All-Star Weekend So Far

Posted in Recap on January 29, 2011 by wildwing8

All-Star weekend has been pretty cool thus far. Last first ever live fantasy draft was last night, and tonight was the Superskills competition.

I have to admit that the draft wasn’t anything too special. They tried to play it up as if it was much more exciting than it really was. While it was cool to see, it was a bit corny to be honest.

I won’t go through all the draft picks since there was so many, but I will go through what pertains the Ducks. Hiller was the 20th pick of the draft, and went to Team Lidstrom. They had a rule that made the captains choose a goalie by round 10, which is why Jonas went in that round. I think if that rule wasn’t in place, he would have been picked much lower, even though he’s more talented than some of the other goalies. But just being at the All-Star game period is a big acheivement, so can’t complain too much. I had actually thought that Perry was going to be one of the last ones picked since the Ducks always get sort of shunned, but surprisingly, he was the 29th pick, which put him on Team Staal. Should be interesting to see if he can score on Hiller during the game. The rookies were split into two groups, and Taylor Hall was the “leader” of the group that Fowler was in, and he chose to be on Team Lidstrom. I kind of wished he would have picked Team Staal since that’s who I’m rooting for, but the rookies were only in the Skill competition, so no biggie.

There were six different events in the Skill competition. Fastest Skater, Breakaway Challenge, Accuracy Shooting, Challenge Relay, Hardest Shot, Elimination Shootout. The captains choose who goes in each event, and neither of our Ducks were in the Fastest Skater event. Perry was in the Breakaway Challenge though. Each player did a sort of fancy move to try and score on the goalie, and the fans voted for the best one. Perry only got 11.9% of the vote, so he didn’t win. But I heard his shot was pretty nice though (I was at work, so I didn’t see it). Neither of the guys were in the Accuracy Shooting either. Perry was in the Challenge Relay and had to knock the four targets down in the net as fast he could. I think I heard on Twitter that he didn’t do as well as he did at the Ducks Skills Showdown earlier this month. Fowler was in the Hardest Shot event and got a 93.8 mph shot. His wasn’t the slowest though. That went to Rick Nash with a 91.4, so Cam shouldn’t feel too bad. The final event was the Elimination Shootout. Every player from both teams participated in this one. Perry was the overall winner of the event going 3/3 on all his shots! He scored on Hiller, Marc-Andre Fleury from the Penguins, and Tim Thomas from the Bruins.

So all in all, it’s been a pretty fun weekend so far. I’m looking forward to the actual All-Star Game tomorrow as it should be entertaining. I may or may not do a mini recap of it on Monday. Just check back to see.


Ducks Finish Up the Road Trip With a Win in Columbus

Posted in Recap on January 27, 2011 by wildwing8

Before I start I just want to apologize for this post being late. School just started back this week, and I’ve got a lot on my plate. So I’ll try to get them up the day after, but as you can see with this post, I may not make that goal every game. Just bare with me guys.

Now that I’ve gotten that out the way, let’s talk about this great win. Well, the way they got the win wasn’t great, but the fact that they won is great. This win made them 3-1 on this critical road trip, and gave them some confidence going into the All-Star break.

Hiller was in net as per usual. Scratches were Mara, Brookbank, and Chipchura. Sutton played once again, and just like every game, his actions led to a goal against. Whether it be from penalties or him turning over the puck at horrible times, he always manages to screw things up.

The first period was a great one for the Ducks. Before it was great though, it was a but scary. Within the first few minutes, Perry got boarded really hard. He was down on the ice for a couple minutes and had to go back to the locker room. It didn’t look too good for him. Luckily, he did come back a few minutes later and looked completely fine. He’s one tough guy. Some good came out of this though. The guy who did it, Derek Dorsett, got a five minute major penalty for it. For those who may not know, when you score on a power play for a major penalty, the power play doesn’t end. The full five minutes have to go by. So you can theoretically score as many goals as possible in that time. About 30 seconds into the power play, the Ducks got a good rush going and Ryan gave a nice feed to Selanne who easily put the puck in the net. 1-0 Ducks. Less than a minute later, Fowler blasted the puck from a few feet inside the blue line, and since there was great traffic in front of the net, the Jackets goalie didn’t even see it go by him. Ducks up 2-0 five minutes into the period. They played well for most of the rest of the period. Until they took some costly penalties that resulted in Rick Nash scoring to make it 2-1. Oh and by “they took some costly penalties,” I mean “Sutton took a costly penalty.” His penalty made it 5-on-3, which is what led to the Jackets goal.

