Apparently Ducks fans have gotten spoiled of late with all the offense coming from their team. Some of the natives were a little restless when Anaheim only scored two goals in their victory over Ottawa. If fans wanted wings at Hooters, they would have to pay for them on their own, but who cares when you have another notch in the win column?
Both the Ducks and Senators have been doing well of late. Both teams had won six of the past seven games. The Saturday matinee match up reflected how relatively even the teams were.
Neither team got a shot on goal for quite a while in the first period. The Ducks got their first shot at 6:46 from Jason Blake, who was in the line up after missing a couple days of practice nursing a sore ankle that had deflected a shot in Wednesday’s game against Phoenix.
The Senators, despite an early power play spent mostly in the Ducks zone, did not get their first shot until a couple minutes later. Part of Ottawa’s problem was Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin, who just signed a three year contract extension, blocked nine shots in the game, including one during the early power play that sent him to the locker room hobbling.
Beauchemin was not the only one blocking shots. Toni Lydman handled five and the rest of the team pitched in for a total of 22 blocks. Ice bags for everyone!
The whole team pitched in to make sure that the score was still tied at 0-0 at the end of the first period.
“Everybody was sacrificing and playing for the team, and that’s the way you win,” said goaltender Jonas Hiller. “It’s a lot of fun to play like that.”
In the second period, the Ducks were finally rewarded for their hard work. Corey Perry was perched right in front of Craig Anderson and he was finally able to put one behind him at 6:15. The crowd erupted, worried it might go to a 1-0 shootout.
At 17:00, the score extended to 2-0 with a goal from Lubomir Visnovsky. It was unclear who had the goal, but no one on the ice or in the stands seemed to care. Visnovsky’s shot from the top of the face off circle sprang up in front of the net where Erik Karlsson tried to bat it out of harm’s way. Instead, the puck trickled down Anderson’s back and into the net. Saku Koivu had tried to reach the puck and there were other Ducks in the vicinity, which is what led to the confusion. In the end, it was Lubo’s goal.
The Senators finally put one behind Hiller at 9:51 of the third period. Chris Neil got a nice juicy rebound to put Ottawa back in the game and make it tense going for the remaining 10 minutes.
Hiller would not let another in, stopping 31 of 32 shots.
“Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less if we were picking off (the) Mickey Mouse club,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “Two points is two points. But it’s nice. You look at the schedule and you go, ‘Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness.’ And you start to beat them. It makes your guys more believing that what you’re preaching is true. You (start) to say you are a good team. You just have to start believing in yourself.”
Boudreau now finds himself at the .500 mark as a coach since coming behind the bench in late November with a 10-9-3 record.
“It’s what wins you championships, defense and goaltending,” Boudreau continued. “Offense will come. You’re not going to score five goals every night. To defend a team like that, when they are playing like that, it was pretty special I thought. It was a great game by both teams.”
The Ducks get no rest before taking on the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon. The Avs beat the Kings on Saturday night, so neither team will be particularly well rested.
In other notes: Mark Bell was inserted into the line up in place of Matt Beleskey, who was out with a sore hand. Bell had not played an NHL game since April 2008. He added energy to the fourth line with Rod Pelley and George Parros and they had several good and noticeable shifts against Ottawa. Also, Kyle Palmieri got a call up from Syracuse.