What appeared to be cakewalk for the Ducks over the floundering Edmonton Oilers turned into a mess in a hurry Sunday at Honda Center.
Somehow, a pair of goals by Teemu Selanne – the first going for his 1,300th career point – and another by Luca Sbisa held up, with Curtis McElhinney and the Ducks’ shot-blockers doing the dirty work late.
“We were forced to probably perform some extra work that really wouldn’t
have been necessary,” Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said, “but we found a way to win the hockey game.”
Goals by Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner 26 seconds apart late in the second period slashed the Ducks’ 3-0 lead to 3-2. Anaheim was outshot 12-7 in the final period, and survived the final 3:12 short-handed. The Ducks also blocked 22 shots, led by Andreas’ Lilja’s five.
McElhinney was briefly relieved by Jonas Hiller in the second period after suffering a cut to his neck that required stitches. More on that, and the rest of the game, in tomorrow’s editions. here are a few notes that won’t make the paper:
The Ducks’ special teams are clicking: They’re 29-for-30 on the penalty kill (96.7 percent) dating back to the third period on Dec. 28 at Phoenix, a span of nine games. On the power play, Anaheim has a 50 percent success rate (9-for-18) over its last five games. The club has gone 24-for-91 (26.4%) on the power play at home this season, ranking second in the NHL.
Edmonton, conversely, has been miserable on the power play without former Duck Ryan Whitney in the lineup. In the nine games since Whitney’s potentially season-ending ankle injury on Dec. 28, the Oil doesn’t have a single power play goal. The team’s co-leader in power play goals, Shawn Horcoff, hasn’t played a game since Dec. 7. That helps explain why the Ducks survived the game’s final 3:12 playing short-handed.
Lubomir Visnovsky has points in five straight games (goal, eight assists) and 11 points in his last eight games. The defenseman is on pace for a 67-point season, which would match his career high set in 2005-06 with LA (17-50=67).
Toni Lydman tacked on a plus-1 to his photogenic plus-25 rating, which ranks second in the NHL to Flyers defenseman Andrej Mezsaros.