The second period was not good for the Ducks at all. As happens a lot, they pretty much fell asleep during this period. If not for Hiller, the score would have been tied, or worse, by the end of the period. While they did get some good chances, they just couldn’t connect on any of them to get that two goal lead back. The Ducks really need to work on playing a full 60 minute game. They just can’t keep falling asleep for whole periods. Hiller is good, but he can’t win it all by himself, he needs some help from his team.

Thankfully, the third period was a bit better for the Ducks. About five minutes into the period, Blake made a nice play coming from behind the net to score a nice goal that put the Ducks back up 3-1. This was also his 200th career goal, so congrats to Blake on that! They played pretty well for a bit after that goal. But about 10 minutes into the period, Visnovsky took a hooking penalty, and seven seconds after he sat down, Derick Brassard scored with a blast from pretty far out. That brought the Jackets back within one goal. The Ducks just barely held on to this one. It got pretty stressful there towards the end of the third, but they were able to keep it together to get the much needed two points. Ducks win 3-2.

The Ducks now have eight days off between games for the All-Star break. When they come back from the break, there’s only going to be 30 games left to play. Their record thus far is 28-20-4, which is good enough for 60 points. This puts them 2nd in the division, and 5th in the conference. Not bad at all considering how this team started the season. Since that horrible 4-7-1 start, the Ducks are 24-13-3. If their point percentage (.577) is exactly the same in the last 30 games, they’ll finish with about 96 points. Last season, the Colorado Avalanche were 8th in the conference come playoff time with 95 points. So with only 96 points, the Ducks may or may not barely squeak by into the 8th seed. I think they should shoot for about 100 points just to be safe.

If they continue this level of play, I have no doubt in my mind that they will make the playoffs. But that’s still months away.

The Ducks play the Sharks next Wednesday at Honda Center. So I’ll try to have the recap up by Thursday. Also, since Perry, Fowler, and Hiller will be taking part of the All-Star festivities this weekend, I’ll try to post some quick posts about things they do. So just check back sporadically over the weekend.


Ducks Hold On to Give Koivu a Win In His Return to Montreal

Posted in Recap on January 24, 2011 by wildwing8

Before I talk about Saturdays game, I’ll make a quick note about Thursday’s game. It was horrible. The Ducks lost 5-2, and all around they just didn’t play a good game. So much so that I don’t even feel like recapping it. I’m sure you don’t want to be reminded of it either, so let’s just move on.

Saturday night the Ducks took on the Montreal Canadiens. This was a pretty big game since it was the first time that Saku Koivu had been back to Montreal since he was traded to Anaheim two seasons ago. He played with the Habs for 13 seasons, and was the captain for 10. So this was sure to be an emotional game.

Hiller was in net as usual. The scratches were Chipchura, Mara and Brookbank. At first it was announced that Sutton was scratched, and Ducks fans everywhere rejoiced. But that was promptly changed a few minutes later, much to the dismay of Ducks fans.Still don’t get why Sutton plays night in and night out.

The game started out with an amazing standing ovation for Koivu. He was a starter, and thus was taking the opening faceoff. All the other players were just standing over by their respective benches to let Koivu have his moment. He was trying to get everyone to get the game going, but they didn’t budge one bit. It lasted a good few minutes before he convinced them to get the game started. It was surely a great sight to see.

The first period started off pretty well for the Ducks. Things were almost a complete 180 from the way they played on Thursday. Passes were crisp, and they were getting some pretty good chances. About halfway through the period, the Ducks had back to back power plays. The first one wasn’t all that great, and they couldn’t convert on it. The second one, however, was a different story. With just under 40 seconds left in that power play, Fowler got a nice pass from Visnovsky close to the blue line, and Cam blasted a rocket that went right past Carey Price  to put the Ducks up 1-0. Ducks also outshot the Habs 8-7 in the period.

