Ducks 2, Senators 1, SO.

With the lousy season that the Senators are having – they’re equally close to the last Eastern Conference playoff spot and the worst record in the NHL – try saying with a straight face that a shootout was a desirable outcome Tuesday.

On the other hand, Ottawa was 0-6 in games that go beyond three periods. And with Jonas Hiller stopping nearly everything the Senators sent his way, the Ducks could say they planned it this way all along.

Bobby Ryan scored on the Ducks’ second shootout attempt, and Hiller stoned all three Ottawa shooters, to kick off the Ducks’ four-game road trip with a 2-1 win. Hiller also made 39 saves in a 65-minute game that saw Ottawa outshoot Anaheim 40-27.

Corey Perry scored the Ducks’ lone goal in regulation, his team-leading 24th of the season, at 14:30 of the first period. Perry was in the process of falling backwards when he somehow lifted a shot over the pads of goalie Brian Elliott (26 saves).

Milan Michalek created the Sens’ lone goal when he drew the attention of the Ducks’ defense into the middle of the slot, then somehow – from his rear end – put a backhand shot on Hiller. Mike Fisher snuck behind a distracted Ducks defense to poke the rebound past Hiller at 18:19 of the second period.

Elliott held up his end of the goalie duel in the third period, stoning Matt Beleskey on a breakaway for one of 12 saves to set the stage for overtime.

In the shootout, Elliott wilted at the forehand wrister of Ryan and Hiller stopped Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Henrik Karlsson to preserve the win. The Ducks have won eight of their last 10 with games in Toronto, Montreal and Columbus looming before the All-Star break.

A few more notes:
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Carolina 4, Ducks 2.

Despite the return of Teemu Selanne, the Ducks couldn’t overcome a natural hat trick by Eric Staal in the game’s first 22 minutes en route to their second straight loss.

Ryan Getzlaf scored both goals for the Ducks, the latter coming during a 6-on-3 shift with 1:48 left in the third period. Saku Koivu nearly knotted the game at 3 less than a minute later, but Cam Ward made the biggest of his 43 saves when he miraculously gloved down Koivu’s 9-foot shot to preserve the Hurricanes’ one-goal lead.

Joe Corvo provided the final score by scoring into an empty net with six seconds left.

Staal scored twice on the power play, at 7:27 and 19:33, as Carolina scored on its first two power plays of the game. He completed the hat trick with an even-strength goal after some good passing in traffic at 1:41 of the second period.

While hats littered the ice, Randy Carlyle shuffled his forward lines and saw the Ducks respond with several scoring chances against Ward. Their 45 shots on goal were their second-most of the season and marked their highest total since Nov. 19 against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Selanne, playing his first game back from a groin injury, led the way with eight shots on goal in 20 minutes of ice time. He switched places with Bobby Ryan, skating with Getzlaf and Corey Perry for the final two periods. Bobby Ryan finished the game on a line with Koivu and Joffrey Lupul; Todd Marchant skated with Nick Bonino and Brandon McMillan; Jason Blake skated with Kyle Chipchura and George Parros.

Paul Mara re-entered the Ducks’ lineup, and Andreas Lilja and Andy Sutton were both healthy scratches. Mara skated on a third pairing with Luca Sbisa.

Ducks 2, Washington 1, OT.

The Ducks weathered a slow start in the nation’s capital en route to their third straight win, getting a goal from captain Ryan Getzlaf with 56.6 seconds left in overtime.

Joffrey Lupul scored in the second period for the Ducks (17-3-4) and Brooks Laich scored in the first period for Washington (18-11-4), which has lost seven in a row.

After outshooting the Ducks 26-14 through two periods, the Capitals seemed out of gas in the third. Anaheim controlled the play, leading 7-5 in shots on goal, but couldn’t score on Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 22 saves.

In overtime, Jonas Hiller was only called upon to make one of his 31 saves. The Ducks looked like they were on the way to their third shootout in their last four games until Getzlaf carried the puck up the left wing, put on the brakes near the goal line, spun back around and used Scott Hannan as a screen for his game-winning wrist shot from 11 feet out.

Teemu Selanne made the trip but decided to rest his sore groin. Lupul took his spot on the second line, but got his goal on the first power play, flinging a puck that deflected to him underneath Varlamov at the 12:47 mark. It was Lupul’s second goal of the season in his sixth game back.

Saku Koivu centered the Ducks’ second line and played little more than 20 minutes after missing the last game with the flu. Selanne, center Kyle Chipchura and defenseman Paul Mara were the Ducks’ scratches.

Vancouver 5, Ducks 4.

Curtis McElhinney’s misfortune was just the opening the Vancouver Canucks needed.

In the midst of a stellar performance, McElhinney was knocked out when he was struck in the head by Christian Ehrhoff’s shot in the third period. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Sedin scored when the puck bounced right to him off McElhinney’s mask, Ryan Kesler scored on Jonas Hiller in the final minute to tie the game at 4, and Jeff Tambellini potted the game-winner in the shootout.

