Bobby Ryan’s overtime penalty-shot goal — the first OT goal and penalty-shot attempt of his NHL career — lifted the Ducks to a much-needed win. It also lifted the crowd of 15,098 at Honda Center, which might not see another game this good until the playoffs.
Other than Ryan’s goal, defense and goaltending were the story Wednesday. Dan Ellis (28 saves) and Jimmy Howard (26) put on quite a show.
So did the Anaheim penalty-killers, who allowed one goal (and just five shots on net) in nine power-play shifts for the Wings. That included a 1:33 stretch of 5-on-3 play in the first period, and a 1:47 stretch of 4-on-3 play to begin overtime.
Todd Marchant (17:48, 16-10 on faceoffs, three hits) did the yeoman’s work. His ice time probably was going to increase after Saku Koivu (groin) ruled himself out of a fourth straight game. Then the Ducks kept taking penalties, his teammates started struggling in the faceoff circle, and all of a sudden the savvy veteran had to pull more than his own weight in a playoff-type atmosphere.
Jason Blake also scored for the Ducks, on a rising 37-foot slapshot early in the third period that Howard probably didn’t see. Ryan’s goal was his 30th, giving him 30 goals in each of his first three NHL seasons. The Ducks couldn’t have picked anyone better to take the penalty shot, as Ryan went to his trusty forehand to beat Howard glove-side.
“Bobby Ryan is a great player and has a great set of hands on him,” Howard said. “It was a good deke. He capitalized on it.”
More notes in tomorrow’s editions. A few notes that won’t make the paper:
The only downside to Ellis’ performance was that he let in another bad goal. It wasn’t reasonable to ask him to be completely square to Datsyuk, who was well behind the goal line and to Ellis’ right when he shot the puck. But by standing slightly upright with his legs spread, he gave Datsyuk a nice target in the form of his left leg; the puck took a lucky bounce backward and into the net. But now that he’s won two straight, Ellis’ stats look that much more impressive: Over his last seven appearances (including four with the Tampa Bay Lightning), Ellis has gone 4-0-2 with a 1.83 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.
As the Globe and Mail astutely pointed out, the Ducks will need him to keep it up.
No career milestones for Selanne with the primary assist on Blake’s goal, though he did move into a tie for 18th in the league in points (58).
Visnovsky got the second assist, the 300th of his NHL career.
Brad Winchester, Kyle Chipchura and Sheldon Brookbank formed the Ducks’ fourth line, with George Parros a healthy scratch along with Andy Sutton. Just as Randy Carlyle suggested he might, Winchester moved up to left wing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at one point. He logged 9:05 in his Ducks debut, seeing some power-play time (1:25) as well as recording five hits.
The Ducks out-hit the Red Wings 37-17 — not a surprise, given their predictable contrast in styles. Ryan Getzlaf at one point had seven hits to the Red Wings’ four, though the official scorekeeper must have taken one away, since the final sheet shows Getzlaf leading the Ducks with six hits.
Jason Blake’s best skill right now is his ability to draw penalties while cycling the puck low. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a stat for that, but there should be. He drew another tonight.
One impressive stat, which color commentator Brian Hayward relayed from a CBC radio broadcast: The Red Wings are the first team since 1958-59 to have gone the entire season without making a trade.
If you missed it earlier today, check out this emerging story out of Syracuse, courtesy of the Syracuse Post-Dispatch. Apparently the owner of the AHL Crunch isn’t too pleased with news that Jason Jaffray and Joel Perrault will be going to Manitoba.