The second period was a bit better for the Ducks, but it didn’t start out that way. Koivu took a pair of penalties early in the period. The first one was killed out fairly easily. Second one? Not so much. Max Pacioretty scored for the Habs during their power play to tie the game at 1-1. The Ducks didn’t the game be a tie for long, though. A bit less than 10 minutes later the Ducks would score on an interesting play. Lupul shot the puck, but it actually ended up bouncing off of Ryan’s shoulder (I’m pretty sure it was his shoulder), and going into the net. So Bobby gets the goal even though he didn’t really try. Then, about three minutes later, the Ducks would score again on a nice shot from Perry in front of the net while on the power play. Ducks up 3-1 now, and they’re 2/3 on the power play so far. They also outshot the Habs 11-10.

The third period is where things just sort of fell apart. Everything was looking pretty good for most of the period. They killed off an early penalty, and they were playing pretty good defense. They were holding on pretty well, and it looked like they were going to get the win in regulation. But with less than four minutes to go, it got ugly. Mathieu Darche scored at the 16:20 mark to bring the Habs within one goal of tying things up. All the Ducks had to do was hold on for three minutes and 40 seconds. Unfortunately, Koivu took a third penalty with a minute and 15 seconds left in the game. Ducks were holding on pretty good and it looked like they would pull out the win, but with 13 seconds left, Max Pacioretty scored again to tie the game up. This meant overtime.

Nothing too exciting happened in overtime, there was some good chances, but no goals. Time ran out and this one went to a shootout. Guess they wanted to make it interesting for Koivu’s return.

The Habs elected to shoot first in the shootout, and their first shooter, Benoit Pouliot, was denied by Hiller. Up first for the Ducks was Perry, who was stopped by Price.  Andrei Kostitsyn was up second for the Habs, and he was also stopped by Hiller. Ryan was up next for the Ducks and he scored! All Hiller had to do now was stop Brian Gionta and he would secure the win in Saku’s return to Montreal. He did just that, and the Ducks get a much needed win.

While the Ducks did get two points and the win, it wasn’t done in the best fashion. They had a two goal lead going into the third period, and they let the Habs catch up in the final four minutes of the game. That just can’t happen. They’ve got to get better at protecting leads. They need to build on them even. Not just sit on it and allow the other team to get back into the game.

One great things about this win tough was that the Ducks were great on the powerplay in this game. They converted two of the four opportunities that they had. For a powerplay that was once not too good for the Ducks, this is really great news. Hopefully they can keep this up as we get down the stretch here.

Tomorrow night the Ducks wrap up this road trip, and play their last game before the All-Star break in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. If things go the same as when these two teams first met, things should be pretty easy for the Ducks since they won that game 6-0. Let’s hope for the best.


Ducks Start the Road Trip With a Big Win

Posted in Recap on January 19, 2011 by wildwing8

Last night the Ducks kicked off their four game road trip against the Ottawa Senator. It’s getting to the point where pretty much every point in the standings matters.Especially since the Conference is so close in points right now. Only two points separate the 8th seed from the 4th seed. So the two points the Ducks got against the Senators were definitely much needed points.

Hiller was in net once again, and he was the main reason why the Ducks won this game. He saved their butts in many situations. Chipchura, Brookbank, and Lilja were scratched for the game. While it was nice to Mara actually get some playing time, I have no idea why Lilja would get benched over Sutton. Lilja has become a critical part of our defense, so it’s beyond me why he would get scratched. There was some speculation that the reason Mara played was to showcase him in preparation for an impending trade. Should be interesting to see how that plays out.

The first period wasn’t all that great for the Ducks. They just looked sluggish the whole time. It was like they were all skating with cement in their skates or something. Steve Carroll, on the radio broadcast, said that it could have been due to the fact that the team had to take a bus to the arena, and it was about 90 minutes ride or something like that. So their legs would have been stiff from that ride. Sounds plausible to me. They still found a way to score despite the sluggish skating though. At the 14:30 mark of the period, Perry somehow roofed a shot that came from his own rebound. I say that he somehow roofed it because he was facing away from the goal and falling to the ground as he took the shot. It was an amazing play that you’ve gotta watch to get the full effect. Here’s the link to it: Ducks went into the locker room with a 1-0 lead.

