ANAHEIM – Despite dominating the Stars in the first two games of their three-game miniseries, Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau cautioned before tonight’s third game, “To beat any team three times in a row is difficult.”
Unfortunately for Boudreau and his Ducks, his point was emphatically proven in a 3-1 Dallas victory in front of 16,884 at Honda Center.
Dallas scored three times in the first, and Anaheim’s one goal in that period was all it could manage in just its fifth loss at home this year. The Ducks also missed a chance to pull within a point of Chicago for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Ducks had rolled to a 4-0 victory in Dallas on Monday night and a 5-2 rout two nights ago in Anaheim, but neither team looked the same as the Stars controlled this one virtually from the start to improve their record to 17-17-3.
"We didn’t help ourselves," Boudreau said. "That was their best effort and we knew that if they scored the first goal or if they got a lead coming out of the first period, they were going to be very tough. It seems like after we tied it up for about 10 minutes there, we fell right apart."
The Ducks were on the wrong end of a sloppy first period, going into a 3-1 hole after the first 20 minutes. Dallas opened the scoring 9:03 into the game on the rush, as Lane MacDermid got in front of a backchecking Daniel Winnik to receive an Antoine Roussel pass and send it through.
Just 18 seconds later, the Ducks tied it, as David Steckel met up with the puck behind the Dallas net and fed in front to Andrew Cogliano, who banged it home.
That was about the extent of the good for the Ducks in that period, as Eric Nystrom turned the tables on the Anaheim power play with a shorthanded goal at 13:54. Viktor Fasth made the ill-fated decision to come out of his crease to chase a rolling puck, and Nystrom beat him to it before sending it into the abandoned net.
With less than a minute left, the Stars got on the rush yet again, as Vernon Fiddler fed Alex Chiasson for the goal, the first of his NHL career.
That was it for the rest of the night, as neither team found the net in the second and third, despite a number of chances for the Ducks. But Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen was sharp, saving 27 of 28 Anaheim shots.
"It seems like every time we lose a game is because of the first period," Cogliano said. "I think that plagued us again tonight. A couple of those goals were just breakdowns. When you let teams skate in the middle of the ice and get into your zone, bad things happen."
The Ducks had an interesting goalie situation to start the game, as Jonas Hiller had to miss the game with an illness, and callup Igor Bobkov didn't arrive in time for the game. Anaheim had to sign 42-year-old goalie Rob Laurie as an emergency backup. Laurie is a resident of Corona who was a member of the Anaheim Bullfrogs of the Roller Hockey International League (inline hockey) from 1993-99.
Laurie was on the bench for the start of the game until Bobkov arrived a few minutes into the first and ended Laurie's night. Said Laurie about the call he got this afternoon, "I saw it was from [Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations] David McNab and thought I better make the call back," Laurie said. "He said, 'What are you doing tonight?' He asked if I was available to come down, and I figured I'd make it work."
"I was thinking it's been about a week since I've been on the ice, so I was hoping [Viktor] stayed in there."
The Ducks were without captain Ryan Getzlaf, who suffered a lower body injury in the third period on Wednesday night. "It’s day-to-day with him," Boudreau said. "We’re going to see how he is at practice. I know no one wants to play as much as Ryan, but I think at this stage we want to be 100%. We don’t want anything to linger on. As big a game as we think this one is on Sunday, we want to make sure Ryan is ready before he goes in."
Anaheim looks to bounce back against another division rival, the Kings, on Sunday at Honda Center.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Ducks lose it, 3-1.
18:30 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry, 2 min. hooking. Perry commits possibly an intentional hook as Eakin was heading toward the empty net.
18:30 - Fasth to the bench as it's desperation time for the Ducks.
14:02 - ANA Penalty - Teemu Selanne, 2 min. tripping. Ducks didn't need that.
13:50 - Ducks get about 59 chances in the slot in a manner of seconds, but nothing can get to the net.
13:24 - Ducks get a break when Benn throws the puck in off the glass, it takes a weird kick and somehow gets by a surprised Fasth, who never saw it coming. But a Dallas player was offside. That was an odd sequence.
4:45 - Selanne heads down right wing and fires it under Lehton, but off the left post. Not sure what kept that out.
4:25 - Lombardi gets on the breakaway, but Lehtonen denies.
Just announced that Lane MacDermid has an upper body injury and won't return. Okay then.
3:17 - Ducks with a couple of chances, the last a Palmieri wraparound try that nearly gets through.
0:00 - Off and running in the third, the Ducks with some work to do.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - An adventurous second period ends with no goals from either side. It's still 3-1.
17:05 - New guy Lombardi with a little feed in front to Etem, who can't quite guide it on net.
15:03 - DAL Penalty - Ryan Garbutt, 2 min. slashing. Garbutt, whose junior high years must have been a pain with that name, slashes Ryan to keep him from receiving the puck.
