass to Blake for the tap-in try. Khabibulin made a nice stop, but the puck caromed off defenseman Corey Potter into the net. The goal came with one second left in the power play and marked the first Ducks goal with the man advantage in four games.
Edmonton finally got even near the end of a second period they dominated with a 22-8 shot advantage. With a half-minute left, Nick Schultz’s slap shot from the point was redirected in the slot by Shawn Horcoff to make it 1-1. That ended a shutout streak of 173:43 by Hiller over the Oilers that includes a 5-0 win last January and a 4-0 win in Edmonton in February of last season.
"We didn’t play the way we wanted to in the second," Perry said. "It was probably our worst period of the year. We put it behind us, battled back in the third period and got the job done."
Hiller, who had 34 saves, "was all we had in the second period," according to Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "Where it could have been 4-1 Edmonton, it ends up 1-1.
"When a team plays that good in one period, it’s really hard to do two periods in a row. We go in the room and we get to regroup, just like they regrouped after the first period. They still came out in the third, but I thought once Bobby scored it elevated us and put them down a little bit."
The Ducks -- 10-4-3 in their last 17 games -- play the next three on the road against foes either in playoff position or fighting for it. Starting Thursday, they are at St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado in a span of five days.
"We wanted to start this week off on a good note," Ryan said. "We’re going into three pretty tough building here this week. We have to find a way to come up with some points. It’s nice to leave here with two points and move forward."
Anaheim is 10-4-3 in its last 17 games and 19-6-4 in its last 29. In addition, the club has gone 11-2-1 in its last 14 at Honda Center.
The Ducks are now 10-1-0 in their last 11 contests vs. Edmonton, dating back to Mar. 31, 2009. Jonas Hiller had his shutout streak (spanning five games) vs. Edmonton snapped at 19:29 of the second period tonight (Horcoff goal). He had played 173:43 consecutive minutes without being scored on since Dec. 7, 2010 at Rexall Place (Dustin Penner goal at 13:39 of the third period).
With an assist tonight, Teemu Selanne (658-740=1,398) matched his childhood idol and fellow Finn Jari Kurri (601-797=1,398) for 19th in all-time NHL points.
Jonas Hiller made his 26th consecutive start tonight, extending his new club record originally set on Mar. 2 at 24 (previously 23, Giguere & Hebert). In those 26 consecutive starts, Hiller has gone 16-6-4 with a 1.90 GAA (50 GA/1582 MIN) and a .926 SV% (628-of-678), including two shutouts (Jan. 13 at EDM, Feb. 19 at FLA). In addition, Hiller is 7-4-1 in his last 12 starts, for a .923 SV% (277-of-300) and a 1.90 GAA (23 GA/725 MIN).
Scoring his 200th career goal (first goal) as part of a two-goal evening, Corey Perry has moved to third in the NHL in goals this season with 33. He also picked up his sixth GWG of the season. Perry has scored 10 goals in his last 13 games and 19 goals in his last 30 (19-6=25).
Bobby Ryan notched his 12th multi-point game of the season with 1-1=2 points. He has earned points in three straight (2-2=4) and 4-4=8 points in the last nine contests.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Perry scores twice in the third period to help give the Ducks the 4-2 win.
20:00 - EDM Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. slashing and 2 min. roughing. Sutton takes a punch at Perry, who is trying to fight for a third goal behind the net. Perry punches back, but that's it.
19:45 - Koivu slaps a bouncing puck on net from the blue line, hitting the right post.
19:20 - Khabi to the bench again, getting his workout for the night.
18:45 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - COREY PERRY - Just as Khabibulin is heading to the bench, Perry steals the puck at the point from Whitney and cruises toward the net before sending it through from between the circles. It's 4-2 Ducks.
18:14 - EDMONTON GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JORDAN EBERLE - Nugent-Hopkins feeds from the left wing circle across to Eberle, who slings it off Hiller's shoulder and into the net. It's 3-2 Ducks.
17:45 - Khabi to the bench.
17:13 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. tripping. Selanne trips up Potter near the wall. Crowd boos Anaheim's first penalty of the night.
16:40 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Whitney with a horrible turnover behind his own net, sending into to a patch of ice, where Hagman jumps on it and feeds across to Perry, who flips it in for the 200th of his career. It's 3-1 Ducks.
16:00 - Zero penalties against the Ducks tonight.
13:10 - Lydman tags a one-timer on a rolling puck and it hits off Khabi and spins just outside the stripe before it's taken away.
11:05 - Hiller stops Taylor from the left wing.
