After dominating on a four game road trip, the Ducks returned home for a minute to play host to the talented, but under-performing, Capitals tonight.
On their travels to Colorado and through Canada, the Ducks became one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Versus the pre-Forsberg Avalanche, Curtis McEhinney, who had to step between the pipes for the scratched Hiller due to fatigue and light headedness, put up his second career/season shut out with 35 blocked shots. Corey Perry continued his All-Star excellence with a hat trick, becoming the first Duck to score all of his team’s goals in a win. Ducks won 3-0.
The Ducks then saw the return of their Captain, Ryan Getlzaf who, along with 59% of the NHL, was finally sporting a large visor to protect his previously busted nasal cavity. Getzlaf quickly became the most hated man in Vancouver when he rendered Canuck, Dan Hamhuis, unconscious after an unintentional collusion behind the net. With McElhinney still in goal, the Ducks also won this one, 4-3, with two goals from Bobby Ryan and two assists from the Finnish Flash.
Continuing through Canada, the Ducks stopped off at the Scotiabank Saddledome to take another game from the Calgary Flames in OT. Saku Koivu had two goals and an assist and Selanne tied the game up so that rookie, Cam Fowler, could light the lamp with 19 seconds remaining in OT. Says Selanne of the 19 year old, “If this guy doesn’t win the Norris Trophy one day, it’s going to be a crime.” Ducks won 5-4.
After making short work of the Flames, the Ducks continued through Canada to take on the other Alberta team, the Oilers, aka the worst team in the League. The Ducks saw the return of Hiller in the net, who tallied his fifth shutout of the season (11th career). Having to stop only twelve shots on goal the entire game, Hiller chalked this one up as “the easiest shutout of my career.”
Perhaps having had the chance to relax on defense in the game versus the Flames, the Ducks, and the Caps for that matter, played almost none in tonight’s game. McElhinney was in the net once again since Hiller was placed on the IR with a recurrence of fatigue/light headedness. Hiller who ranks third in the NHL in saves, will miss three games and be eligible to play again on President’s Day. The Ducks missed him dearly tonight in a 7-6 loss that saw no less than four goals each period with lots of points spread around the two teams and Alexander Semin getting his fourth hat trick of the season (7th career). The teams went back in forth holding the lead, but Semin scored with 1:47 remaining in the third and the Caps held the Ducks off for the rest of the time.
With their four game win streak over, the Ducks will head to Minnesota and St Louis for two more road games before a seven game home stand.
The Pens are still without Malkin and Crosby.
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Written by KARLY TAMBARA