After a busy and momentous weekend that saw the Ducks trade Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Toronto, the game against Florida sort of felt like an afterthought. At least it felt that way for fans. For the team, they got the job done and Jonas Hiller earned his first shut-out (second of the year) since being handed a new contract and the clear number one spot in net.
It took a while for the Ducks to get anything past Tomas Vokoun, but in the second period, Ryan Getzlaf took advantage of a perfectly placed turnover that landed right at his feet. Getzlaf was more than happy to put the puck in the net, getting the Ducks on the board at 15:17.
Late in the period, Keith Ballard was in the box for accidentally high sticking George Parros. Teemu Selanne, who had missed the past two and a half weeks with a broken jaw, picked up where he left off and got a power play goal with less than :01 second remaining. That makes goal number 596, four away from 600. Selanne is tied with Bobby Ryan for most power play goals on the team, 8, even though Selanne has only played slightly more than half the season.
The second goal seemed to crush the Panthers and they never recovered. Corey Perry extended the score to 3-0 at 17:18 and Hiller stopped 33 shots to get the win.
The Ducks finished the road trip 3-3 and now head back to California for games against Detroit on Wednesday and the Kings on Thursday (that one on LA). How huge will the game be against Detroit? Gigantic. Only three points separate the Ducks and Red Wings in the standings and the Red Wings are tenuously holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Ducks have learned on this road trip that a couple of wins can edge you closer to your goal, but a couple of losses to quickly drop you down the standings ladder. The Ducks want to continue to move up, not down, and still cannot afford to miss any points that are up for grabs.
In other notes: Matt Beleskey was sent back to Bakersfield in order to make room on the roster for incoming players.