ANAHEIM – It’s safe to say Kyle Palmieri will remember this night for a very long time.
The 22-year-old winger became the second-youngest player in Ducks history to record a hat trick, scoring three straight in the first and second periods to lead Anaheim to a resounding 5-1 victory over Nashville at Honda Center.
"It was," Palmieri said, "an awesome time."
It was also the seventh win in the last eight for the Ducks and seventh straight at home, a game where they thoroughly dominated the one-time playoff rival Predators from start to finish. Anaheim secured its 11th win in February, equaling the team record for most wins in a single month.
Palmieri’s natural hat trick (the sixth in club history) in the first two periods helped give the Ducks a 4-0 lead just 1:07 into the second frame. But he wasn’t the one to put the Ducks on the board first, as Nick Bonino got a gift goal less than three minutes into the contest. Emerson Etem, playing his first game since getting called up from Norfolk yesterday, stripped the puck from goalie Pekka Rinne behind the net and fed it in front to Bonino for the easy goal.
"It’s a bonus goal and it’s great when you can get that line going," said coach Bruce Boudreau of the fourth line of Bonino, Etem and Patrick Maroon. "It brings energy to the rest of the lines. I was happy for them."
From there it was the Palmieri show, as he got on the board almost exactly a minute after the Bonino goal thanks to some deft Ducks passing. On the rush, Ryan Getzlaf headmanned to Corey Perry, and he got it ahead to Palmieri, who got in front of Shea Weber before forehanding it past Rinne.
With three minutes left in the period, Palmieri got his second of the night, again set up by linemates Getzlaf and Perry. The Ducks captain cleanly won the draw, sending it below the goal line to Perry, who fed Palmieri for the one-timer.
A Nashville penalty for too many men on the ice near the end of the first led to Palmieri’s third, as Getzlaf shuttled the puck down to Perry just to the left of the net. Perry whistled it across the crease to a waiting Palmieri, who banged it home. Hats rained down from the stands as Palmieri was mobbed by teammates, seemingly unable to wipe the smile off his face.
The puck hit the back of the net hard and bounced right out, leaving Palmieri (and the crowd) unsure at first if it was a goal. "I wasn’t actually sure it went in, but when the ref gave the signal it was a pretty awesome feeling," he said. "It was very nice of Perry to assist on all three of them. I think our line played well tonight and I was lucky enough to get the bounces in the right areas."
At 22 years and 26 days old, Palmieri became the second-youngest player in Ducks history to score a hat trick, doing so at 22 years and 26 days (Bobby Ryan was youngest at 21 years, 9 months and 22 days on Jan. 8, 2009 at LA). And on a team with Ryan, Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, it's Palmieri who is now leading the Ducks in goals with seven.
Tonight he was part of a top line with Getzlaf and Perry that combined for nine points. "Corey [Perry] and Ryan [Getzlaf] are two phenomenal players and definitely two of the best in the world," Palmieri said. "It’s an honor to be on the ice with them and be on their line. At the same time, they’re guys who are phenomenal playmakers as well as goal scorers. I just knew I had to get out there and work hard and find those areas. I knew if I was open, they’d get me the puck."
Nashville was able to get one back midway through the second when Kevin Klein set Craig Smith up with a cross-ice feed, but the Ducks scored their fifth before the period was over. Again on the power play, Francois Beauchemin fired a shot that was tipped in mid-air by Bobby Ryan. The puck hit awkwardly off of Rinne, and Saku Koivu was right there to punch it in.
The Ducks didn’t score again, but neither did the Preds, as goalie Viktor Fasth earned the ninth win in his first 10 NHL starts. He suffered his first career loss two nights ago in a 5-2 defeat to the rival Kings in LA.
"After a loss you always want to play again -- you almost want to play the same game again to change it, but that's not possible," Boudreau said. " We knew what we had to do -- just focus on this game and do everything right."
Added Getzlaf, "We just turned the page. That’s what you have to do in this league. In this short season, if you can resist from losing two in a row it changes a lot of things. That was our mentality going into tonight; never to lose two and we were able to accomplish that tonight."
Anaheim will look to keep it going against the visiting Wild on Friday night at Honda Center.
