Final Score: Anaheim Ducks 2, Dallas Stars 1 (SO)
Remember the first game against St. Louis and the two shootout losses in Phoenix? This was kind of like that, except instead of everything going in the net, almost nothing did, and even sometimes it did and they didn't count it. This box score makes no sense whatsoever, if you actually watched the game. I usually try to describe as many of the high quality chances as possible, but I just won't be able to do this game justice, and neither do the highlights. If you missed it and have any means to watch a replay, go do that.
First Period Recap: The first period was relatively tame. I've definitely noticed a pattern in most of the recent games that the Daniel Winnik - Saku Koivu - Andrew Cogliano line's first shift is just an amazing display of forechecking. It didn't turn into much tonight, but a fantastic shift nonetheless.
Dallas opened the scoring as Alex Goligoski's shot deflected off of Ryan Getzlaf's foot right to Ray Whitney who showed why they call him "The Wizard" as he just flicked the puck into the top of the net on his backhand with one touch. Fantastic goal, nothing Jonas Hiller could have done about it.
The Ducks killed a Sheldon Souray hooking penalty. Two minutes later, Francois Beauchemin took a cross checking penalty that was negated by an interference penalty as Jaromir Jagr accidentally ran into Koivu. During the 4-on-4 the game started to open up, but that was nothing compared to the second period.
Second Period Recap: To start the second, Dallas killed off 14 seconds of the Jagr penalty. About four minutes in, Luca Sbisa hit Ryan Garbutt. Vernon Fiddler took exception and dropped the gloves with Sbisa. Fiddler's Grandmother had this to say, but he was assessed an instigation penalty and the Ducks went on their first real power play.
The Ducks had six shots on goal in the first 1:11 of that power play chance. The best one was a Teemu Selanne shot from a sharp that got caught up in the jersey of Kari Lehtonen and stayed out. Toronto called for a video review, but it was quick, as the puck clearly never crossed the line.
After the Fiddler penalty was over, all hell broke loose. The rest of the period was a series of turnovers, odd man rushes, breakaways, 60-foot outlet passes and wacky bounces... just flat out pond hockey.
Even with all of the chances going both ways, only Cogliano was able to cash in. Winnik picked off a Dallas pass at the Ducks' blueline and went on a semi-3-on-2 with Peter Holland and Cogs. Winnik got the puck to Holland who made the prettiest play of the night, a backhand saucer pass right onto Cogs' tape. The first shot was an AMAZING full split save by Lehtonen, but Cogs potted his own rebound to tie the game at one.
Just past the half way point of the game, more craziness. Whitney shot a puck at Hiller who should have easily covered up, but the puck came loose and Derek Roy scored an easy goal..... BUT the whistle had blown. Terrible call by the referee, great break for the Ducks.
Only about a minute later, the next ridiculous play hit. Jagr drove the net from the corner arond Sbisa, but Luca made a play to knock the puck off of his stick right at the top of the crease. The puck sat there for Reilly Smith who thought he roofed it over Hiller's blocker, but actually hit the post and the cross bar and may have touched Hiller's right leg on the way out. This was another quick review by the War Room in Toronto. No goal, puck never crossed the line.
Towards the end of the period the Ducks had another outstanding chance on the power play as Teemu fed Beauch a cross crease pass but he was robbed by Lehtonen. Beauch covered just about every inch of offensive zone on the power play (in general) tonight. We were excited about what Scott Niedermayer could teach Cam Fowler as an Assistant Coach this year, but it seems to be Beauch who has benefited the most.
Third Period Recap: The sloppiness continued in the the third period. Dallas definitely had the better of the chances and they out shot the Ducks 12-3 but, based on zone time, it didn't seem like that much of a domination.
The Ducks had to kill an early penalty, and boy did they ever. Much like the first few minutes of the Perry major penalty from Tuesday, the Ducks had the best chances and possessed the puck for the majority of the kill. Getzlaf and Emerson Etem had a shorthanded 2-on-1, but Lehtonen read perfectly and made a great save on Etem's shot.
The Ducks also almost won it on a miscue from Lehtnonen, who lost the puck to Patrick Maroon behind the net, but Maroon couldn't slam it in on the wrap around. He should have passed it to Etem who was right at the side of the net and would have had a better angle to get a forehand shot off into the open net, but hindsight is 20/20.
As the period came to a close, Dallas got away with a clear too many men on the ice penalty (which they had been caught on earlier) and on the same shift, Getzlaf took a hooking penalty. This time the PK wasn't as amazing and Jagr came thisclose to scoring with only three and a half minutes left in regulation.
Jagr's first shot was blocked by Beauchemin, it came right back to him, and somehow Hiller still wasn't in position. Jagr shot it again, the goal horn went off, the spotlight lit up on Hiller, the crowd went wild....... BUT the referee waived it off. Everyone on the ice stopped for a second before realizing the whistle hadn't blown. The play continued until Hiller covered after another scramble in the crease.
The third quick review of the night showed the call on the ice to be correct. Jagr's shot had hit the far post and the crossbar before shooting back through Hiller's pads, off his stick and Beauch whacked both the puck and Hiller's paddle away.
The best part though, was the look on, referee, Kevin Pollock's face as he waived it off (3:12 in the highlights at the top of the post). Ducks survive for OT.
Overtime Recap: Both teams had their chances in overtime, but nothing stood out in a game as crazy as this.
ANA - Bobby Ryan - Goal (started with speed, slowed down, went high, Lehtonen got a piece of it, bounced off the crossbar and in, that's the kind of game this was)
DAL - Loui Eriksson - Save (Peter Forsberg/Kent Nilsson Move, the Duck Killer Extraordinaire did have an assist on Whitney's goal earlier though, naturally. )
ANA - Teemu Selanne - Miss
DAL - Ray Whitney - Miss (By a hair)
ANA - Ryan Getzlaf - GOAL! DUCKS WIN!
The Good: The Ducks got SUPER lucky in this one. The early whistle that called off Dallas' second goal, and two Stars shots that each hit the post AND crossbar and stayed out saved them. Hiller made some key saves and the defensemen had their moments, but this one was all thanks to the Hockey Gods.
The Bad: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy... I could go on all night, but you get the point.
The Ugly: The ugliest thing in this game actually went in the Ducks' favor when Hiller failed on an easy cover up play, but was saved by the much maligned intent to blow rule. That mistake should have cost Hiller this game, but it didn't.
Next Game: Saturday, Mar. 16 at 5:00 pm PT, at St. Louis