The Ducks squandered a two-goal lead, didn’t score or allow a goal in overtime, then rolled the dice in the shootout. Sound familiar?
Friday’s 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames followed the same script as Anaheim’s last two outings, a win in Edmonton and a loss in Vancouver.
Lubomir Visnovsky and Dan Sexton scored in the first and second periods, respectively, to stake the Ducks to a 2-0 lead. After goals by Olli Jokinen and David Moss knotted the game at 2 in the third period, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry scored in the shootout to seal the win. Hiller preserved the victory with a glove save on Rene Bourque on the other end after Perry’s goal in the third shootout round.
The Ducks have gained points in their last three games, and in six of their last eight. But about squandering those two-goal leads …
“The problem is we start thinking too much about it,
instead of just playing,” Hiller said. “We’re thinking about what could happen. It’s a
mental game. We have to do better and we’re going to work on it.”
Apparently Friday, when Columbus goaltender Steve Mason stymied the Ducks’ offensive onslaught in a 4-3 Blue Jackets win — a game that featured more near-misses than a pistol in the hand of a James Bond villain.
The Ducks saved their best for a third period in which they outshot Columbus 25-3 — reminiscent of Wednesday’s 2-1 loss in Minnesota that saw the Ducks outshoot the Wild 16-2 in the third. Like Niklas Backstrom, Mason was living large in the final period, allowing only a Corey Perry goal at 7:22 to bring the Ducks within 4-3.
Bobby Ryan — on his first career short-handed goal — and Saku Koivu also scored for the Ducks, who have now lost four straight on the heels of a six-game winning streak. Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots, allowing goals to Rick Nash, Chris Clark, Jakub Voracek and Steve Commodore.
More details in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few more notes:
Corey Perry’s breakaway goal with 5:37 left in the game lifted the Ducks to their second win in three games to finish their season-opening homestand.
Cam Fowler scored his first NHL goal but left the game minutes later with a bloodied nose and did not return. Toni Lydman also scored for the Ducks, who got 36 saves from Jonas Hiller.
Scottie Upshall and Eric Belanger brought Phoenix back from down 2-0 with their goals in the third period.
8:56 p.m. update: Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said that keeping Fowler out of the game was “more precautionary than anything at this point.” He did not know whether or not Fowler had broken his nose.
Carlyle (just like anyone who hadn’t seen a video replay of Doan’s hit on Fowler) didn’t offer an opinion on the hit. Fowler was not available after the game.
Here was Doan’s take: “I hit (Fowler) and he fell,” Doan said. “Then he was so low, he hit my hip I think. I’m not sure. Something like that. I knew he went into the boards awkward because he’d hit my hip low. He was kind of going down, trying to drive around, I think. … You never want to see anyone get hurt.”
Defenseman Andreas Lilja has received his visa and was added to the Ducks’ active roster Saturday. To make room for the 35-year-old veteran, who signed last weekend but had his visa renewal delayed, the Ducks assigned defenseman Luca Sbisa to AHL affiliate Syracuse.
The 20-year-old Sbisa was a healthy scratch in three of the Ducks’ five games this season and averaged only 12:22 in the two games he played. After spending all but the first eight games of last season in the Western Hockey League, a well-built Sbisa arrived at training camp hoping to play an entire season in Anaheim. That dream will have to wait another season.
Ducks defenseman Andy Sutton had surgery to repair a fractured right thumb this morning. The surgery was performed at the Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles by hand specialist Dr. Steve Shin. Sutton is expected to return to action in approximately 6-8 weeks, which projects to the last week of November or the first week of December.
The 6-foot-6 veteran was slotted as a shutdown defenseman before he broke the thumb in a fight [video below] with former Duck Ruslan Salei on opening night in Detroit. Another 35-year-old defenseman, Andreas Lilja, signed with the Ducks this weekend and is the logical choice to eat Sutton’s minutes.
A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.
A report on the Swedish website HockeyExpressen.se indicates that the 35-year-old Lilja will sign with the Ducks. Anaheim lost veteran defenseman Andy Sutton to injury in Friday’s regular-season opener in Detroit, a 4-0 loss. Brett Festerling was summoned from the AHL prior to Saturday’s game in Nashville, a 4-1 loss.
Sutton’s thumb fracture left the Ducks without two of their key blue line additions; Toni Lydman is still out following an acute episode double vision. Lilja, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract since he was cut in training camp by the San Jose Sharks – after he flew with the team to Europe.
Lilja is a defensive-minded defenseman who has played the last five seasons with the Red Wings. In 478 career games, he has 15 goals, 74 points and 501 penalty minutes.
The website mlive.com reported that Lilja’s visa was set to expire today. 3:20 p.m. update: Lilja will sign a one-year contract with the Ducks, but agent Todd Diamond relays that the defenseman might not be able to suit up tomorrow in St. Louis. Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, which will delay Lilja’s ability to renew the P-1 (work) visa.
As a side note, Diamond said that Lilja was never offered – nor did he reject – a contract from the Red Wings, contrary to the mlive.com report.