The Ducks (14-3-1) have won seven straight games at Honda Center, the longest active HOME streak in the NHL. The club has won seven-of-eight games overall (7-1-0) and 11 of 13 (11-2-0). The club’s 14-3-1 start to 2012-13 is just one point shy of the best start in franchise history (13-1-4 for 30 points in 2006-07).
The Ducks’ 7-1-0 (14 points) start at HOME is the best start in franchise history. The club amassed a previous franchise-high 13 standings points through the first eight HOME contests on two previous occasions (6-1-1 in 2005-06 and 5-0-3 in 2006-07).
The club has secured its 11th win in the month of February (11-2-0), equaling the franchise record for most wins in a single month (also 11-4-1 in March 2006 and 11-3-0 in March 2011).
Anaheim’s 14 wins are the second-most and its 29 points are tied for the second-most (also Montreal) in the NHL (Chicago leads the NHL with a 16-0-3 record for 35 points). The club is now 13 points ahead of last year’s pace after 18 games (6-8-4 in 2011-12, 16 points).
The club’s seven straight wins at HOME marks the most in over five years (the club won seven straight from Dec. 19, 2007-Jan. 15, 2008).
Anaheim’s 3.33 goals-per-game average ranks third in the NHL (TB, 3.68 & PIT, 3.40).
The Ducks have scored at least two power play goals in three of the last four contests (at least one in all four contests), going 8-for-14 for a 57.1% success rate in that span.
Kyle Palmieri became the second-youngest player in Ducks history to score a hat trick, doing so at 22 years and 26 days (Bobby Ryan was youngest at 21 years, 9 months and 22 days on Jan. 8, 2009 at LA). It marks the sixth natural hat trick in club history (last: Andrew Cogliano on Jan. 31, 2012 at Phoenix). Palmieri recorded the 40th hat trick in club history and is the 15th different player to score three in a game.
With his second three-point night (0-3=3) in three games, Ryan Getzlaf now has a four-game scoring streak (2-7=11). In addition, he extended his HOME scoring streak to six games (3-8=11, +5). Getzlaf has scored a team-leading 6-15=21 points with a +9 rating this season.
Francois Beauchemin is riding a three-game assist streak (0-6=6). His 2-11=13 points (+13 rating) through 18 games ranks tied for fifth in the NHL among League defensemen.
Corey Perry has extended his point streak to a season-high six games (4-7=11, +7). His six-game streak is tied for the third-longest active streak in the NHL (also PHI’s Giroux).
Saku Koivu has a two-game goal streak (2-0=2) and a three-game point streak (2-1=3).
Viktor Fasth won his ninth game of the season, stopping 20-of-21 shots on net. He now ranks fifth in the NHL in wins.
Tonight’s attendance was 13,630.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks win in a rout, 5-1.
19:51 - Palmieri all smiles on the bench and Selanne rubs his head.
19:51 - And just as we write that, Beleskey and Hannan tangle a bit with 8.7 left, but Hannan goes down before much can happen.
19:30 - Not a whole lot going on the last few minutes, and the Ducks are fine with that.
11:00 - Etem comes within inches of his first NHL goal, as Getzlaf feeds him on the shorthanded rush, and Mason just does kick away the shot.
9:25 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. goaltender interference. Beleskey runs Mason after a Selanne slap shot, and at the other end during the delay, Fowler takes down Bourque, who goes slamming into Fasth. No penalty there, which was the right call because Fowler initiated the contact.
2:45 - Selanne and Ryan with a couple of shots at it, but new goalie Mason denies.
1:49 - ANA Penalty - Bryan Allen, 2 min. cross checking and NSH Penalty - Rich Clune, 2 min. slashing. Things get a little testy out there.
0:00 - Chris Mason in net for Nashville as we start the third.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The second is nearly as good as the first, as Palmieri gets his third and Koivu adds one on the power play to make it 5-1 (Nashville scored one somewhere in there).
19:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - The Ducks power play does it again, as Beauchemin fires a shot that's tipped on the way there by Ryan, making it hit awkwardly off Rinne. Koivu is there near the right post to punch it through and make it 5-1 Ducks. We're going to HOOTERS!!!!!!
17:58 - NSH Penalty - Rich Clune, 2 min. goaltender interference. Clune clips Fasth as he skates by him in the crease.
