After Lubomir Visnovsky had completed his second career hat trick last Friday, a reporter asked Randy Carlyle about getting that kind of contribution from a player who wasn’t one of the team’s “big guys.”
Maybe a game like Wednesday’s will dispel any doubts about Visnovsky’s stature.
Visnovsky is now tied for the NHL lead in points by a defenseman (54) after his three-point game against the Rangers. Visnovsky and Corey Perry both had two goals and an assist, and Bobby Ryan scored a goal and collected three assists what became a one-sided contest.
“We all have become accustomed to his level of skill when he does shoot the puck,” Carlyle said of Visnovsky. “He shoots it extremely accurately and hard. He gets to play
with a pretty dependable partner in Toni Lydman, who doesn’t really join the rush. That gives him freedom.”
Dan Ellis allowed a 1-on-1 goal to Brandon Dubinsky on the Rangers’ first shot of the game, but regrouped in time to stop 30 of 32. Lydman, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu – seeing his first action after missing the last six games with a groin injury – all had an assist.
As Bobby Ryan said, in what may only have been a slight overstatement – to take nothing away from Ray Emery’s door-opening skills – “Twenty guys contributed tonight.”
Notes and observations:
Lydman’s plus-4 rating for the game put him back in the league lead at plus-29 for the season.
The Ducks outshot an opponent for the third straight game and the eighth time in their last nine games.
Visnovsky is the first defenseman in club history to record five goals over a three-game span. Two previous defensemen had scored four over three games — Bill Houlder (four goals from Jan. 6-10, 1994) and Fredrik Olausson (four goals from Feb. 5-10, 1999).
Given the way that Norris Trophy voting usually goes, Visnovsky will get some votes. He won’t win — Nicklas Lidstrom has been in peak form all season and the last six times that was the case, he won it — but that shouldn’t take away from the bigger accomplishment herre. The fact that Lydman leads the league in plus/minus, and that Visnovsky is the co-leader in scoring among defensemen, indicates that the two have become an elite No. 1 pairing.
Perry set a new career high for goals in a single season (33), while Ryan’s 31 goals are four shy of his career high.
Speaking of Ryan’s goal, as much as I love the written word, some sequences are better left for the visual media: