Wha? Huh? Oh! Is it time to wake up? I think I took a nap during the Ducks and Sharks game on Wednesday. Problem was, the Ducks took a nap, too, and lost 4-3. By the time they woke up, Jonas Hiller was chased out of the net after letting in three goals on 10 shots.
Facing Colorado on the road, the Ducks actually started the game in an awake state. Amazing how that will go a long way to winning a game.
Hiller has been feeling fatigued and light-headed (Ducks fans weren’t feeling any better after Wednesday’s effort), so he has been excused from his usual goaltending duties. Timo Pielmeier was called to back up Curtis McElhinney, but there was no need to call on the back up in this game.
McElhinney stopped all 25 shots for his second shut out of the season. The second shut out of the season is a bit more impressive considering that those represent two of his four wins this season. He might not get many opportunities in net, or be put into ideal situations, but when he is, he performs very well for the Ducks.
The star of the show was Corey Perry. With his second hat trick of the season (and his career), Perry made sure the puck got in the net. He sealed the victory for the Ducks with an empty net goal at the end, but he could easily have had the hat trick earlier in the game with eight shots on goal and another five that either missed or were blocked by the Avalanche.
The Avalanche shot themselves in the foot by taking so many penalties in the game, five of six coming in the first period alone. Perry broke the scoreless tie at 13:51 on the Ducks second power play.
While unable to convert on a 5 on 3 at the end of the period, the Ducks were able to make it 2-0 at 1:53 of the second. The Avs, who were much more disciplined after that, could not get anything past McElhinney.
When Peter Budaj was pulled for the extra attacker late in the third period, the Avs still had a good chance of tying up the game. The empty net goal to complete the hat trick at 19:42 sucked that possibility right out the door. The Ducks had not shut out the Avs since 2003.
The dads who were on the annual father-son road trip were certainly happy with the outcome. The Ducks were happy with the outcome. Coach Randy Carlyle had to be happier with the outcome (although is he ever really truly pleased?)
And so erasing a lousy and self-described “lethargic” effort on Wednesday, the Ducks start their four game road trip on the right foot with a win.
Next up? Oh Canada. With tilts in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. As long as they are awake for those matches, they should be fine.
In other notes: Ryan Getzlaf was cleared for contact and could play on Wednesday in Vancouver, if ready. Hiller remains day to day, but is likely to be ready to go on Wednesday as well. If not, McElhinney is not a bad option for the Ducks.