The Ducks can take solace in the fact that, for the second straight game, it was easier to pare down their problems to a mere handful.
Problem number one Friday was a forward for the Atlanta Thrashers named Anthony Stewart, who nearly doubled his career goal total with a hat trick in the Thrashers’ shootout win. Stewart, who entered the game with four goals in his first 108 NHL games, scored on a breakaway 17 seconds into the opening period, then added two power-play goals in the third period to bring Atlanta back from a 4-2 deficit.
In the shootout, Nigel Dawes scored on Jonas Hiller in the fourth round, the only shootout goal for either team.
“We’re upset with losing the point tonight,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is probably as emotional as I have been in losing a shootout because there were mental mistakes that we made that cost us the point, not their effort. They worked and tried. Some nights shootouts go for you, some nights they don’t.”
Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Toni Lydman – playing his first game of the season – scored for the Ducks. Hiller had 29 saves, and Selanne and Perry each had a pair of assists.
Atlanta went 3-for-4 on the power play, including goals by Stewart on the Thrashers’ final two man-advantage chances in the third period.
“It is tough when all night long we were pretty disciplined
and doing a good job staying out of the box,” Getzlaf said. “It’s been a big point of
ours to do that. There are going to be penalties throughout a game. We have to
pick each other up. We weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Only Lydman scored for the Ducks at even strength, jumping up on the rush and following a Teemu Selanne shot to the net, then putting back the rebound to give the Ducks a temporary 2-1 lead in the second period.
The Ducks took a 4-2 lead when Getzlaf was left alone in front of the net — never a good idea — at 6:35 of the third period. But Stewart set up shop in front of the net for a pair of late power-play goals at 10:35 and 14:38 of the third period. The latter came when Stewart, standing behind Hiller, deflected the rebound of a Dustin Byfuglien shot downward. Replays showed that the puck hit his stick below the crossbar and the game-tying goal stood.
Both teams had their chances in overtime, when the Ducks put one shot on Chris Mason and the Thrashers put four on Hiller. Geztlaf, Perry, Selanne and Saku Koivu failed on their shootout attempts. Evander Kane, Rich Peverley and Bryan Little missed for Atlanta before Dawes’ wrister beat Hiller to end the game.
“It was just not smart enough how we played,” Hiller said. “We talked about
playing smart, to keep pushing and not taking dumb penalties. It can’t
In addition to his goal, Lydman finished plus-1 in 21:30 time on ice. Only Lubomir Visnovsky and Cam Fowler played more. He also led the Ducks in blocked shots (3) and tied for the team high in hits (4).
The Ducks held the Thrashers to 33 shots on goal, the fewest shots they’ve allowed in a game, and outshot an opponent (41-33) for the first time.
Luca Sbisa, Aaron Voros and Ryan Carter were healthy scratches for Anaheim.