The blogs are back up and running, a great way to ring in 2011, and I’ll take advantage of this space to give you the full version of yesterday’s game story. Only a partial version made it online:
The Ducks will begin the new year the same way they ended the last – without their captain and star center, Ryan Getzlaf.
Turns out that’s not the end of the world.
The Ducks took advantage of a tired Philadelphia Flyers squad for a 5-2 win Friday before an announced crowd of 17,103 at Honda Center. Jason Blake and Lubomir Visnovsky scored two goals apiece and Bobby Ryan added another, each of them ending a notable scoring drought.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Blake said of Getzlaf. “He’s our captain, he’s our leader, not only on the ice but in the locker room. So I mean, you can’t replace a guy like that. Guys obviously have to give a little bit more … it was a good team effort.”
Getzlaf had a second CT scan performed before the game and visited
with a maxillofacial surgeon. The CT scan showed that the nasal sinus
fractures he sustained in Tuesday’s win against the Phoenix Coyotes are
non-displaced and stable. However, more evaluation of the bone breaks
are needed over the next several days before a definitive expected
absence can be determined.
For now, Getzlaf is out indefinitely. Coincidentally, the Ducks made a
small trade, swinging minor-league defenseman Brett Festerling and a
fifth-round 2012 draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens for agitating
forward Maxim Lapierre.
Lapierre had a team-high 104 hits and 63 penalty minutes for Montreal
to go along with five goals and three assists in 38 games. The
25-year-old former second-round draft pick is expected to arrive in
Anaheim today and could play as early as Sunday against the Chicago
If the Ducks weren’t already motivated by Getzlaf’s absence, the
acquisition of Lapierre should have left them fighting to hold on to
“You’ve seen it a number of times that a trade or something unusual
happens, it creates energy, creates something around the team,” center
Saku Koivu said. “I’m sure that it kind of woke guys up by hearing the
trade that had happened, and Getzy being out of the lineup.”
The two goals by Blake, and another by Visnovsky, staked the Ducks to
a 3-0 lead midway through the second period. Blake ended a drought of
one goal in his last 14 games with his first two-goal effort since he
Dec. 2009. Visnovsky had only one goal in his last eight games and two
in his last 23.
Not long after Blake’s second goal, at 5:58 of the middle period,
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette called timeout. Fourteen seconds later,
Andreas Nodl broke Jonas Hiller’s shutout on a one-timer from an open
area in the slot.
Philadelphia narrowed the deficit to 3-2 at the 3:30 mark of the
third period when Jeff Carter intercepted a Corey Perry pass and quickly
fired the puck past Hiller (35 saves).
That was as close as the Flyers would get.
Ryan scored his first goal since Dec. 12 when the puck took a
fortunate bounce onto his stick in the right faceoff circle at 5:40 of
the third period. With 3:10 left on the clock, Visnovsky completed the
scoring with his 100th career goal.
The Flyers (23-10-5) had beaten the Kings 7-4 a night earlier in Los
Angeles. The Ducks (20-17-4) won their second straight after playing
most of Tuesday’s 3-1 win in Glendale without Getzlaf after the center
was struck between the eyebrows by a close-range shot.
The Ducks have had to survive without their second-leading scorer
before, most recently the final nine games of last season after Getzlaf
injured his ankle.
“I think it helps some of your younger players, knowing that they can
win without Getzy,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said. “He’s a big
part of our hockey club. We know that. He’s done a lot in a very short
period of time in the NHL.”
Lapierre won’t be asked to replace Getzlaf. Ducks general manager Bob
Murray expects him to fill a third- or fourth-line role in Anaheim, and
Carlyle was pleased with Ryan’s performance as the top-line center
between Matt Beleskey and Corey Perry.
But Lapierre – who can play both center and right wing – does expect
to give more offense than he’s shown since the Canadiens replaced former
head coach Guy Carbonneau with Jacques Martin. He posted a career-high
15 goals in 2008-09, but has only 12 goals in the 114 games since.
“I’ve always been an offensive player in junior,” Lapierre said in a
telephone interview. “I guess I’m a 2-way player that was looking for a
chance to prove himself. When Guy Carbonneau was the coach, I was
playing way more.”