For much of the NHL season, the Anaheim Ducks had their way with the rest of the league. Now, not so much. Sunday night had the Ducks visiting the Edmonton Oilers and a win would have been a step closer to locking up the Pacific Division and thus avoid the one team no one wants to play in the first round out west, the Los Angeles Kings.
With less than two minutes gone in the first, Jacob Silverberg scored for Anaheim to give the Ducks the 1-0 lead. From there it was all downhill as the put up three in the second to deal the Ducks a blow to their aspirations of titles.
“We’re struggling finding ways to win hockey games right now,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. “I thought we started a lot better than we have in the past and were in a hockey game. We let our emotions get the best of us a little bit there for a while, and I felt that was a little bit counterproductive, and that’s our responsibility, me and [Corey Perry].”
With a game in hand on their closest rival, San Jose, the Ducks to win to secure the division crown or face the Kings. Anaheim plays Vancouver tonight.
“We have four games left now and we have to win our fair share of them to finish in the first spot,” Getzlaf said.
Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth made 34 saves in beating his former team. The Oilers acquired Fasth at the trade deadline from Anaheim.
“The guys played great in front of me tonight,” Fasth said. “They cleared a lot of rebounds and blocked a lot of shots. It was a great team effort. Of course it is special to play against them and get the win. I have a lot of friends on that team and played for them for a year. But I am here now, and it is all about winning hockey games. It’s two points, just like any other game.http://
“I think we played great defensively. We have been doing a really good job defensively the last three or four games. I think we are showing that we can play really good hockey.”
In Sunrise, the visiting Dallas Stars built a two-goal lead and then frittered it away in a 3-2 loss to the Panthers.
“Tough points to lose,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “It wasn’t a good game for us. No excuses, even though it was back-to-back. We expect better. At this point in the year, being tired is just a mental thing. We’re not going to use fatigue as an excuse. We’ve got to find a way to get points.”
Sean Bergenheim picked up the game winner for the Panthers late in the third.
“It’s probably a big blow for Dallas,” Bergenheim said. “It’s their thing. Personally, I don’t really care much who’s fighting for what. You’ve got to be playing the best you can every single game and whatever happens in the standings for the other teams, I don’t really care.”
The Stars were unable to gather up much momentum after surrendering the lead in the second period.
“We tried hard to win the game in the third period,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had some good opportunities. Benn just before [the game-winning goal], I think Luongo got a piece of it and it went out the other side. We just didn’t manage the puck good enough on the entrance and it cost us.”
The Stars’ loss gives hope to teams like Nashville whom the Stars play next.http://
“We’re prepared, we know what is ahead of us,” Dallas’ Jamie Benn said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, they’re not going to give us these games. We have to put this one behind us. It was obviously a terrible outcome [and] we don’t want to remember this one. We have a day off tomorrow and we’ll come back ready to play.”
Down throw so much dirt on the Blackhawks. They are not quite moribund as some would think. Yes there play has been robotic at times but they are getting ready for the real season, the playoffs. Sunday night saw the St Louis Blues visit Chicago and lave with a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Hawks.
“Three games in a row I thought we played the same, exact way,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We played the right way, worked hard, [were] very effective [and] efficient. Everybody contributed and we scored some ugly goals, but we played the right way to get rewarded.”
Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots for the win.
“We can’t look too far ahead,” Crawford said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s the way we approach every game, every year. It’s just about what’s coming next and move on from there. We want to grab home-ice advantage and have that for the first round, so it’s a really important game coming up here [Wednesday].”
And equally important in the assessment of teams there is no need to place the laurels on the heads of the Blues just yet, despite being the favorites of some pundits.
“I think the details of our game are probably lacking,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We look like we’re a little bit tired, so the details that fit us so well and our energy to put those details in place are probably lacking a little bit right now. But we still have four more games to play, so we have a lot of hockey to play yet. We have to find a way to re-energize ourselves and get back to work.”
Chicago is missing Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews but continue to improve lately.
“The last couple games it’s been a little bit better as far as playing as full 60 [minutes] and playing a simple game,” Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. “Obviously we miss Kane and Toews in the lineup and a few other guys, but when we have everybody playing hard and contributing, it helps.”
The problem for the Hawks is that they are chasing the Avalanche for second in the division and home ice advantage in the first round.http://
“We’ve kept it interesting and they go and win six games in a row, so give them credit,” Quenneville said. “They’re playing well and they’ve had our number most of the year. We’d love to get [home ice] and if we don’t get it we’ll deal with it.”
Florida 3 Dallas 2
Columbus 4 NY Islanders 0
Philadelphia 5 Buffalo 2
Chicago 4 St Louis 2
Colorado 2 Pittsburgh 3 SO
Edmonton 4 Anaheim 2