The New Jersey Devils had the worst record in the league and a three game losing streak coming into the Honda Center. The Ducks wanted to win two in a row for the first time this season. Two guesses how this one came out. The Devils still are lingering in the basement, but they finally got their third win with a 2-1 victory over the Ducks. Anaheim? Still looking for a way to string wins together.
The only description for the first period of the game was boring. Flat and uninspired by both teams and an announced crowd of 14,724, equally unimpressed just two days before Halloween.
A little life was breathed into the building and the fans when Jason Blake scored a power play goal at 8:07 of the second period. Blake, who had been a healthy scratch the previous game and called out by coach Randy Carlyle, redeemed himself by pushing the puck beyond Martin Brodeur and putting the Ducks on the board.
“You can’t score if you don’t shoot,” said Blake after the game. “(Brodeur’s) obviously a Hall of Fame goaltender. You try to get as many shots as possible. He’s probably going to save the first one. You just try to get some bodies there and disrupt his rebound chances.”
The lead was short-lived when Jamie Langenbrunner put a puck past Jonas Hiller at 10:39. The Devils took their first lead in the third period with a goal from Patrik Elias at 1:54. Danny Syvret deserved a special assist for turning over the puck to Alexander Vasyunov, who made the perfect pass to Elias.
That turnover sunk the Ducks and ended up being the game-winning goal.
The Ducks had plenty of chances, including a few more on the power play. Pulling Hiller for the extra attacker, the Ducks came within inches of tying up the game but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. If the puck does not cross the line, it doesn’t matter if it missed by an inch or a mile.
“Every time we get it going, we play a game like tonight and lose and it starts all over again,” said Hiller, who made 25 saves. “It would be great if we got a streak going.”
Anaheim does not have long to wait to try again. They play the San Jose Sharks on Saturday evening, their first meeting of the year. If they play like last night, they just might start another losing streak, the only thing the Ducks seem good at this season.
In other notes: Josh Green was recalled from Syracuse in light of the injuries suffered to Dan Sexton and Matt Beleskey while on the road trip. Cam Fowler missed his fifth game in a row recovering from a stiff neck and broken nose.