While Southern California has been bombarded with torrential (for So Cal standards) rains, flooding, and enough bad drivers to fill-up a “how not to drive” manual, the Ducks have been busy on the East Coast, trying to make the best of their seven game road trip. To date, the Ducks have played five games; won two and lost three.
Last Wednesday, the Ducks kicked off their trip against the struggling, but ever popular, Washington Capitals. Even without their leading goal scorer, Alexander Semin, the Caps outshot the Ducks 32-24. Their only problem was that, despite close calls from Alex Ovechkin and a sure shot from Backstrom within minutes of each other, only one of the Caps’ 32 shots hit the back of the net. Goals were scored by Bruce Laich (Caps) in the first, and tied by Joffrey Lupul (Ducks) on a power play goal in the second. The Ducks handed the Caps their 7th straight loss with Ryan Getzlaf’s over-time goal four minutes and three seconds into the five minute extra period.
Less than 24 hours later, the Ducks inhabited Nassau Coliseum to take on the New York Islanders. Apparently, Curtis McElhinney and the Ducks were tired from the traveling and the extra minutes the night before because they allowed three goals in the first period all within 99 seconds of each other. Hiller, who must not have been tired from the three plus periods and stopping 31 shots against the Caps, came in for relief. Attempting to fight their way back, both George Parros and Sheldon Brookbank put forth their best fighting efforts in the first and second, while Joffrey Lupul scored, yet again, assisted by Saku Koivu and former Islander, Jason Blake, who also scored. You win some and you lose some and, in this case, if you’re the last place Islanders, you win two games in the last 22 you’ve played.
Hoping to bounce back against the sting of losing to the last place team in the League, the Ducks were hosted by the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. With Teemu Selanne back into the line up after being off several games due to a on again off again groin injury, the Ducks got off to a quick start, with Ryan Getzlaf scoring two minutes into the first period, assisted by line mates, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan. After that, it became the Eric Staal show, however, when the least attractive of the Staal brothers acquired a natural hat trick after only 22 minutes of play. The hat trick was the Hurricane Captain’s 12th of his career. Getzy scored again in the third and the Ducks ALMOST had a chance to tie up the game when, with three minutes remaining, the ‘Canes got three penalties within a 30 second period. This led to a 6 on 3 once Hiller was pulled. But, despite their best efforts, the power play only resulted in an empty net goal by Joe Corvo for a 2-4 loss.
The trip has not been complete doom and gloom for the Ducks, however, because they managed to shut out the Boston Bruins on Monday with a 3-0 win. Despite being out shot, like always, 45-25, Jonas Hiller managed to obtain his second shut out of the season and 8th of his career while Rookie, Brandon McMillan, had his first multipoint game of his career, with a goal in the first and an assist on Corey Perry’s goal in the third.
This evening, however, the Ducks once again gave up too many goals in the first period, and lost to the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC arena in their only meeting of the season. Curtis McElhinney was once again in between the pipes as Jonas Hiller has played a League high, 32 games thus far. Sabres’ rookie, Tyler Ennis, had two goals for Buffalo, who seem to have rebounded after their weekend losses during which time, their likeable netminder got engaged to Noureen DeWulf. The Sabres outshot the Ducks 42-23 with the Ducks’ goals both coming from Corey Perry in the third and assisted by Selanne (2), Fowler, and Getzlaf. The game got a bit frisky at one point in the game with Getzlaf, Chipchura, and Parros all ending up serving time for dropping their gloves.
Meanwhile, the Penguins’ two-headed monster annihilated the Ducks’ Division rivals, the Phoenix Coyotes, Saturday 6-1, with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin combining for eight points. Crosby extended his career high point streak to 21 games and Malkin has had five goals in his first three games back after missing four games due to injury. Pens host the Panthers Wednesday night, the same night as HBO’s “24/7” leading up to the Winter Classic.
Ducks face the Los Angeles Kings after Christmas for Game 2 of their 6 games this season.
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Written by KARLY TAMBARA