12:23 - Ducks get close but can't put one through on the power play, then Daley fires a slap shot on the run that Fasth tucks in.
11:39 - Cogliano is harassed from behind by Larsen as he speeds down the ice alone, and Lehton stops him.
11:10 - DAL Penalty - Trevor Daley, 2 min. holding. Daley, acting like a guy who knows he can get away with anything, grabs and tugs on Perry as they chase a puck to the corner.
10:57 - Robidas' shot gets redirected on its way to the net, but Fasth somehow gathers it in. Still 46 seconds left on Beleskey's penalties.
9:49 - Ducks go the other way shorthanded, as Etem tries to feed Cogliano on the rush, and he's dragged down from behind by Whitney before he can get to it. Somehow there is no call. Crowd is not happy.
7:43 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. cross checking and 2 min. unsportsmanlike conduct. A little scrap after Lehtonen gloves a Lovejoy shot between Koivu and Roussel, and Beleskey drills Roussel in the back with a cross check and knocks him down. Extra two may have been for arguing about it.
3:15 - Koivu snaps a shot on the rush, over the net.
1:00 - Fasth with a big early save from point blank on Cole.
0:00 - Here we go in the second, Stars still on the PP.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Rough first for the Ducks, who trail 3-1.
19:58 - Whitney hits the post just before the horn.
19:22 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Souray, 2 min. boarding. Stars with the PP.
19:12 - DALLAS GOAL - ALEX CHIASSON - Stars get out and running again, as Fiddler fakes a shot from the left wing and feeds in front to Chiasson, who bangs it through for his first as an NHLer. It's 3-1 Stars.
17:20 - Fasth with a HUGE save as Whitney snuck backdoor.
16:40 - ANA Penalty - Matt Beleskey, 2 min. interference. Somewhat sloppy first for Anaheim, as Beleskey takes a penalty.
15:30 - Ducks just missed scoring as Beauchemin pinches in, then get lucky as a Dallas 2-on-0 goes awry when a pass goes under a Stars stick. Crazy first period.
14:30 - Koivu gets a great pass from Selanne and has an open net, but the one-timer hits a post (maybe two).
13:54 - DALLAS GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - ERIC NYSTROM - After a Ducks giveaway, Fasth finds himself in no man's land as he tries to come out of his net to go after a puck rolling down the left wing. Nystrom beats him to it and throws it past him into the abandoned net. It's 2-1 Dallas.
13:41 - ANA Penalty - Emerson Etem, 2 min. fighting and DAL Penalty - Antione Roussel, 5 min. fighting and Lane MacDermid, 2 min. high sticking. Palmieri takes a high stick from MacDermid and THIS ONE will be called. The whoile thing ticks Etem off apparently, and he drops the gloves with Roussel. In a lengthy bout, Etem lands most of the big punches before officials step in. Meanwhile, MacDermid will sit out 2 for the high stick.
12:15 - Fasth with a few good stops, the last on Whitney just now.
9:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDREW COGLIANO - Ducks quickly strike back, as the Allen dump-in takes a lucky bounce toward the side of the net. Steckel catches up with it and feeds quickly in front to Cogliano, who punches it through. We're tied 1-1.
9:03 - DALLAS GOAL - LANE MACDERMID - Stars get on the rush, as Roussel picks up the puck on left wing and feeds MacDermid (who are these guys?) who got in front of Winnik to get the backhand goal. It's 1-0.
7:35 - Holland taken down by the stick of Rome, and crowd wants a penalty.
7:20 - Beauchemin with a nice little saucer feed to a charging Holland, who is robbed on the backhand.
6:00 - Lombardi, in there on the power play, feeds Souray, who hammers wide right.
5:40 - Beauchemin with a rocket that just misses the mark.
3:57 - DAL Penalty - Jamie Benn, 2 min. concealing the puck. As Benn slides into Fasth, he covers the loose puck with his glove and closes his hand on it.
3:53 - Laurie heads down the tunnel and Bobkov emerges. That's it for Laurie, who gets to keep his jersey no doubt.
2:30 Fasth with a nice initial save on Rousel, then stands strong as MacDermid tries to punch in the rebound.
1:30 - Laurie on that goalie stool at the end of the bench for now. Bobkov is apparently here, but not out there yet. There is a special NHL exemption for emergency goalie situations that allows the Ducks to have one more active player in the lineup than the usual 20.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center.
Fasth is in net again, and Jonas Hiller is out with an illness. Igor Bobkov is expected to arrive shortly from Norfolk. In his stead, goalie Rob Laurie has signed a one-day professional tryout with the Ducks and is on the bench tonight.
Starters in bold/italics.
STEPHANE ROBIDAS (A)
RAY WHITNEY (A)
JAMIE BENN (A)
TEEMU SELANNE (A)
COREY PERRY (A)
SAKU KOIVU (A)
1 - 0 DAL
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 DAL
3 - 1 DAL
Closing hand on puck