Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Black and Blue- St. Louis at Ducks

The hat trick that had eluded Bobby Ryan the last few games finally came together tonight against the St. Louis Blues, leading the Ducks to a 7-4 win at the Honda Center.

The game started out with a quick goal at 3:31 by Ryan on a powerplay after Blues player Philip McRae was called for tripping. It would be the first of three goals for Ryan and the first of many penalties of the night.

Jason Blake scored the second goal of the night just four minutes later, off a shot that was redirected off a Blues players' skate. It was an unusual goal, but it tallied for Blake's ninth goal of the season.

Ducks player Andreas Lilja earned a penalty for holding McRae down to the ice, but the Ducks quickly killed the penalty at 9:21 and then responded with Ryan's second goal of the night at 18:17. Ryan's redirect off a Corey Perry shot put him one goal away from a hat trick.

Jonas Hiller (the Shark Killer) held the Blues scoreless for the first period and for the beginning of the second, giving him a scoreless streak of 178:34 minutes. His past two games have been shut outs against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks. St. Louis broke the streak and got on the scoreboard at 3:44 of the second period, off a breakaway goal by David Backes. Barely three minutes later, Backes scored again, right past Hiller's stick side.

At the end of the second period, the game had a one-goal difference at 3-2, and each team had earned two penalties each on minor offenses. In the third stanza, all hell broke loose.

Just 0:30 seconds into the third period, Ryan found the back of the net for his third career hat trick and second of the season. Of the club's last four hat tricks, three have belonged to Ryan and one to Perry.

Perry scored the next goal at 6:17, catching Blues netminder Ty Conklin behind the net to retrieve the puck. Perry got ahold of the puck from Conklin, and swung it into the net, putting the game away for the Ducks with a score of 5-2.

Blues right winger, BJ Crombeen earned a penalty at 13:00, giving Lubomir Visnovski a chance to get in on the scoring action. Visnovski found the back of the net just 0:20 seconds into the powerplay.

While the Blues have typically been a very physical opponent for the Ducks, there hadn't been too many opportunities for either team to throw down. The sixth goal for the Ducks triggered a violent reaction from the Blues, as Barret Jackman tossed his gloves and petitioned George Parros and His Mustache to a brawl. Jackman got one hit in that drove Parros to the ice, but Parros popped back up to retaliate and made Jackman regret his decision to throw down.

Both earned a couple of penalty minutes for the show, but just as play resumed, Ducks player Maxim LaPierre and Crombeen add to the yardsale and threw down the gloves to fight. After the fight was broken up, LaPierre pointed to the scoreboard as he's led away to the sin bin, with a grin from ear to ear.

Rarely seen in the NHL is a team fight, but the 12,499 fans saw all ten men on the ice get into fisticuffs, earning a slew of penalties. Luca Sbisba and Joffery Lupul each earned penalties, and two Blues players, Eric Brewer and Brad Winchester were also escorted to the penalty box at 15:16.

With each penalty box packed to capacity and the announcer out of breath from reading the long list of penalties, Brandon McMillan added to the excitement by scoring a goal just one minute after the last fight, causing the goal foghorn to interrupt the list of penalties and a loud cheer to erupt from the stands. St. Louis retaliated with a goal by Ryan Reaves at 16:20, leaving the score at 7-3.

One last fight between Matt Beleskey and Blues player Vladimir Sobotka gave both teams penalties, but St. Louis earned a powerplay goal from it by Brad Boyes, settling the final score at 7-4.

The game left the boys black and blue, but energized. This is the third straight win for the Ducks, extending their home statistics to 16-7-1. The six game homestand they just completed had a 5-1-0 record.

Until the third period of tonight's game, the PK unit has stopped 18 consecutive powerplays over a seven game span. Against teams like San Jose, that proved to be critical in earning the Ducks the win.

It was a great game, and the Ducks are looking ahead to Phoenix on Saturday. Let's Go Ducks!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ducks killed by Predators

The Ducks fell to the Nashville Predators tonight at the Honda Center, 4-1. A contested goal by Predator right winger Jerred Smithson in the first five minutes of the game gave them the momentum and a stellar performance by Predator netminder, Pekka Rinne kept them in front of the Ducks.

The first goal managed to slip under Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller at 5:10 in the first period. Smithson fired the puck at Hiller, who covered the puck. Intially ruled as no-goal, after a review by the referees, it was determined that the puck did cross the line, and a point was awarded to the Predators.

Another Nashville goal in the second period by Patric Hornqvist at 3:56 further dampened the spirit of the Ducks. It wasn't until the first and only Ducks goal just past the middle of the third stanza that the Ducks started showing signs of life. A pass from Dan Sexton to Saku Koivu in the slot finds the back of the net to put the Ducks on the scoreboard at 11:46.

A desperate Ducks coach Randy Carlyle pulled Hiller from the net in the last two minutes of the game, but the Ducks couldnt capitalize with the extra player. Nashville found the back of the empty net twice more before the buzzer could put the Ducks out of their misery.

Rinne had 40 saves to keep Nashville ahead of the struggling Ducks. Jonas Hiller saved 20 of the 22 shots Nashville took.

The Ducks next face Columbus at the Honda Center on Friday. Hopefully they come back with more energy to take down the Blue Jackets.

Let's go Ducks!