Perry’s Hart Trophy highlights Ducks’ haul on awards night.

Corey Perry gave the Ducks the franchise’s first Hart Trophy on Wednesday, edging out Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin for the NHL’s most valuable player award.

Perry’s 50-goal season earned him 67 first-place votes, 47 second-place votes and 1,043 points. Sedin collected 960 points — 51 first-place votes and 56 second-place votes; only eight other first-place votes were cast. Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay finished a distant third.

Perry’s credentials gained steam late in the season. The right wing tied for the league lead in game-winning goals (11) and ranked third in points (98); his 21 third-period goals also led the league.

Perry also received the Rocket Richard Trophy for leading the league in goal scoring.

Two other Ducks received Hart votes – Ryan Getzlaf tied Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang for 20th, and Lubomir Visnovsky tied Chris Pronger for 23rd.

Visnovsky was rewarded for his career year with a fourth-place finish in the race for the Norris Trophy. Visnovsky received 20 first-place votes; fifth-place finisher Keith Yandle of Phoenix received five first-place votes. Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom won the award for the seventh time. Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman received a single fourth-place vote to finish 13th in the Norris voting.

Defenseman Cam Fowler finished eighth in the Calder Trophy voting for the league’s top rookie. Fowler received seven fourth-place votes and six fifth-place votes. He can take solace in finishing ahead of ninth-place Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, the first overall pick at the 2010 entry draft.

Ducks GM Bob Murray finished fourth in the General Manager of the Year award race, behind winner Mike Gillis, Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman and Nashville’s David Poile. Murray collected four first-place votes, three second-place votes and six third-place votes.

Ray Emery finished second in voting for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which went to Philadelphia Flyers forward Ian Laperriere. The award, created by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, is given to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

Teemu Selanne collected nine first-place votes but finished sixth in the voting for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded for “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.” Visnovsky finished 13th.

Randy Carlyle collected one second-place vote and two third-place votes to finish tied for 11th (with Peter Laviolette of Philadelphia) in the Jack Adams Award voting.

Among Wednesday’s other winners, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler won the Selke Trophy; former Mighty Ducks forward Dan Bylsma won the Adams; Canucks goalies Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider shared the Ken Jennings Award for allowing the fewest goals in the regular season; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara won the Mark Messier Leadership Award; Kings forward Dustin Brown won the NHL Foundation Award.

Ducks at the World Championships, Day 9.

Cam Fowler and Team USA breathed more life into their quarterfinal aspirations Saturday in Slovakia, while Lubomir Visnovsky and the tournament hosts met a disappointing fate.

Fowler finished plus-1 in 18:03 in a 3-2 win for the U.S. against France. Cristobal Huet (35 saves) made things tough, but the U.S. climbed out of an early 1-0 deficit on unanswered goals by Derek Stepan, Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider. The U.S. can clinch its first quarterfinal-round berth for the first time since 2009 on Monday if it beats Switzerland or loses in overtime or a shootout, or if the Swiss lose to the Swedes on Sunday.

There will be no quarterfinal round for Slovakia.

Tuomo Ruutu scored twice in the third period to lift Finland to a 2-1 win over the hosts. Visnovsky played a team-high 23:55 — a good sign considering the shoulder injuries he dealt with late in the NHL season — but was held scoreless. Slovakia concludes tournament play Monday against Denmark.

According to <a href=”IIHF.comhttp://www.iihf.com/channels-11/iihf-world-championship-wc11/news/news-singleview-2011/article/ruutu-ends-slovakias-dream.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=4926&cHash=eb98f528ce”>IIHF.com</a>, no host country has won the gold medal at the IIHF World Championship since the Soviet Union in 1986.

Ducks at the World Championships, Day 8. Update.

Historically, shootouts have been a more popular means for deciding hockey games in Europe than North America. When in Slovakia …

Canada beat the United States, 4-3, in qualification-round play in Kosice, getting shootout goals from Rick Nash and Jordan Eberle to seal the win. Ty Conklin made 48 saves between regulation and overtime, but couldn’t stop either shootout attempt he faced. Jack Johnson and Blake Wheeler missed on both U.S. shots.

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was a minus-1 in 19 minutes, 10 seconds on ice, including almost half (2:16) of the overtime period.

Just as they would in an NHL game, the U.S. gets a point for the shootout loss. They moved into sole possession of fourth place in Group F, from which four teams will advance into the next round. Canada leads the group with seven points.