8:33 - EDM Penalty - Andy Sutton, 2 min. roughing. Sutton puts Selanne into the wall.
Selanne hands the puck to the equipment guy after the goal. This one means something to him.
8:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Selanne picks up the puck in the corner and feeds aheads to Ryan on right wing, who has a clear path to the net thanks to a sleeping Whitney. Just as Whitney dives at Ryan with the stick, he pulls it to the backhand and sends it past Khabibulin while falling forward. Huge goal and it's 2-1 Ducks. Selanne's assist puts him tied with Jari Kurri for 19th on the all-time NHL scoring list.
7:10 - Perry's bid is kicked away and Getzlaf just misses getting to the rebound.
6:07 - Hiller stops Jones from the right wing. Ducks still giving up a lot of chances.
3:20 - Cogliano is knocked down by Potter, and there is no call, leading to Eberle getting on the breakaway. Thankfully, Hiller forces him into a low angle shot.
2:30 - Hiller just does stop a one-timer by a charging Hall, and the loose puck is swept out of the crease by Beauchemin. That was a little hairy.
0:00 - Kind of a big third period.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Edmonton finally gets a goal after outshooting the Ducks 22-8. It's 1-1 going to the third.
19:29 - EDMONTON GOAL - SHAWN HORCOFF - Oilers finally gets that hard work to pay off, as Schultz's slap shot is redirected by Horcoff in the slot to make it 1-1. That was the 22nd shot of the period for Edmonton. And the Ducks end a shutout streak over the Oilers that lasted two games and almost two periods.
18:45 - Hagman can't knock in a great Getzlaf feed into the crease. He can't buy one lately.
17:00 - Koivu nicely separates Hemsky from the puck, and Hemsky looks like he twists a knee and is limping off.
16:37 - Smyth tries to jam in a wraparound but Hiller says no.
12:30 - Fowler with a slapper from the right point, off the blocker.
12:10 - Brookbank appears okay, and is back out there. He's probably due for at least a couple goals.
Little girls screaming in the row right in front of the press box. They had to sit there? Really?
10:08 - Timeout Anaheim. Boudreau doesn't like what he sees out there. Ducks being outshot 14-2.
10:08 - Hiller makes a point blank save on Eberle from straightaway, then holds strong when multiple Oilers jab at the loose puck.
9:30 - Oilers have turned the tables, outshooting Anaheim 11-1 in this period.
4:10 - Brookbank knocked into the glass and it a little shaken up.
2:30 - Selanne denied on the doorstep off a Koivu feed. Back-to-back big saves bv the opposing goaltenders.
2:20 - Hemsky gets on a breakaway ahead of Beauchemin, but Hiller stones him with the leg pad.
0:00 - Here we go in the second.
1st Period 20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks go up 1-0, outshooting the Oilers 11-4.
19:00 - Beleskey hammers a one-timer from the slot off the leg pad. Beleskey very active so far.
17:18 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JASON BLAKE - The Ducks catch the Oilers in a bad change, leaving Ryan and Blake alone charging up the right side. Deciding whether to pass or shoot, Ryan lays a pass off to Blake, who one-times it off Khabibulin. It hits defenseman Potter and caroms into the net. It's 1-0 Ducks.
16:05 - Selanne tries to bat in a high rebound but it ends up on top of the net. That and the two points don't count for any points, unfortunately.
15:19 - EDM Penalty - Ales Hemsky, 2 min. tripping. First PP for the Ducks, who were 0 for 4 Saturday in LA.
Nice '80s mix for the dancing fans at the timeout, which includes Sweet Child O' Mine and Footloose. Yes, they allow dancing in this county.
15:00 - Smith-Pelly jumps on a puck behind the net and tries to bank it in off Khabi. Almost did.
11:40 - Selanne stutter-steps against the Oilers defenseman Schultz, then wrists a shot that loudly rings the post. That's two already.
11:10 - Smith-Pelly takes a hard hit from Sutton, then later gets dragged from the puck by him on an outlet pass. Crowd wanted a penalty.
8:15 - Ryan whips a one-timer from the left circle off the post. That was close.
7:55 - Koivu, with pressure, gets off a one-timer from the slot that Khabi saves.
6:45 - Uneventful so far, as the Ducks are outshooting the Oil, 2-0.
5:30 - Taylor Hall, by the way, is in there. He was questionable with a shoulder injury.
0:10 - And now we're not. Early icing by Edmonton.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Dawn Wright does double duty on the anthems tonight, and does it well. Starters in bold/italics.