A couple of notes before the game started. As many expected (or even hoped) Ryan Getzlaf sat out this game to rest his tweaked ankle. After the game, AC's own Robby shared an elevator with Getzlaf and asked him for an EXCLUSIVE UPDATE (over-the-top announcer voice). Getzy said that his ankle was "not too bad." When asked about playing against Los Angeles on Sunday he said "We'll see," but Robby didn't think he sounded optimistic.
Also, for the second time this season, the Ducks started the game with a temporary back up goalie. Jonas Hiller was scratched with the flu, and the Ducks signed Rob Laurie, a 42-year-old Corona resident and former Anaheim Bullfrog of Roller Hockey International, to a One-Day Pro Tryout while Igor Bobkov made his way to Anaheim from Norfolk.
First Period Recap: The first real chance of the game came from Dallas as Viktor Fasth gave up a huge rebound but battled Lane MacDermid for a whistle and pleasantries were exchanged. The post whistle action would become a theme throughout the night.
The Ducks got going when Jamie Benn was called for a two minute concealing the puck minor. After the power play came up short, the Ducks controlled play for three minutes or so, but Dallas created a mini 2-on-1 at the Anaheim blueline and MacDermid scored his second career goal, second as a Star, and second against the Ducks. Could he be the new Loui Eriksson? Probably not, but you never know.
As they did so many times early in the season, Anaheim answered right back. Bryan Allen's dump in from center ice awkwardly bounced on goal; Kari Lehtonen kept it out, but David Steckel pounced on the rebound, got it to Andrew Cogliano, who roofed it from point blank range with Lehtonen still flummoxed by the bounce. Tie game only 18 seconds after Dallas opened the scoring.
A few minutes later MacDermid caught Kyle Palmieri with a high stick in the neutral zone and Emerson Etem defended his honor - as if Ducks fans needed any more reason to cheer for the pride of Long Beach, CA. Etem went right after MacDermid, but came out of the scrum with Antoine Roussel. It was a heck of a fight that really got the crowd amped up, and the Ducks went on the power play.
Before the penalties could even be announced however, Fasth got caught in no man's land chasing a loose puck and Eric Nystrom tipped it into the gaping cage to give Dallas the lead, shorthanded. Later on the same power play, Saku Koivu one timed a shot right off the post. Something tells me that puck would have found it's way in if this was February.
The Ducks lost momentum for the rest of the period, taking two more penalties. Alex Chiasson scored on another quick rush with Vernon Fiddler that broke down the unusual D pairing of Ben Lovejoy and Cam Fowler. The Ducks were lucky to come out of the period down by only two as Dallas came with a last second flurry, hitting the post as the buzzer rang.
Second Period Recap: Play in the second period calmed down, but the extra curricular activity continued. Matt Beleskey was sent off for crosschecking Roussel in the back as the Dallas forward was engaged with Koivu, and the refs tacked on an extra two for complaining. During the four minute kill, the Ducks had a few chances to get a shorty of their own, but were battled off the puck, though many in the crowd questioned the defenders' means. The two best opportunities came from Koivu, who went down to draw a call, and Cogliano, who was just edged out by Philip Larsen.
Despite some good transition play by both teams, the period ended as it started, 3-1 Dallas.
Third Period Recap: Early on in the final frame, Teemu Selanne was sprung by a great passing play between Francois Beauchemin and Beleskey. He beat Lehtonen with a snap shot through the five hole, but somehow the puck found the post and stayed out.
The Ducks had several flurries of scoring chances, but to no avail through the middle of the period. With six and a half minutes left, Benn flung a weak shot on net from the blueline and right through Fasth. Luckily for the Ducks it had cleared the zone and the officials eventually (and correctly) ruled the play offside.
The luck would end there however, as Teemu and Corey Perry were whistled for penalties within the last five minutes of the game to seal the victory for Dallas.
The Good: Unlike the dreaded four game losing streak, the Ducks responded well immediately after giving up goals. This game was by no means lost after the three goal first period from Dallas. Stick tap to Etem for continuing to be awesome.
The Bad: The power play seemed thrown off without Getzlaf. Perry took his place at the point, and looked like a fish out of water at times. Robby pointed this out to the captain and got a simple yet correct, "rough night."
The Ugly: All game the Ducks defense got eaten up by Dallas' quick passing and skating away from the puck in the neutral and offensive zones, leading to all three Stars goals in one way or another.
3rd Icehole: Matt Beleskey - just got a little too carried away with the post-whistle physicality
2nd Icehole: Kari Lehtonen - looked a lot more like the Finnish goalie we've come to know and dread facing, rather than the impostor who showed up Monday and Wednesday.
1st Icehole: Viktor Fasth - the goal that eventually became the game winner was straight out of the Evgeni Nabokov Blooper Reel, and took all the air out of the building
Next Game: Sunday, April 7 at 5pm vs Los Angeles