After a back-and-forth game that saw the Ducks squander four 1-goal leads, Bobby Ryan hit Paul Mara streaking backdoor with 1.7 seconds left in the third period to secure a wild victory before 13,520 at Honda Center.
It was a fitting ending to a game that saw almost everyone get involved in the scoring, on a night when the Ducks needed all the help they could get. Mara was a most surprising source for the game-winner. He had not scored a goal since a playoff game on April 22, 2009 (a 59-game drought) and had not scored in the regular season since Feb. 11, 2009 (a 78-game drought).
“It used to be my game, but not any more,” Mara said. “I just go out there, try to play strong defense, make the correct plays, and every once in a while try to chip in with offense.”
“Give credit to my trainer there, Sluggo. He put a new pair of gloves in my stall and made me use them.”
Saku Koivu scored two goals, giving him 700 points in his career, and Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky scored once.
More in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few notes that didn’t make the paper:
Ryan Getzlaf didn’t have a goal or an assist for the first time since Oct. 29, breaking a streak of three games with a goal. The line of he, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry had a fairly pedestrian game by their standards, with just three assists. Predators head coach Barry Trotz tried to match his line of Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist, and defensemen Shea Weber and Francois Bouillon, against Getzlaf’s line as much as possible. The result, Ryan said, was that his trio spent more time than usual hung up in the neutral zone.
The “Masterton Line” of Jason Blake, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne was reunited and “for parts of the game, they were our best line,” Randy Carlyle said. “We’d love for those guys to put the pressure on Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to compete for ice time.” The trio combined for three goals and three assists.
Hiller didn’t get a lot of help on the goals he allowed, but still improved to 5-2-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in his last seven games.
The 24 shots the Ducks allowed were two often their season-low; their 37 shots on goal were four off their season-high.
Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri played 6:50 and 6:49, respectively, on a total of 11 shifts together. Along with Todd Marchant at left wing, this was essentially the Ducks’ fourth line tonight; Josh Green, Ryan Carter and George Parros each played at least 10 minutes and getting the puck in the zone for Visnovsky’s third-period goal.
The Bonino-Palmieri line is going to be interesting to watch going forward as injured forwards Dan Sexton (nose), Kyle Chipchura (concussion), Matt Beleskey (concussion) and eventually Joffrey Lupul (back) work their way back into the lineup. “We have some skill on our third line with Bonino and Palmieri, and we’d like them to continue to grow,” Carlyle said.