The second period wasn’t any better for the Ducks. They were still looking a bit sluggish out on the ice and just couldn’t get anything going offensively. They only managed three shots on goal the whole period, while the Senators had 15. Hiller was the only thing keeping them in the game at this point, but even Hiller can’t stop everything. With a little less than two minutes to play in the second period, there was scramble out in front of Hiller to try and free the puck up, and the Ducks were too focused on where the puck was and it cost them. The puck eventually came out right to Mike Fisher, who shot the puck past easily. Just like that it’s 1-1.

The third period was a bit better for the Ducks. They seemed to actually get going. Skating better, passing better, and actually getting some scoring chances. The shots were 12-11 in favor of the Ducks. Neither team was able to score a goal though, so to overtime we went.

The Ducks haven’t been to overtime for awhile, and I’m glad because as I’ve said before, I hate overtimes. The good side is that since it’s only 5 minutes, things seems to go a bit faster. Neither team tried too hard and tried to force a goal. The Ducks did manage two shots to the Senators one, so that was good. But no one scored, which meant a shootout.

Carlyle went with Perry, Ryan, and I believe Lupul. Not sure who was third since it never got that far for the Ducks. Ottawa opted to shoot first, and Hiller stopped it no problem. Perry had a good move, but was stopped as well. The Senators next shooter was stopped. Bobby was up next for the Ducks. He made a nice move and got the puck into the back of the net. All Hiller had to do was stop the next shooter and the game would be over. That’s exactly what he did. Ducks win 2-1.

As I’m sure you could tell from recap, this wasn’t the Ducks best game. They didn’t really get moving really well until the third period. The whole team should be so thankful to have Hiller as their goalie because he truly is why they won the game. Sure, Perry got that goal to put them up in the first. But without Hiller, this game would have had a completely different outcome.

Hopefully the Ducks can shake off the rust tomorrow in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. It’s a game that the Ducks should win since the Leafs aren’t doing all that great this season. Regardless of the outcome, it’ll be nice to get to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere again. Even though we traded him, he’ll always have a special place in most Ducks fans hearts. I still hope the Leafs lose though. We need the points, not them. At any rate, should be a good game. So I’ll see you all back here Friday for the recap of the game.



Ducks Fall Way Short in Phoenix, but Rebound Nicely Against the Oilers

Posted in Recap on January 17, 2011 by wildwing8

This weekend was one of ups and downs for the Ducks. Thankfully, they ended the weekend with the up part last night in their final home game before hitting the road for the next four games.

Saturday night the Ducks took on the Phoenix Coyotes, and it was a game that I’m sure we all wish we could forget. Hiller was in net, and I’m not sure what really happened to him. I guess he was just having an off night, as was the rest of the team. It was pretty sad to watch.

Things didn’t really start out that bad. Ray Whitney scored 7:35 into the period. So of course, we were all like “uh oh.” But, the Ducks got right back on the board less than two minutes later with a slapshot from Beleskey. It was all tied up 1-1 now. Things just went all down hill at the start of the second, though. In this period, the Coyotes got one goal each from Adrian Aucoin, Taylor Pyatt, and Sami Lepisto. So by this point, I was pretty discouraged by this game, but there was still some hope that they could turn things around in the third. Seven minutes into the third, however, that hope went away with a second goal from Ray Whitney, which made it 5-1. There was no way a comeback was going to happen with the way the Ducks were playing. They did get another goal from Perry about five minutes later, but it was too little too late. Especially considering the fact that Lee Stempniak scored again for the Coyotes with four minutes left in the game. Ducks lose big 6-2.

