For about a month now, we've known that this day would come, and now it is official. The Anaheim Ducks have been officially eliminated from the playoff race. It's funny that the elimination would come the night that the Ducks beat their bitter rivals from San Jose for the 5th time this season. We have wins by Dallas and Los Angeles (shudder) to thank for that.
As for the game itself, I was kind of bored. It was a goaltending showcase surrounded by broken plays and turnovers. Both Antti Niemi and Jonas Hiller had some thrilling saves. There were some easy goals (plus one controversial empty-netter at the end) aaand that's about it in the 3-1 win. I miss the days of the brawls and bloodshed between the Ducks and Sharks.
-- Jonas Hiller is outstanding. He stopped 28 of 29 shots on his 70th start of the year (breaking Guy Hebert's old record of 69). Of the one goal that did go in, it was pretty much entirely Francois Beauchemin's fault. Beauch turned the puck over as Hiller was going back to the net after playing the puck. Hiller made a flailing attempt to stop the puck but Logan Couture's pass to Ryane Clowe (too many unnecessary E's in that name) was waaay too quick.
-- As I said in the open, the Ducks were on the better end of some controversy at the end of the game. Remember when the Hockey Gods laughed in our faces at the Matt Beleskey goal versus Boston that was reversed? Tonight they realized the error of their ways and repaid us by way of a super-shady goal call with nine seconds left in the game. Corey Perry retrieved a Ryan Getzlaf rebound off the boards (more on that later). Perry was about to put it into the side of the empty net net, when Dan Boyle got on his inside and went down to block the shot in turn knocking the net off of its moorings. The refs automatically called this a good goal with the reason being (I think) that Boyle intentionally knocked the net off to keep the puck out of it. On all replays, it was clear that the puck was headed into the side netting/post area and Boyle was carried by his momentum into the goal. Semantics. We're even - for now - NHL.
-- That Teemu Selanne guy is pretty good. He should get another shot on Boudreau's team next year. Not only did Selanne score his 662 goal putting him within two of Jaromir Jagr at 12th on the all-time goal list, but he put his season goal total at 25 - something he's done for 12 of 19 seasons in the NHL. This was also his 106th game-winning-goal, good for 6th all-time. Brendan Shanahan is 5th with 109. He can totally get there, if not this season, how about next year?
-- Once again, the Ducks play better when they are hitting. The Ducks out hit the Sharks 34 to 25. Super Smash Brother Luca Sbisa had a team high 7-hits followed by Lubomir Visnovsky with 6 and Toni Lydman with 5.
-- Glad to see Bobby Ryan get his 28th goal. His confidence in himself is a huge part of his game. I would love to see him get to 30 for a fourth consecutive season. Not doing so is going to eat at him all summer and he needs to be of sound mind when coming into camp.
-- Lubo has been taking a lot of silly penalties lately. He's getting Getzlaf-Syndrome where he stops skating and decides to hook instead.
-- Only players in the minus tonight for the Ducks were Cam Fowler and Francois Beauchemin at minus-1
-- George Parros was a healthy scratch again this evening. Not looking good for the 'Stache and his hopes of a new contract in the off-season.
-- Even with the loss, San Jose is still in the playoff hunt in 8th and LA is in 7th. If you're anything like me, you're going to be praying to whatever deity you choose to make sure those two teams miss out. I keep saying, if I'm not going to the playoffs, no one from California will!
-- Ryan Getzlaf hasn't had a goal in 20+ games. He had a golden opportunity to hit the open net tonight but instead rocketed the puck three feet wide of the goal. Stevie Wonder could have hit that open net. The bright side is that his rebound off the boards allowed for Corey Perry to "score" the empty net goal.
-- Even though I knew we had zero chance of making the playoffs, it still kinda sucks to be officially kicked out of the race. Is it October yet?