Saku Koivu’s overtime goal completed a comeback from a 4-2 deficit against the Islanders.
Koivu stole the puck in the neutral zone, beat a pair of defensemen and finished the rush with a goal on Martin Biron — his second game-winning goal in as many games.
The victory was the Ducks’ third straight. Lubomir Visnovsky scored two more goals, including the game-tying goal with 32 seconds left in regulation and the Ducks skating 6-on-5.
“Luckily enough, our
power play delivered a big goal for us and we got another one late with
goaltender out,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “Then 13 seconds into overtime, Saku scores a big-time
we are feeling pretty good about ourselves. For the first 40-plus
of the game, we weren’t feeling that good about what was going on out
Curtis McElhinney relieved Jonas Hiller at 2:42 of the second period
after Kyle Okposo’s second goal of the game gave New York a 3-2 lead.
McElhinney proceeded to stop 13 of 14 shots over the final two periods
to earn his first win as a Duck.
First-period goals by Visnovsky
and Matt Beleskey gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead before the Islanders scored
three unanswered goals. Jason Blake deflected a Sheldon Brookbank
slapshot with the Ducks on the power play at 9:53 of the third period to
make it 4-3.
“It was difficult when we were down four-two and
those ugly goals were not good for the team,” Visnovsky said. “Any time
we tried something,
the puck bounced off our stick. But the team showed character.”
Ducks’ playoff picture is still bleak, but after losing five straight
to begin the post-Olympic schedule, it’s a minor miracle they haven’t
been eliminated yet. Detroit and Calgary both have 81 points in a dead
heat for the eighth and final playoff position. Anaheim is seven points
back with 12 games to play.
Teemu Selanne remained stuck on 599
career goals, but his two assists moved him into sole possession of 57th
place on the all-time list (647). He’s three shy of tying Brett Hull
(650) for 56th all-time.
As for Koivu, after the win he confirmed the thoughts of everyone who watched the Ducks limp out of the Olympic break.
“We had a lot guys competing until the end at the
Olympics and it felt that we were a little bit empty,” Koivu said. “It kind of feels
like we are getting the momentum back and are kind of re-energized. We
playing the way we can and the way we were before the break.”