The Honda Center played host to the annual meeting of the Battle of the Birds on Friday night, with the Ducks taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. I was in attendance, along with 17, 173 other fans of the fowl for the second sell-out game of the season.
Going into the game, the Pens were 4-0-1 in 5 meetings with the Ducks dating back to the lockout. Marc-Andre Fleury, who was 4-0 versus the Ducks, was attempting to become the 7th youngest goaltender in NHL history to reach 150 wins. The last place team in the Pacific Division, the Ducks, made sure this didn’t happen.
The Ducks did not take this match up lightly and came out swinging (literally), with George Parros dropping gloves with Pens’ bruiser, Deryk Engelland, less than two minutes into the game. Not to be outdone, the Ducks’ Captain, Ryan Getzlaf, took it upon himself to harass, jab, and jaw at former Canadian teammate, Sidney Crosby, throughout the first period as well.
Although outshot overall 19-32, the Ducks made the most of their shots, netting three backdoor against the frazzled 1-6 Fleury. The Ducks got second period goals from Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Saku Koivu with Ryan assisting Getzy’s goal and defenseman, Lubomir Visnovsky, assisting the other two. Visnovsky has 11 assists on the season, tying him for second with Getzlaf and two others as the highest in the League. Teemu Selanne, aka “The Finnish Flash,” reached yet another milestone on Friday appearing in his 1,200th career game.
Jonas Hiller staved off the Pens’ third period rally as well as 30 shots throughout the game allowing only the 2005 #1 draft pick (Sidney Crosby) to tally twice against him. Crosby, who won 64% of his draws last night, checked off the Anaheim Ducks as the last of five teams whom he’s never scored on, leaving only the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks, and St Louis Blues.
Last night’s game could perhaps signify a turning point for the Ducks who had seen only 4 wins in 12 games up until their game versus Tampa Bay and who now have a two game win streak for the first time this season.
The Ducks continue their home stand on Sunday, November 7th at 5:05 pm when they host the Nashville Predators for their second meeting of the season.
Thereafter, the Ducks fly north once again to take on their rivals, the San Jose Sharks, for the second time in five games. Their last meeting on the night before Halloween did not fare well for Ducks, who were on the losing end of more than just goals scored; losing fights, hits, shots on goals, and held to no power plays until the third period.
Sunday’s game will be on PRIME TICKET.
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Written by KARLY TAMBARA