The surprising turn of events left the Ducks with a tough shootout loss in a game they led 4-2 with eight minutes left in the third period. It also left them without their backup goaltender, at least temporarily, heading into Friday’s game in Anaheim against the Calgary Flames.

McElhinney stopped 24 of 27 and was in line for his third win of the season after goals by Corey Perry, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler.

Kesler’s third-effort goal, with Vancouver skating 6-on-5 with 22 seconds left in the third period, was the only goal Hiller allowed on 13 shots in 12:18 of relief. Tambellini scored the only goal for either side in the shootout.

Lupul’s goal was his first of the season in his third game back. It came one year to the day after his last NHL goal on Dec. 8, 2009, in what proved to be Lupul’s last game of the season.

Todd Marchant had a pair of assists, and Selanne, Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky and Paul Mara had one helper each.
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Ducks 5, Nashville 4.

After a back-and-forth game that saw the Ducks squander four 1-goal leads, Bobby Ryan hit Paul Mara streaking backdoor with 1.7 seconds left in the third period to secure a wild victory before 13,520 at Honda Center.

It was a fitting ending to a game that saw almost everyone get involved in the scoring, on a night when the Ducks needed all the help they could get. Mara was a most surprising source for the game-winner. He had not scored a goal since a playoff game on April 22, 2009 (a 59-game drought) and had not scored in the regular season since Feb. 11, 2009 (a 78-game drought).

“It used to be my game, but not any more,” Mara said. “I just go out there, try to play strong defense, make the correct plays, and every once in a while try to chip in with offense.”

“Give credit to my trainer there, Sluggo. He put a new pair of gloves in my stall and made me use them.”

Saku Koivu scored two goals, giving him 700 points in his career, and Teemu Selanne and Lubomir Visnovsky scored once.

More in tomorrow’s editions. Here are a few notes that didn’t make the paper:
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It’s official: Fowler will remain in Anaheim.

Cam Fowler was not playing hockey when he knew he had arrived, so to speak, as a full-fledged NHL defenseman.

“The last few days they told me to start moving some of my stuff into Scotty (Niedermayer)’s house and get my car out here,” he said. “That was kind of a good tip that at least they were going to keep me around for a little while.’

It became official Tuesday when Ducks general manager Bob Murray announced that he intends to keep the 18-year-old defenseman in the NHL this season. Fowler, who has played six games and is set to play his seventh on Wednesday, could have played up to nine games before Murray had to keep him or return him to his junior squad, the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.
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Ducks 3, Philadelphia 2.

On their fifth try, the Ducks won their first road game of the season – against the defending Stanley Cup runner-up, no less.

Ryan Getzlaf’s second-effort goal with 1:53 remaining, jamming the puck out from between the pads of Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, broke the 2-2 tie and served as the game-winner. There was some suspense to the goal, as the officials consulted with NHL’s “war room” in Toronto for the second time in the game before deciding the goal should stand.

“(The referee) didn’t make the call right away because he didn’t know where it was,” Getzlaf told Prime Ticket after the game. He talked to his other referee … and they said it was in the back of the net before he blew the whistle.”

Philadelphia outshot Anaheim 42-22, but also had 28 shots blocked — six by Lubomir Visnovsky, five by Toni Lydman and four by Jason Blake and Paul Mara. Curis McElhinney had his share of gems in his first start of the season and finished with 40 saves.

The Ducks made their shots count against Bobrovksy, including a Visnovsky slap shot 35 seconds into the game that drew first blood. Jason Blake gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead off a feed from behind the goal line by Teemu Selanne at 10:52 of the opening period.

Special teams weren’t a factor. The Ducks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and also killed all five penalties they faced.

Lilja gets his visa, Sbisa sent to Syracuse.

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.

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St. Louis 5, Ducks 1.

There’s an almost endless repository of statistics that illustrate how bad the Ducks have played in their first three regular-season games. They have been outscored 13-2 and outshot 145-72. Their 43.0 faceoff percentage ranks 29th in the NHL, their 48.3 penalty minutes per game 30th.

Most importantly, a team that pledged to avoid another typical early-season swoon is off to an 0-3 start. If there is a hockey-statistical equivalent of the word acrid, just take your pick.

The good news – and there was some good news after Monday’s 5-1 loss in St. Louis – is that the Ducks got to come home in advance of Wednesday’s home opener against the Vancouver Canucks. By then they will probably have added a veteran to help on defense, Andreas Lilja, and have the potential for an opening-night atmosphere that tends to make visiting teams uncomfortable – the same atmosphere the Ducks faced Friday and Saturday in Detroit and Nashville, respectively.
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Camp: Lydman out (for now); Veilleux and 18 others in. Update.

Defenseman Toni Lydman will miss the start of training camp with an acute episode of double vision. According to the team, he experienced the symptoms last week and has since undergone a battery of tests which have ruled out most major medical concerns but have not identified the problem.

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