Later Friday, Lubomir Visnovsky Team Slovakia lost 3-2 to the rival Czechs, crushing their chances of advancing out of the Qualification Round. Now, according to <a href=”IIHF.comhttp://www.iihf.com/channels-11/iihf-world-championship-wc11/news/news-singleview-2011/article/czechs-still-perfect.html?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=4926&cHash=5a1beca07c”>IIHF.com</a>, Slovakia needs to win its games against Finland and Denmark, and Finland shouldn’t take points in its last game against Russia.

Visnovsky assisted on Ladislav Nagy’s second-period goal that got the Slovaks on the board, but was also on the ice for Patrik Elias’ game-winning goal in the third period, finishing with an even-0 rating. 

The game was played in Bratislava, less than two hours from Visnovsky’s hometown of Topolcany.

Ducks at the World Championships, Day 5.

One blocked shot wasn’t enough for Luca Sbisa and the Swiss national team on Tuesday.

Playing the Canadians in Kosice, Slovakia, Sbisa was on the ice for Alex Pietrangelo’s overtime goal in a 4-3 loss. The Ducks defenseman was doing more than taking up space. From IIHF.com:

Pietrangelo picked up his own rebound after Swiss defenceman Luca Sbisa had blocked his initial shot. The puck came right back to Pietrangelo, who buried it behind Swiss goalie Leonardo Genoni.

Sbisa also had one assist in 21:13 time on ice.

Group play is over for Switzerland. Tomorrow the Swiss will learn the opponent for their next game, which will be played Thursday.

Lubomir Visnovsky made his debut at the tournament for Slovakia, playing a team-high 22:29 and recording an assist in a 4-3 loss to Russia.

Visnovsky had been battling injuries to both shoulders, forcing him to miss the first two games of the tournament on his home soil.

Slovakia also finds out tomorrow who awaits them in their next game Thursday.

Ducks 6, San Jose 2.

The only thing clinched at Honda Center on Wednesday was Corey Perry’s Hart Trophy bid. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

The Ducks’ surprisingly lopsided win over the Sharks did not ensure a playoff berth but was still badly needed. The Chicago Blackhawks temporarily moved into seventh place in the Western Conference standings with an overtime win against St. Louis. Calgary briefly matched the Ducks at 93 points in the standings with its win over Edmonton, putting further pressure on Anaheim to win its game in hand on the Flames.

The Sharks had been steamrolling everyone, but gently applied the brakes Wednesday after locking up the Pacific Division title two days earlier.

Gritty forward Ryane Clowe took the night off. Top players like Patrick Marleau (15:50), Dany Heatley (14:39), Joe Thornton (11:12) and Logan Couture (14:15) didn’t get top-player minutes. Backup goalie Antero Niittymaki got his first start in nearly three months — Jan. 13 was his last — and the Ducks took full advantage.

Perry completed his third hat trick this season (also the third of his career) in the game’s first 31 minutes, causing a mass litter of headgear on the Honda Center ice and pausing the Ducks’ onslaught at 4-1. The last of the three goals, a Perry-patented, long-armed flick of the wrist through traffic, made him the league’s first 50-goal scorer.

Teemu Selanne and Jason Blake added goals later in the period, and rookie defenseman Cam Fowler got his 10th of the season in the first stanza.

But tonight figures to go down as the night that M-V-P became more than just a loud exercise in wishful thinking.
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Stars 4, Ducks 3.

It’s never a good day when a coach is asked to recall an overturned goal that went against his team, and has to specify which one.

It hasn’t been a good weekend for Randy Carlyle and the Ducks.

Back-to-back losses to the Sharks and Stars have put their playoff plans on hold, and this one was frustrating on a couple counts. Namely, Teemu Selanne’s goal at 17:56 of the third period and Bobby Ryan’s goal at 19:11, neither of which counted in the eyes of referee Brad Meier.

Those tended to overshadow the goals that counted — by Lubomir Visnovsky, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry — and the fact the Ducks played like a group worn down by Saturday night’s loss in San Jose. The low point was probably a 5-on-3 shift spanning 80 seconds of the middle period during which the Ducks couldn’t get off a shot from within 20 feet of Kari Lehtonen.

Ray Emery (27 saves) lost his second game as a Duck, second game of the season, and second in as many days.

