Ducks 4, St. Louis 3.

You can thank James Wisniewski and some baby powder for this one.

The Ducks defenseman had never been called upon in a shootout before the seventh round rolled around Saturday in St. Louis, and he needed some assistance.

“Right before the shootout, I told Sluggo (equipment manager Doug Shearer) baby powder because baby powder makes the gloves slide,” Wisniewski told reporters after the game.

“He looked at me like, ‘C’mon, let’s get real here.’ The fifth or sixth round comes and I’m like ‘Give me the baby power, you never know.’ He gave me the baby powder, I put it on, Randy said ‘Wiz, you’re up.’ I went in there and pulled one out of my treasure chest and it went in.”

Wisniewski’s forehand flurry beat Steve Mason to end the game and lift the Ducks to a comeback from a 3-0 third period deficit. The Ducks’ six wins when trailing after two periods ties the Minnesota Wild for the most in the NHL.

A goal by Scott Niedermayer, and a pair by Bobby Ryan — including the tying goal with 30 seconds left in regulation — paved the Ducks’ comeback after T.J. Oshie made it 3-0 at 3:35 of the third period.

Jonas Hiller needed only 18 saves for the victory, Anaheim’s eighth in their last 10 games. The Ducks (24-21-7) are three points back of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, though the five teams ahead of them in the standings have a game in hand.

San Jose 3, Ducks 1.

The Ducks played the San Jose Sharks as tough as anyone has recently — and still lost to kick off their six-game road trip at HP Pavilion. Matt Beleskey scored the Ducks’ lone goal, and Jonas Hiller stopped 22 of 24 in the loss.

With the game still scoreless entering the second period, a longMarc-Eduoard Vlasicslapshot created by a faceoff win, and a deflection in the slot by a fast-breaking Rob Blake, gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

Beleskey notched his fifth goal of the season at 1:15 of the third period to bring the Ducks within 2-1, taking a slick backhand pass from Kyle Chipchura and blasting a shot past Evgeni Nabokov in the slot. All of Beleskey’s goals have come in the month of January, and his five goals this month lead NHL rookies.

But the Ducks could not convert a pair of late power plays, including a tripping penalty that put Joe Thornton in the box for two minutes with 3:10 left in the game. Hiller was pulled for an extra attacker late in the 5-on-4, giving the Ducks six men on the ice for nearly 90 seconds to end the game.

Though they were able to create shots, none fooled Nabokov, and longtime Duck killer Patrick Marleau sealed the Sharks’ win by scoring into an empty net with 5.5 seconds left.

More details in tomorrow’s editions.

Pielmeier steals the goals, spotlight at ECHL All-Star Game.

Ducks prospect Timo Pielmeier was not the MVP of the ECHL All-Star Game on Wednesday.

But he could have been.

Playing the second period of the game for the National Conference, Pielmeier made 12 saves on 14 shots, and none were more spectacular than his heist of a shot by the Florida Everblades’ Justin Donati at the 16:19 mark.

One of many breakaways in the game left Pielmeier out of position toward the right side of the net, when Donati caught the puck on the left doorstep and shot. Pielmeier’s only recourse was to dive headlong to his right, extend his glove to his backhand side, and hope to snag the airborne shot before it crossed the goal line. Somehow, that’s exactly what happened. Donati was left staring in amazement, mouth agape, and all he could do was give Pielmeier a congratulatory tap with his stick.
Continue reading “Pielmeier steals the goals, spotlight at ECHL All-Star Game.” »

Ducks connections in ECHL All-Star Game tonight.

Ducks minor-leaguers Shawn Weller, Eric Regan and Timo Pielmeier will be suiting up for the National Conference, as will A.J. Perry, the younger brother of Ducks forward Corey Perry, in the ECHL All-Star Game tonight in Ontario.

Weller, Regan and Pielmeier all play for the Ducks’ ECHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. Perry plays for the Utah Grizzlies.

The Condors’ captain, Weller leads the team and ranks ninth in the ECHL with 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists). This is his first full season in the Ducks’ organization, and his first full professional season below the AHL, since being acquired in an off-season trade with the Ottawa Senators for prospect Jason Bailey. 

Weller was selected as a replacement for center MacGregor Sharp, who is currently playing for AHL San Antonio.

Regan is second among the Condors’ defensemen with nine goals and 19 points, and his five power-play goals rank second among ECHL blueliners. The 21-year-old spent last season, his first as a pro, with the Ducks’ former AHL affiliate, the Iowa Chops.

Pielmeier ranks 10th in the league with a 2.86 goals-against average and is tied for second with 16 wins. Acquired at last season’s trade deadline from San Jose in the deal that sent Kent Huskins and Travis Moen to the Sharks, Pielmeier is playing his first full professional season.

Perry, who went undrafted after a standout OHL career split between the London Knights and Belleville Bulls, split last season between San Antonio and the CHL’s Arizona Sundogs. He has 14 goals and 36 points in 33 games this season for the Grizzlies.

Also, in case you missed it, check out today’s story featuring Troy Bodie’s recollections of playing in the ECHL.

Bodie, Arty leave their marks.

Troy Bodie and Evgeny Artyukhin are a couple of 6-foot-4 heavyweights, standing on the far opposite end of the hockey spectrum of the slick-skating Finns Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.

But with Selanne and Koivu injured, Artyukhin and Bodie filled the void in the Ducks’ lineup on Sunday, scoring goals 32 seconds apart in the second period against the Calgary Flames.
Continue reading “Bodie, Arty leave their marks.” »

How Hiller got his groove back.

Jonas Hiller was pulled from a start Thursday and was left hanging by his defense on Sunday. Which certainly explains his reaction following the Ducks’ 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames: “We found a way to win. That’s what’s most important.”

The Ducks nearly found a way to choke away the victory by allowing three breakaway goals, as the Flames erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to take a 4-3 lead. Breakaway goals are usually no problem for Hiller, at least in the shootout, where he is 8-4 with a .755 save percentage lifetime. (The average save percentage since the shootout was instituted is .670.)

But, Hiller explained, it’s a little different stopping a breakaway attempt in the middle of a game.
Continue reading “How Hiller got his groove back.” »

Ducks 5, Calgary 4.

Undeterred by injuries and a 4-0 loss in their last outing, the Ducks treated 16,153 at Honda Center to two fights and three goals — and that was just in the first period.

After letting the Calgary Flames re-take the lead with three unanswered goals, Anaheim got the game-tying and game-winning goals from Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan, respectively, in the third period.

Dan Sexton, Evgeny Artyukhin and Troy Bodie also scored, and Jonas Hiller recovered from a tough start in a 33-save effort.

Bodie’s goal was the first of his NHL career, and Hiller also recorded the second assist of his NHL career on the goal by Artyukhin.

The Ducks are 6-1-0 in their past seven games and 8-3-1 in their past 12. Their seven-game home ice winning streak is the longest active home streak in the league, and three shy of the franchise record set in 2008.