As first reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Ducks have acquired left wing Brad Winchester from the St. Louis Blues for a third-round draft pick. Multiple reports on Twitter indicate the pick is from the 2012 draft.
Update: The team has confirmed the trade.
Winchester is a rare commodity for a fourth-line winger – he has a 13-goal season under his belt (2008-09) and already has nine goals this season. He also has five assists and a minus-9 rating in 57 games this season.
Winchester ranks third on the Blues with eight major penalties and second with 86 penalty minutes.
In a battle of field goals, the Ducks got their rear ends kicked.
The final scoresheet tells the story: The Blues wasted through Curtis McElhinney (11 shots, 7 saves) and Timo Pielmeier (12 shots, 7 saves) — who closed out the final two periods in his NHL debut — with equal fervor.
Goals by Jarkko Ruutu and Teemu Selanne in the game’s first 6:41 gave Anaheim an unmemorable 2-0 lead. The Blues scored four more before the first period was over, interrupted only by a Ryan Getzlaf wrist shot that ended Ty Conklin’s evening. The bleeding continued as Chris Stewart, T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald all wrapped up two-goal efforts. Alex Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo and David Backes scored one apiece, and backup backstop Ben Bishop (20 shots, 20 saves) was perfect in relief of Conklin (5 shots, 3 goals).
The question now for the Ducks is, who can stop the bleeding?
A backup throughout his four-year NHL career, McElhinney clearly has hit the ceiling in his short time as a starter. In losing three consecutive starts, he’s allowed 16 goals on 68 shots — a miserable .765 save percentage and 6.90 goals-against average. Pielmeier wasn’t much better, though the 21-year-old was probably only viewed as an emergency option when he was recalled earlier in the week from AHL affiliate Syracuse.
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. Continue reading →
You can thank James Wisniewski and some baby powder for this one.
The Ducks defenseman had never been called upon in a shootout before the seventh round rolled around Saturday in St. Louis, and he needed some assistance.
“Right before the shootout, I told Sluggo (equipment manager Doug Shearer) baby powder because baby powder makes the gloves slide,” Wisniewski told reporters after the game.
“He looked at me like, ‘C’mon, let’s get real here.’ The fifth or sixth round comes and I’m like ‘Give me the baby power, you never know.’ He gave me the baby powder, I put it on, Randy said ‘Wiz, you’re up.’ I went in there and pulled one out of my treasure chest and it went in.”
Wisniewski’s forehand flurry beat Steve Mason to end the game and lift the Ducks to a comeback from a 3-0 third period deficit. The Ducks’ six wins when trailing after two periods ties the Minnesota Wild for the most in the NHL.
A goal by Scott Niedermayer, and a pair by Bobby Ryan — including the tying goal with 30 seconds left in regulation — paved the Ducks’ comeback after T.J. Oshie made it 3-0 at 3:35 of the third period.
Jonas Hiller needed only 18 saves for the victory, Anaheim’s eighth in their last 10 games. The Ducks (24-21-7) are three points back of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, though the five teams ahead of them in the standings have a game in hand.
As the page turns on 2010, the Ducks have at last figured out the secret to success: Just play every game at home.
A come-from-behind win over the Blues on Thursday was the Ducks’ fifth straight at Honda Center, and it gave them a jolt of confidence that they can only hope lasts into the weekend.
Rugged defenseman Barret Jackman scored his first two goals of the season to stake St. Louis to an early lead before the Ducks scored the game’s final three goals over the final 12 minutes to grab a much-needed win.
“At times, it wasn’t a pretty hockey game, but we found a way to win,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “That is the most encouraging thing for us because we found a way to lose these hockey games before. This time we found a way to win it.” Continue reading →