Ducks usually fly south for the winter, but in this case, the Anaheim Ducks flew north to Edmonton and had their scoring freeze finally thaw out. Scoreless in their previous two efforts, the Ducks got a couple goals and found a way to get a shootout win over the Oilers, who had a four game winning streak going into the night’s game.
It was no coincidence that the Ducks scorelessness occurred with Teemu Selanne out of the line up with lingering groin issues. Put him back in, and suddenly the red light goes on.
Selanne assisted on Saku Koivu’s goal at 5:44 of the first period and got his ninth of the year at 6:32 of the third period to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Yes, the Ducks missed him indeed.
The Ducks also missed an opportunity to finish off the game in regulation by letting Edmonton get on the board. Goals from Ryan Jones at 10:29 and former Duck, Dustin Penner, at 13:39 tied up the game.
Overtime yielded nothing, so the game had to go to a shootout. Jonas Hiller, who had 34 saves during the first 65 minutes and Nikolai Khabibulin, who had 30 saves, continued to stop shots.
The shootout went 10 rounds, with only goals from Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Hall in the first three rounds that left it to sudden death. Back and forth. Back and forth. A couple shots missed, a couple hit the post, but nothing would go in behind either goaltender.
While all teams have at least a half dozen guys they can rely on in the shootout, once you get past that, choices are less traditional. For round 10, the Ducks pulled a 19-year-old out off the bench. Cam Fowler, who just celebrated his birthday on Sunday, showed yet another one of talents and abilities. Useful in a shootout.
“I asked him and I asked a few guys,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “He was, ‘I don’t know, I think I can do it.’ Then, he goes out and does it. Some guys kind of hide. Other guys like to step up. When it goes that deep and you’ve got 10 shooters, you need a break to go your way. Both goaltenders made some big stops.”
Fowler’s efforts helped the Ducks earn two points and get out of a brief losing slump.
“I wanted to shoot,” Fowler said. “I didn’t want to risk putting a move on because Khabibulin had already made some really nice saves on guys that have way better moves than me. I thought my best chance was to go in and pick a spot. Luckily it found the back of the net.”
Fowler and the rest of the Ducks now fly to Vancouver for the second of a back-to-back series. Going with two points and a win will certainly help morale.