James Wisniewski scored his second shootout game-winner this week, after scoring the Ducks’ lone goal in regulation, completing a hard-fought victory at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Wisniewski had never taken part in an NHL shootout before last Saturday, when he scored the clinching goal in sudden death in St. Louis.
On Friday after Corey Perry missed, and Ryan Getzlaf scored, head coach Randy Carlyle turned to the defenseman in the third shootout round — and Wisniewski did not disappoint.
“The guy scored in the last one for us, so if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” Carlyle said. “He did it again, so we might have to stick with him.”
Jonas Hiller allowed a goal to Steven Stamkos in the shootout, and to Martin St. Louis in the first period, but was otherwise perfect for the Ducks. He f
With the score tied at 1, much of the third period resembled a playoff-type atmosphere — no surprise considering both the Ducks (25-23-7) and Lightning (22-20-11) were on the heels of a spot in the top eight of their respective conference standings.
“Both teams are in the same situation here, and both needed two points,” Niittymaki said. “It was a pretty physical game and a fast-paced game.”
Added Wisniewski, “We showed a lot of heart and we played physical. It was like a playoff game. Both teams wanted it and it had everything – a couple of goals, a couple of fights and then it went into a shootout. For us to come into this game and throw everything on the line showed a lot of character about our team.”
The highlight was a donnybrook at the 18:28 mark, sparked when Dan Sexton had a hard time disentangling himself from Lightning agitator Steve Downie. By the time it was over, Downie had lost his shirt and gained 20 minutes’ worth of penalties, while off-setting roughing penalties to Ryan Whitney and Victor Hedman left the two teams skating 4-on-4 — then 3-on-3 to begin overtime.
“You take the point on the road, you take wins on the road,” Carlyle said. “We don’t categorize ‘you have to do this and you have to do that.’ It’s about winning. You do what you need to do to get the job done. This was the grind game we have to play on the road. That’s what we had to do tonight. They [Tampa Bay] are a good team at home and they’ve had their way in this building. We knew that.”
The shootout loss actually moved Tampa Bay into a five-way tie for eighth out East, while the now Ducks sit four points back of Detroit in the West.