With only 30 games left and the Ducks still languishing at 28th overall, every single game counts and every single point matters. Two points have to be earned every single night. Realistically, they won’t be, but statistically, they have to be.
The Ducks earned two points against Calgary at home on Monday night in a 3-2 victory, but they did not do it the easy way. It took eight rounds of the shootout to determine who would get the extra bonus point. With the way both goaltenders were playing, it could have taken longer.
Fortunately Niklas Hagman lifted the puck over a sprawling Miikka Kiprusoff to give the Ducks a chance. Jonas Hiller then stopped Mikael Backlund, barely, to make sure the Ducks had the win.
“It’s obviously a huge win for us,” said Hagman. “It’s a goalie I’ve practiced a lot against. Quite a bit. I don’t have that many moves. He knows my go-to moves. I wanted to come with good speed. Luckily for me, he probably thought I’m going to go with my backhand.”
The last time the Ducks had that much of a nail biter in the shootout was a 13 round venture against Vancouver a couple of Halloween’s ago.
Poor Calgary can’t buy a win in Anaheim. The last time they won in Anaheim it was January 19, 2004. Eight long years. One year for each round of the shootout.
Kiprusoff will just have to wait one more game to get career win 300.
Bobby Ryan got the scoring started with his 20th goal of the season at 15:52 of the first period. Matt Beleskey then tipped in Sheldon Brookbank’s shot nearly two minutes later at 17:51 to give Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Brookbank hasn’t had a goal in nearly three years (2008-2009 season), but at least he got the assist.
In the second period, a defensive breakdown by the Ducks allowed Alex Tanguay to put the Flames on the board at 4:41. Anaheim had a great opportunity to restore the two goal lead a few minutes later with a long 5 on 3 power play. They could not capitalize, despite spending nearly the entire 90 seconds in the Flames zone. A couple of posts by Saku Koivu and some near misses kept the Ducks from scoring and gave Calgary a big boost.
“You can’t get better chances than we had, better looks than we had,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We just didn’t put it in. Whether Kiprusoff was making great saves or we were hitting the post, I thought it was a big turning point in the game, quite frankly. It sure gave them life.”
With Luca Sbisa handed a five minute major penalty for an odd head to head hit on Tim Jackman, the Flames tied up the game at 6:15 of the third period. Jarome Iginla got behind the defense and made his goal look easy. The Ducks were fortunate that there were no other goals scored during the long five minutes.
Hiller kept them in the game and got them into overtime and held fast in the shootout.
“We had a couple of chances to win there,” Kiprusoff said. “But it’s not easy when their goalie makes big saves there. They had a good start, but I think the second period with our (score-tying) goal was huge. I thought we were able to push back. It’s a good one point, but we had the chance to take two.”
On the other hand, the Ducks needed those two points. They will need two more on Wednesday against Carolina.