Ducks 7, Oilers 2.

Ryan Carter scored twice, five other players scored one goal – including the 606th of Teemu Selanne’s career – turning Fan Appreciation Night into a one-sided rout in the Ducks’ final game of the season.

Selanne stayed on the ice when the final horn sounded, then led a lap around the ice as the Ducks saluted the fans. Afterwards, he was asked on the ice about his future plans.

“I was always hoping that I wasn’t playing so well, and the decision (to retire) would be easier,” said Selanne, who scored on a second-period power play goal. “I just feel great still. There’s a lot of time to rest now. We have a great team here. Let’s see what happens.”

Selanne, 39, finished his 17th season with 27 goals in 54 games – a ratio of 0.5 goals per game that ranks eighth in the NHL. His 14 power-play goals tied for third in the league. In 1,186 career
Selanne ranks 17th in all-time goals (606), 56th in all-time assists (654)
35th in all-time points (1,260).

Continue reading “Ducks 7, Oilers 2.” »

Dallas 3, Ducks 2.

Jonas Hiller made 49 saves over 65 minutes, and Bobby Ryan scored a pair of goals, but Mike Modano stole the show in the Stars’ shootout win.

Modano, who has spent his entire 20-year career with the Dallas organization, electrified the crowd by scoring the game-tying goal with 1:47 left in regulation of what could be his final game at American Airlines Center. He scored again in the second shootout round against Hiller, then Jere Lehtinen sealed it with a goal in the third round.

Ryan’s team-leading 33rd and 34th goals of the season allowed the Ducks to salvage a point on a night when they were outshot 51-19. His second goal, a sharp-angled power-play tally, gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead at 15:16 of the third period.

With several veterans remaining home, Randy Carlyle went with his youngest lineup of the season. Nick Bonino, Nathan Oystrick, Brendan Mikkelson, Brett Festerling and Dan Sexton got long looks while Ryan Getzlaf (ankle) and Lubomir Visnovsky (hand), as well as healthy scratches Scott Niedermayer, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne and Todd Marchant were held behind.

Ducks 5, Colorado 2. Updates with video.

Teemu Selanne scored the 601st goal of his career, and Jason Blake recorded five points – a goal and four assists – becoming the first Ducks player to do so since Corey Perry in Oct. 2008.

Selanne scored on a vintage goal, finishing a neutral zone breakaway with a wrister past Craig Anderson at 2:34 of the third period. Two days after Jari Kurri flew to Anaheim from Finland to recognize Selanne’s 600th career goal, Selanne matched Kurri at 17th on the career goal-scoring list.

Here’s the video of the (latest) historic goal by Selanne, with apologies for the Avalanche announcers, who make no mention of the history in the moment: 


Continue reading “Ducks 5, Colorado 2. Updates with video.” »

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.

Good vibrations in a bad situation.

Randy Carlyle’s message of staying positive appears to have sunk in.

Prior to tonight’s game against Nashville, one of seven teams the Ducks would have to catch to keep their pipe playoff dream alive, Dan Sexton spoke of getting on a roll – the same roll Anaheim has been trying to get on since the Olympics ended.

“We just need that first win to kind of get it going for us,” he said. “Once we do, I think things will be looking even more up.”

At least Sexton’s optimism could be blamed on youthful inexperience. But even cagey veteran Scott Niedermayer was looking on the bright side Thursday.

“Near the end of the season, everything is definitely getting
amplified, especially us trying to catch up to the top eight teams,” the captain said. “Performing
how we have the last four games is definitely disappointing. The good thing is,
we still have an opportunity to play better, be more consistent. That’s what we have to
focus on.”

If you believe in lucky numbers, here’s a start: A win against Nashville, which is tied with Calgary at 77 points for seventh place in the West, would leave the Ducks seven points out of the playoffs.

Mathematical elimination is still a ways off, with 32 standings points still on the table – for you optimists out there – if the Ducks were to rattle off a 16-game win streak.

Here’s the bad news: When the Olympics ended, Anaheim needed only two points to match the eighth-place Flames in the standings. The Ducks have gained only one point since.