The Ducks played last night at Honda Center against the Oilers for the second game of this back to back, and they got a much needed win. McElhinney got the nod instead of Hiller, and he played a great game. It started off pretty good for the Ducks when Sbisa fired a one-timer past Nikolai Khabibulin to put the Ducks up 1-0. About seven minutes later the Ducks got on the board again when Selanne banged home a rebound from a Visnovsky shot. That was Selanne’s 1,300th point so congrats to him. The second period was more of the same. The Oilers got some pretty good chances, but McElhinney stopped them pretty easily. Ducks stopped two penalties in the early minutes of the period, which showed that their PK is still doing phenomenal.

About half way through the second there was a pretty scary moment involving McElhinney. He made a pretty good stop, but went down right after the save. The subsequent replays were pretty hard to watch. After he made the save, he cam down right onto Lapierre’s skate blade. So the blade cut McElhinney under the chin, really close to his throat. It still makes me kind of shutter when I think about it. He was bleeding pretty good for a bit and had to go back to the locker room to get all cleaned up. Hiller stepped in for him and was solid for three minutes or so that he was in. McElhinney came back surprisingly fast, which was great to see. Gotta feel bad for the guy since the last time he started, he got hurt too. Thankfully he was okay though. A few minutes after he got back, Selanne put the Ducks up 3-0 when he redirected a Visnovsky shot. Unfortunately, the Oilers would score twice in the 1:12 following the Selanne goal, with goals from Magnus Paajarvi and Sam Gagner. Just some unlucky breaks for McElhinney who had been solid up to this point. Those would be his only mishaps as the Ducks would hold on tight to pull out the win and get the two points. Ducks win 3-2.

Those two game just goes to show that the Ducks haven’t really dealt with all their consistency issues. Even in last night’s win, they didn’t play a full 60 minutes. They played pretty well for the first 40, with the exception of that one minute span towards the end of the second, but they kinda of fell asleep in the third. They were lucky that the Oilers didn’t tie it up. They took a couple horrible penalties towards the end of the third that ended up in a 5-on-3 power play for the Oilers. It was a good thing that McElhinney was so solid and that the PK lines played well, since it could have easily went into OT.

I have to hand it to Sutton though. He actually made a good play during that critical PK at the end of the game. He’s finally doing something. I hope he can keep that up and that’s not all we’re going to see from him. I think he has the potential to be really great, but he just hasn’t been able to get anything going this season.

A quick note about the Ducks special teams. The power play is currently third in the NHL at 23.3%. That’s definitely good to see, as that’s pretty much has been the key to the recent success of this team. Without those goals, we wouldn’t have won so many games as of late. Their PK is 15th in the league at 82%, which is not bad. Most of that has to have been from earlier in the season because they are currently 29 for 30 on the PK, which is 96.7%. If things keep on like that, they will definitely jump higher in the PK ranks.

Tomorrow the Ducks start their four game road trip in Ottawa to face the Senators. Hopefully this road trip will be better than the last. I think it will be since they have been playing a lot better since getting back from that trip. I tried to condense the recaps of the games a bit more, so sorry if it was a bit sporadic. Back to backs are hard. But hopefully it was still a good read. So I’ll see you guys back here Wednesday for the recap of tomorrows game.


Ryan’s Hat Trick Propels the Ducks Past the Blues

Posted in Recap on January 13, 2011 by wildwing8

That has to be the best game for the Ducks this whole season. Once again, everything seemed to go their way for most of the game. Not only that, but they just played at the top of their game, with the exception of the second period, but more on that later.

Hiller was in net again, and once again he played pretty well for the most part. Mara, Brookbank, and Chipchura were scratched once again. Still don’t really get that one.

The first period was a great one for the Ducks. Only about two minutes into the game, they got an early power play when Philip McRae tripped Sbisa behind the Ducks net. At first it looked like they weren’t going to be able to capitalize on this opportunity, but things changed pretty fast. With about 20 seconds left in the power play, Bobby got a nice pass from Lupul at the bottom of the left wing circle and he fired it past Ty Conklin to put the Ducks up 1-0. A litlle less than four minutes after that first goal, the Ducks would strike again. This time it was Blake who picked up a rebound behind the net, and threw his pass in front of the net where it bounced off the skate of a Blues player. Ducks up 2-0 now. With a bit under two minutes left in the period, Perry was fighting to get the puck free while behind the Blues net, and ended up falling on his back. Play should be over right? Nope. While on his back, Perry somehow managed to get a stick on the puck to knock it out in front to Bobby who blasted it into the net. Just like that, the Ducks are up 3-0.