Tomorrow’s game story focuses on the reaction in the Ducks’ room to the calls by Meier, whose crew also missed a too many men on the ice call against Dallas in the second period. There was plenty of steam to be blown off, and Carlyle instructed his players to “do nothing” tomorrow — no practice, no golf — just recharge the batteries for another game against the Sharks on Wednesday, with a playoff berth at stake again.

A few more notes:
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Perry named NHL’s player of the month.

The latest accolade for Corey Perry might not be the last.

The Ducks’ right wing was named the NHL’s Player of the Month on Friday. He finished March with a league-leading 15 goals, bringing his league-leading season total to 46 and becoming just the
fifth NHL player since Jan. 1997 to score 15 goals in a single
month.

The first question he took on a national conference call was about what might be next: The Rocket Richard Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL’s leading goal-scorer.

I don’t know if you can ever say that you’re going to win
it,” Perry said. “I mean, you have to have a lot of great bounces and teammates to
play with. I have to give a lot of credit to them. Recently it’s been
going well, and you know, I’m just trying to help the team win. That’s
all I’m worried about.

Perry’s 15 goals were the most in a single month in franchise history. Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne previously shared
the record (Kariya had 13 in January, 2000 and Selanne recorded 13 in
November, 1997).

For the season, Perry is also tied for
first in the league game-winning goals (10, also Daniel Sedin and Alex Ovechkin).
He’s tied for fourth in points (89) and power-play goals (12), and tied for
eighth in short-handed goals (3). He also ranks second among all NHL
forwards in ice time (22:07), which is also first among all right
wingers.

You
just go into every game expecting to play well,” Perry said. “Things happened in
March that doesn’t happen very often. It’s one of those things where you
go out, you play your game, and you see what happens.
But you know, March was a good month, and hopefully there’s more to come.”

March was a good month for a few Ducks.
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Kings-Ducks IV: Get worked up, unless you’re playing tomorrow.

Whether you’re a Ducks fan, a Kings fan, a hockey fan — or just a fan of round numbers — there are plenty of reasons to get worked up about tomorrow’s Kings-Ducks game (7:30 p.m. at Staples Center).

Considering the two teams have never qualified for the playoffs in the same season, the Kings and Ducks are approaching uncharted territory. The latest the two sides have ever shared space in the top eight was back on March 21, 2000. On that date the Kings had nine games left (34-26-13, fifth place in the Western Conference) and Ducks had eight games left (31-29-14, eighth place). The Kings wound up finishing fifth in the West that year while the Ducks finished ninth, four points behind San Jose for the final playoff berth.

Both teams were in the Western Conference’s top eight when play began Thursday; by the end of the night the Ducks had fallen to 10th without playing a game. With a win today, Anaheim would climb back into eighth place, even the head-to-head season series with the Kings at two games apiece, and come within two points of Los Angeles in the standings (85 to 83).

It will also be the 100th game between Southern California’s two NHL franchises.
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Ducks 2, St. Louis 1.

Ray Emery is back.

That was the takeaway from his 30-save performance Wednesday that preserved a 2-1 victory in an often ugly game for the Ducks.

Jason Blake scored both Anaheim goals, finishing a second-period breakaway with a backhand shot that went in off a Blues defenseman, and deflecting a Lubomir Visnovsky shot down and in in the third period. But even he was in a deferential mood after Emery’s big breakthrough.

Emery’s reflexes did not look like those of a man who had not started an NHL game since Feb. 1 of last year. Nor did the time off leave him any less feisty — Emery was shoving players out of his own crease before assuming the butterfly position in the blink of an eye. It takes a special athlete to do that under ordinary circumstances, but even more so when you have a piece of bone from your leg lodged in your right hip.

Between Emery and Dan Ellis, the Ducks can breathe a bit easier about Jonas Hiller’s slow recovery time. The goalie told reporters at this morning’s skate that he “is going in the right direction” but still can’t see the puck well enough to play.

With only 12 games left in the season, the Ducks occupy the eighth position in the West but still have Calgary and Nashville nipping at their heels. Both the Flames and Preds play tomorrow, and the Ducks could find themselves back in 10th place after their day off.

But should the Ducks make the playoffs (and should Hiller be healthy by then), they could have three goalies capable of starting Game 1 of a first-round series. It’s a good problem to have, one that seemed unlikely when Curtis McElhinney and Timo Pielmeier were manning the nets.

Get all the game details in tomorrow’s editions. Some notes and observations:
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Ducks 5, Rangers 2.

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:
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