“You have to deal with what’s coming next,” Carlyle said. “Those things are difficult to do when your team’s not emotionally and phys involved where you’d like them to be. that’s the
mental part we’re talking about.

One source of hope was last season’s late surge, when the Ducks went 11-3-1 over the last 15 games to clinch a playoff berth. But there were fewer teams in their way last season. When the streak began,  the Ducks had only Minnesota, Dallas and Edmonton in their way, and were three points out of eighth place.

The real miracle last season occurred in St. Louis, where the Blues were in 13th place in the West as late as March 9, then went on a 12-3-2 run over their final 17 games to gain the No. 6 seed (although it didn’t seem to matter much in their first-round playoff series against Vancouver).

“Our team has shown that we can be really successful in stretches,” Sexton said. “A team like Nashville, that would be a great jump-start for us, if we can capitalize on those guys.”

Montreal 4, Ducks 3, shootout.

An early lead vanished into thin air at Honda Center, leaving the Ducks’ playoff chances slightly dimmer than they were at the beginning of the day.

Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec scored on the Canadiens’ final two shootout attempts on Jonas Hiller – the former a disputed goal that trickled over Hiller’s arm and over the goal line. Ryan Getzlaf scored the only shootout goal for the Ducks, who needed two points in the standings but only got one.

“When you
lose that way, it’s pretty disappointing, even though we got the one
point,” Ducks center and former Habs captain Saku Koivu said. “Especially for myself, I’ve waited for this game for quite a while.
I’m happy it’s done now, but I’m disappointed that we lost
that point.”
Continue reading “Montreal 4, Ducks 3, shootout.” »

Colorado 4, Ducks 3.

The Ducks outshot the Avalanche 14-2 in the first period, built a 2-0 lead, then allowed four consecutive goals and began their post-Olympic stretch with a loss.

Jason Blake, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer scored for the Ducks, while Colorado’s Chris Stewart, Peter Mueller, Matt Duchene and T.J. Galiardi put pucks past Jonas Hiller. The Avalanche converted three of six power plays against a Ducks squad reduced to five defensemen because of the pregame trade of Ryan Whitney to Edmonton.

Niedermayer, whose third-period goal deflected into the net off the skate of Scott Hannan, said the pregame trades of Whitney, Petteri Nokelainen and Vesa Toskala were still on players’ minds.

“But we still had a job to do,” he said. “We still know the way we need to play to have success and we didn’t do it, for whatever reason.”
Continue reading “Colorado 4, Ducks 3.” »

Home, sweet home for Ducks’ Olympians.

The Ducks’ migration south from Vancouver is not complete yet. And why would it be, with the myriad of medals to sort through – seven of them, the most of any team in the NHL – not to mention the gamut of emotions that come with them?

Maybe it’s not that surprising that goaltender Jonas Hiller, whose Swiss team was eliminated by the United States in the quarterfinals, chose not to watch the gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada on Sunday.

“I had family in town. I’ve seen enough hockey games until the end of the year. I didn’t really feel like I had to see hockey again,” Hiller said.

“I have to take my days where I can.”
Continue reading “Home, sweet home for Ducks’ Olympians.” »

Canada 3, Slovakia 2.

Ryan Getzlaf’s second-period power play goal certainly seemed like an inconsequential insurance marker at the time. Canada was comfortably ahead 2-0, Roberto Luongo might have been blogging in between shots, and before the crowd was asking for “U-S-A.”

Then Slovakia decided to make it interesting, scoring twice in the game’s final five minutes to set up a frenetic finish. But Getzlaf’s goal held up, and Canada held on to set up a Sunday rematch with the United States.

Getzlaf’s backhand swipe of a Corey Perry rebound was the only goal by a Duck on Friday. Perry and Chris Pronger picked up the assists. Getzlaf and Pronger also assisted on Brenden Morrow’s first-period marker and Scott Niedermayer picked up the secondary assist on the game’s first goal, a tip by Patrick Marleau at 13:30.

Ex-King Lubomir Visnovsky and current King Michal Handzus did all the scoring for Slovakia, which plays Finland for the bronze medal on Saturday night.