The Ducks would start the second period on the PK, which has been awesome as of late. That was the second penalty of the game that the Ducks killed off. If the PK keeps up the level of the play we’ve seen the last few games, it would bode well for the rest of the season. After this though, the Ducks pretty much fell asleep for the rest of the second. The Blues would get two goals less than three minutes apart from David Backes. Once at 3:44 off a breakaway that was the result of a Beleskey turnover, and the other at 6:15 off a shot that just got by Hiller. Thankfully, that’s all the Ducks gave up in the second. There were a few times where Hiller had to make some amazing saves to keep them from scoring any more goals. Second period ends at 3-2.

The third period started off on an amazing note. Just 30 seconds into the period, Bobby tipped in a shot to give him the HAT TRICK! It was his second this year, the third of his career, and his first on home ice. It was an awesome thing to see in person. The Ducks were keeping up the pressure following this goal, and it paid off about six minutes into the period. Conklin went behind the net to make a play on the puck, and Corey put some huge pressure on him. Somehow Conklin managed to get himself stuck in the net, which allowed Corey to wrap the puck around into an open net. It’s 5-2 Ducks now. The Blues took another tripping penalty, and Visnovsky blasted the puck straight towards the net and it ricocheted off Conklin’s glove and into the net. After this goal, things got pretty crazy.

At 13:47, Parros and Jackman got into a pretty good fight that Parros clearly won. Just three seconds later, Lapierre and Crombeen got into another fight. Crombeen got the slight upper hand in this one, but as Lapierre was heading to the box, he was laughing and pointing up to the scoreboard. I thought that was pretty funny. You can tell the guys were just having fun with it now. Then, 15 seconds after that last bout, things erupted again. Everyone on the ice got into this one. The best part was Sbisa getting into a great fight and whooping Brewer, who is the captain of the Blues. Way to go, Sbisa! During that scuffle, Lupul got a 10 minute misconduct, as did Brad Winchester. Winchester also got a 2 minute minor for kneeing as well. As all this was happening, the crowd was so pumped up. I don’t think I’ve heard it so loud in there before. It was amazing.  So the Ducks would get a power play from this. On the ensuing power play, Sutton actually made a nice pass that set McMillan up for the power play goal. Ducks up 7-2.

The Blues scored again at 16:20 on a sloppy play by Visnovsky that led to a shot by Matt D’agostini, and a rebound goal by Ryan Reaves. Ducks still up 7-3, though. About a minute after that goal, Beleskey got into a fight with Vladimir Sobotka. Beleskey also got a 2 minute minor for hooking as well. So the Blues were on a power play. Twenty seconds later, Marchant flipped the puck over the glass and got a delay of game penalty, which gave the Blues a 5-on-3 power play. At this point, there were I believe SIX guys in the Anaheim penalty box. Marchant actually had to stand up in the box. The Blues would get a goal on this power play which made it 7-4. Thankfully the game ended before the Blues could score again. Ducks win 7-4.

What a game. I’m so glad I was able to see it in person. Bobby got a hat trick, Ducks scored 7 goals, and there was a bunch of fights. While I do wish they wouldn’t have gotten a bit lazy and let those last two goals in, they still own by three goals. So I can’t really speak negatively about it.

That’s now three wins in a row, and five of six on that homestand. Those were 10 points that we desperately needed, and will go a long ways to helping us make the playoffs.

Hopefully they can continue this momentum into Saturday’s game in Phoenix, and Sunday’s game at home against the Oilers. I will most likely just recap both games in one post on Monday. So I’ll see you guys then.


Ducks Hand the Sharks Their Fourth Straight Loss

Posted in Recap on January 10, 2011 by wildwing8

I think the title says it all. Well, actually it doesn’t. The Ducks didn’t just give the Sharks their fourth loss in a row, they also shut them out 1-0. While the score may make it seem like not much really happened in the game, it’s far from the truth. It was a really good game that had everyone on the edge of their seats for most of the game.