16:44 - Fasth scoops up a Legwand shot, and we have a mini skirmish around the net that sends Hornqvist flying.
16:25 - Selanne with a nice pass off right wing to Koivu, who fires it too high.
15:18 - Ducks with a number of chances, but Nashville keeps them away to stay in this thing for now.
14:30 - Getzlaf reaches out to try and force a loose puck through, but Rinne is ready.
13:18 - NSH Penalty - Scott Hannan, 2 min. interference. Ducks get thje second PP of the period.
12:53 - Ducks nicely kill that one.
10:53 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. hooking.
9:27 - NASHVILLE GOAL - CRAIG SMITH - The Preds get one back when Clune chases it into the corner, spins and feeds Klein, who sends it across to Smith for the one-timer. It's 4-1.
8:16 - Preds flip it over the glass, but no penalty since they were on the rush. We go to the timeout with the Ducks leading 4-0.
1:07 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - KYLE PALMIERI - HAT TRICK!!!!!! Palmieri gets his third of the game and first career hat trick off some deft passing. Getzlaf is patient with the puck before heading to the net and sending it down to Perry, who whistles it across the crease to a waiting Palmieri for the one-timer. Palmieri is mobbed by his teammates as hats rain down from the stands, and he can't wipe the smile off his face. It's 4-0 Ducks.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, the Ducks with some power play time.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ducks have about as good a first period as you could hope for, getting one from Bonino and two from Palmieri to go up 3-0. They have 1:25 of PP time when we come back.
19:24 - NSH Penalty - 2 min. too many men on the ice. Bad change for the Preds. Not their period.
19:30 - Ducks pull their goalie late in the first period. Gutsy strategy. Okay, it was a delayed penalty.
18:28 - Winnik tries to make it 4-0 with a little tip try, but Rinne isn't havin' it.
16:57 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE PALMIERI - Palmieri gets his second of the night as Getzlaf wins the draw in the left wing circle and sends it down to Perry. He quickly feeds in front to Palmieri for the one-timer. It's 3-0 Ducks. Wow.
13:45 - Perry tries a slap shot as Palmieri is crashing the net, but Rinne does a heck of a job to grab and hold it. He's pretty good.
12:40 - Etem getting extremely active, nearly setting up Maroon for a tip goal, then nearly getting one himself on the rebound.
9:57 - Fasth reaches out and gloves a Fisher backhand before he cheats. (I know that doesn't make sense, but I wanted to get in a Carrie Underwood reference).
We have a battle between two dudes (one in his 20s, one in his 50s) to see who can better sing "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. The answer: neither of them. But credit to the older guy for not only knowing the song, but doing the little ring-on-your-finger hand gesture. He wins by a mile according to crowd response.
6:12 - Fasth gets some approval out of the crowd with a slick glove save, as we take the first timeout.
3:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - KYLE PALMIERI - The Ducks expertly move the puck up the ice, as Getzlaf sends it ahead to Perry, who ultimately gets it ahead to Palmieri and he gets in front of Weber before forehanding it past Rinne. It's quickly 2-0 Ducks on Palmieri's fifth of the year.
2:48 - ANAHEIM GOAL - NICK BONINO - "Bones" gets a gift when new call-up Etem strips the puck away from Rinne behind the net and feeds in front to Bonino, who only has Gaustad to beat for the easy goal. It's 1-0 Ducks.
1:50 - D-men Allen and Lydman pinching in to get some action going around the Preds net.
0:45 - Erat with a nice feed in front to Fisher, but it glides by him. That could have been a nice start for Nashville.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
7:07 p.m. - Dawn Wright with another rousing rendition of the anthem.
Fasth with the start for the second straight game, after losing Monday night in LA. Sbisa back in there after getting scratched in LA.
Starters in bold/italics.
SHEA WEBER (C)
MARTIN ERAT (A)
MIKE FISHER (A)
TEEMU SELANNE (A)
SAKU KOIVU (A)
RYAN GETZLAF (C)
1 - 0 ANA
2 - 0 ANA
3 - 0 ANA
4 - 0 ANA
4 - 1 ANA
5 - 1 ANA
Too many men/ice - bench
Interference on goalkeeper
Interference on goalkeeper