Ducks 2, Detroit 1, OT.

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:
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Detroit 4, Ducks 0.

The Ducks’ 41 shots amounted to a whole hill of beans against Jimmy Howard.

Howard’s fifth career shutout, two of which have come against Anaheim, allowed the Red Wings to stay perfect in three games against the Ducks this season. The Wings won’t be back until March 2, by which time Teemu Selanne should have recovered from the groin injury that kept him out of Friday’s game.

In spite of their chances, the Ducks had no answer for goals by Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom, Danny Cleary and Valtteri Filppula.

A split crowd of 15,173 at Honda Center had little to cheer for in a game that saw the Ducks commit 16 giveaways, and fail to screen Howard nearly as much as the Wings screened Hiller.

“We have to eliminate those mistakes we made in our own zone, especially just giving the puck away way too often,” said Hiller, who stopped 25 shots. “They were able to keep us on the outside all night long, and we weren’t really able to get second opportunities.”

More details in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few notes that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:

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Dan Sexton injury update.

Ducks right wing Dan Sexton
will have surgery Thursday to repair his broken nose. He is expected to
be out of the lineup for two weeks.

Head coach Randy Carlyle said Tuesday that “His nose is pretty mushed up. It’s not just a simple break. There are multiple fractures of the nose.”

Sexton broke his nose in Saturday’s 5-4
loss to the Detroit Red Wings, when he was struck in the face by a shot off the stick of forrmer Duck Ruslan
Salei in the first period. Sexton didn’t return to the game.

Detroit 5, Ducks 4.

Try as they might – and they tried mightily on Saturday – the Ducks simply can’t win a game at Joe Louis Arena.

Leading 4-3 after two periods, Anaheim let one get away when Pavel Datsyuk scored the game-winning goal with 11.4 seconds left in the game. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Carter, Danny Syvret, Teemu Selanne scored goals and Curtis McElhinney made 36 saves in a losing effort.
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Detroit 4, Ducks 0.

The Ducks went to Detroit and lost. Nothing new under the sun on opening night of a new season; the Wings are now 27-3-3-0 all-time at home against the Ducks.

Second-year goalie Jimmy Howard continued the tradition with a 21-save shutout, helped immensely by his team’s six power-play opportunities to the Ducks’ one. The disparity in penalties (the Ducks took 12 to the Wings’ 6) was a big factor in Detroit’s 43-21 lead in shots on goal.

Yet neither Johan Franzen, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk or Dan Cleary scored on the power play against Jonas Hiller (39 saves). Detroit did all its damage at even strength, and all within the game’s first 37 minutes.

In an otherwise forgettable debut, the Ducks can take pride in their perfect penalty kill as well as a solid regular-season debut by Cam Fowler, who blocked five shots in 20:48 and looked poised with the puck.

Luca Sbisa was a healthy scratch, but he might be needed tomorrow in Nashville; defenseman Andy Sutton did not play in the third period.

Calgary 3, Ducks 1.

The Flames won the faceoffs, the open-ice battles and, inevitably, the game.

Scott Niedermayer scored the Ducks’ only goal, and Jonas Hiller’s black-and-white helmet debuted with a 25-save effort.

The standings picture grew bleaker for the Ducks, who remained nine points behind the idle Detroit Red Wings for eighth place in the Western Conference. The Dallas Stars won, dropping Anaheim into 12th place in the standings.

With the game tied at 1 and 1:35 left in the third period. Calgary took advantage of an ill-advised play by Corey Perry. Looking for a shot, Perry skated the puck around behind the net, then all the way out to the blue line before Jarome Iginla poke-checked the puck off his stick. Rene Bourque picked it up and skated in uncontested for the go-ahead goal.

The Flames made it 3-1 at 3:05 of the third period when Niklas Hagman beat the Ducks’ defense through center ice, then scored off a perfect diagonal pass in the slot from Iginla.

Calgary won 26 of 43 faceoffs, a 60 percent success rate. They also got lucky when Bobby Ryan chose to pass instead of shoot into a wide-open net with about 12 minutes left in the third period, a sequence that could have brought the Ducks within 3-2.

The Ducks fell to 11-19-5 on the road this season.

Hiller beginning to take ownership?

Jonas Hiller signed a four-year, $18 million contract extension on Saturday, smack-dab in the middle of a shutout streak that ended Wednesday night at 1:55:03. That’s the longest of his brief NHL career, and about two periods shy of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s team record (2:37:07).

Is Hiller’s recent success directly tied to his new contract, and the expectations that come with it? Is it a result of being named the team’s undisputed, number-one goalie? Or is the team just playing better in front of him?

Maybe it’s all of the above.
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Ducks 3, Detroit 1.

The Ducks gained a critical two points in the standings against a tired Red Wings squad before 15,180 at Honda Center. Their 61 points in the standings matches 10th-place Dallas, and trails the three eighth-place teams (Detroit, Nashville and Calgary) by three.


Ryan Whitney, Kyle Chipchura and Bobby Ryan scored for Anaheim and Jonas Hiller made some spectacular saves among his 46.

Whitney deflected a point shot off a skate to score the game’s first goal, and Steve Eminger shot the puck off Chipchura’s hand to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead after one period.

Bobby Ryan scored cleanly to make it 3-0 before Pavel Datsyuk capped the scoring with a breakaway power-play goal late in the second period.

Anaheim improved to 11-4-0 in its last 15 games, and its nine-game winning streak at home is one shy of tying a team record (Feb-March 2008).

More to follow …