As always, Hiller was in goal. He put on another All-Star worth performance last night; he was the reason why the Ducks won this game. Without him.. Well I don’t even want to think about how it would have looked if he wasn’t there.

Mara, Brookbank, and Chipchura were scratched again. Not even going to comment on the defenseman being scratched. I think Chipchura was scratched because of Lapierre. In my opinion, that’s a good move since Max has looked great since he got to Anaheim.

One thing before I jump into the recap, there was SO many Sharks fans in attendance last night for the game. They came from San Jose by the busloads and invaded Honda Center with a sea of teal in sections 408 and 409. I’m sure that was long boring bus ride home, but at least they had each other’s shoulders to cry on after the loss. Anyways, let’s get into it.

The first period was pretty back and forth for the most part. The Ducks had some pretty good chances early on in the period, but couldn’t really get much going. They tried to set up some plays, but the Sharks were putting some pressure on the Ducks that kept them from getting very many quality chances. The Sharks on the other hand had quite a few quality scoring chances since they spent the majority of the time in the Ducks zone. Thankfully Hiller ate his Wheaties yesterday, and stopped everything that the Sharks threw his way. There were a few times where the Sharks should have had a goal, but Hiller was able to get a pad on it or snap it up in his glove much to the dismay of the Sharks players I’m sure. Neither team would score in the period, but the Sharks outshot the Ducks 12-8 in the period.

The second period started out pretty frustrating. Within the first seven minutes or so, the Ducks would get called for two ridiculous penalties, while I’m pretty sure there was at least one Sharks player that should have gone to the box. The refs seemed to be pretty much blind to anything the Sharks did in this period, though. One of the penalties, I believe it was the first one, was pretty nerve-racking since they spent just about the whole two minutes in the Ducks zone. They would be able to kill off both of the penalties, mainly because of some more stellar play from Hiller. About 14 minutes into the second, the whole game would change. Bobby took a shot that was stopped, but he got the puck again and took it all the way from the left wing circle to just below the right wing face off dot and showed some ridiculous patience before he shot the puck past the Sharks goalie to put the Ducks up 1-0. Since it had been pretty tense up until that point, the crowd was extra loud after the goal. I couldn’t see the section where all the Sharks fans were sitting, but I’m sure they all looked very sad.

The third period was just more of the Sharks trying desperately to get the tying goal. After getting called for a third dumb penalty, the refs finally made a good call and sent Jamal Mayers to the box for tripping, and then sent Joe Thornton a few minutes later for a shameless cross check on Koivu, who had been knocked to the ice and on his stomach at the time. Unfortunately, the Ducks couldn’t convert on either of the power plays. Which meant that the final few minutes of the game made my heart pound like crazy. The Sharks had some more good opportunities, but couldn’t get past Hiller, even with an extra attacker. Ducks shutout the Sharks 1-0.

That was one of the most satisfying wins of the season. Even though we had a shutout just this past Friday against the Blue Jackets, this was felt much better since it was against our Division rivals. Not to mention the joy of seeing all the Sharks drag their feet back to their buses and cars afterwards.

There was some really great things to take away from last night’s game besides just the win. First and foremost, Hiller was awesome once again. He has been playing at an All-Star level lately, and if he doesn’t make the All-Star team, I would be VERY surprised to say the least. He was also named as NHL’s 2nd Star of the Week. He was 2-1 last week, with a goals-against average of 0.67, along with a save percentage of .977. Those stats pretty much speak for themselves.

Another good thing was the Ducks penalty kill. Since the refs were against them the whole game, the PK had no room for mistakes. They knew that, and played their hearts out. While they did often had a hard time clearing the puck, they didn’t make it easy for the Sharks to get a lot of good chances while on their power play. Hopefully that level of play keeps up as the season goes on.

Overall, it was a great game for the Ducks. They now sit happily at 2nd place in their division, and 5th place in the conference. While they do have at least two games on everyone above them in the conference, the direction their headed in is a good one. Those games in hand don’t mean anything if those teams don’t win them.

Wednesday the Ducks take on the St. Louis Blues at Honda Center. So that means I’ll see you guys back here Thursday for the recap of that game.



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