A five game losing streak seems like an eternity, especially at this time of year. For now, the streak is over and Ducks finally have a much needed win. However, even though the 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche was as huge a sigh of relief for Anaheim, they are still treading water in the standings, remaining in 11th place.
The first period saw three fights early on and then Kevin Porter tapped in the puck behind Dan Ellis at 12:07. Ellis is still getting used to the ice and boards at the Honda Center and that worked to the Avs advantage.
The Ducks came out much better in the second period and Ryan Getzlaf tied up the game at 1:43. Three consecutive power plays yielded nothing for Anaheim, who has been struggling with the extra man of late.
Then the most unlikely candidate on the Ducks scored. OK, second most after the goaltender. Todd Marchant got his first goal of the year, and the first one since March 17, 2010, a mere 71 games before. The celebration at 17:51 was deservedly huge for the workhorse veteran.
“Jarkko Ruutu made a great play on the wall and got it to me,”said Marchant. “Believe it or not, it’s something just about every team practices every day – get it wide and go to the net on a middle lane drive. (Luca) Sbisa made a great play to put it back on my stick. All I did was just redirect it.”
The Ducks took the 2-1 lead into the third period, but Dave Jones tied up the game once more at 1:43.
Finally the Ducks were able to capitalize on a power play. With Brandon Yip in the box for a high sticking double minor, Brandon McMillan finished off Bobby Ryan’s rebound at 11:23. Colorado’s penalty killers were exhausted and Peter Budaj had no chance. McMillan continues to be a breath of fresh air for the Ducks with 9 goals and 17 points.
Instead of putting away the Avs, the Ducks thought they would continue to play it close and with less than 1 second remaining in the game, Milan Hejduk rang a shot off the crossbar, the post and back out again. It did not cross the line, but did require a review to make sure there was no overtime.
“The last shot I didn’t see at all,” Ellis admitted. “I was down trying to cover everything low and on that post. All of a sudden the puck came out of nowhere and hit me on the side of the head. I heard it hit a post. I was just praying that it hit the right post. Thank God it stayed out.”
By staying out, Ellis earned his first win as a Duck and more importantly the Ducks earned two points.
“You have to find ways to get points at this time of the year,” said coach Randy Carlyle. “Hopefully this is a springboard for our hockey club to get back to playing the way we are quite capable of playing.”
The Ducks dive into historically tough competition on Wednesday when the Detroit Red Wings come to town. How they fare against the Wings will say a lot about their post season chances.
In other notes: The Ducks made a minor league trade with the Boston Bruins on Sunday evening, trading away Stefan Chaput and David Laliberte in exchange for Sean Zimmerman and Brian McGrattan. Saku Koivu missed his third game with a groin strain.