Friday, January 9, 2009

Another Wasted Comeback

The Ducks were struck down by the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight after making a second period comeback to tie the score. Playing catch-up proved to be insufficient for the Ducks to win as they played a game shockingly similar to last night's effort against the Kings.

The Lightning took a quick lead, scoring a short-handed goal just three minutes into the first period. Tampa Bay player Ryan Craig was sent to the penalty box for a tripping call, but even with an extra attacker, the Ducks couldnt score a goal or even defend their own zone.

Tampa Bay would score again in the first few minutes of the second period to seemingly put the game out of reach for the Ducks. Ducks rookie Andrew Ebbett scored the first Anaheim goal on a powerplay midway through the second period. It was Ebbett's second career goal since he was recently called up from the Duck's AHL affiliate, the Iowa Chops.

Tampa Bay was granted another opportunity to score when Chris Pronger was sent to the penalty box on a cross-checking call, and Lightning player Ryan Malone took advantage to put the Lightning ahead 3-1.

In just 12 seconds, the Ducks turned the game around from a two goal deficit to a tied score, with goals from Steve Montador and Chris Pronger. The score was tied at 3 apiece, and fans were wondering whether they were just watching a replay of last night's game.

Indeed they were. Lightning player Ryan Malone scored his second goal of the game to put Tampa Bay ahead, 4-3. The Ducks never recovered from that lead.

The Ducks took 32 shots on goal tonight, but Jonas Hiller was unable to defend 4 of the 19 shots he faced. That was all it took for the Lightning to strike the Ducks out.

Six of tonight's players started this season in Iowa, playing for the AHL. Through injuries and suspensions, they've been called up to play in the NHL to keep the Ducks afloat while their starters recover. One player, Matt Beleskey, arrived at the Honda Center just 15 minutes before the puck dropped, an emergency call up to replace an injured Todd Marchant.

The Ducks also recently lost enforcer Brad May in a trade to Toronto. May was traded to the Ducks just a few months before they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Temporarily missing from the lineup is Kent Huskins, Teemu Selanne, Brad Larsen, Francois Beauchemin and Corey Perry. Perry is expected to return for the game against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, as his suspension ends. Todd Marchant was absent tonight and remains on a day-to-day decision on whether he plays.

The Ducks will next play the New Jersey Devils on Sunday at 5.

In the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets shut out the Washington Capitals with a score of 0-3, the Buffalo Sabers beat the New York Rangers in a shootout, and San Jose won over Edmonton with a score of 4-1. The San Jose Sharks continue to lead the league with 65 points, with Boston in a close second place with 64 points.

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