The Ducks’ power play finally broke through and helped the team to a win tonight despite giving up a three goal lead. The game was topped off with a fight between fans in the stands after the number one star of the game, Scott Niedermayer, tried to give his stick to a little girl after the three stars selection.
The Ducks got the scoring started early in the first period. Just as a power play expired, Ryan Getzlaf slid a pass across the crease to a waiting Teemu Selanne, who tapped the puck into the net past Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith. Corey Perry extended his point streak to a career-high 13 games with the secondary assist.
The Ducks would strike again on an almost identical play. Perry passed the puck down to Teemu Selanne, who returned the favor to Getzlaf by sliding the puck across the crease for a Getzlaf tap-in goal. The Duck would take the 2-0 lead into the locker room after the first period that was played at an extremely fast pace.
The Ducks would again score on the power play in the second period, this time on a goal by Bobby Ryan. The Lightning were caught on a bad line change as Joffrey Lupul received a pass at the offensive blue line from Nick Boynton. Lupul then flipped a nice back-hand pass to Ryan who was streaking in, creating a 2-on-1 chance with Perry on the other side, but Ryan shot the puck low to the stick side for the Ducks’ third goal of the game.
The Lightning came right back. In fact, they scored on each of the next two shifts to pull within one goal before the period ended. The Lightning scored just 31 seconds after the Ducks’ third goal, and again just 18 seconds after that before Coach Randy Carlyle decided to use his timeout. Steven Stamkos scored the second goal on what I consider the best goal of the season so far. Stamkos knocked the puck out of the air, on the backhand, while falling to the ice. You can view a clip here. The Ducks settled down and were lucky to end the second period up 3-2.
The third period began with Tampa Bay on the power play, and converted on a point shot from Martin St. Louis. The puck might have been deflected in front of Jonas Hiller by Ryan Malone.
After the teams traded a few scoring chances in the third period the game finally went to overtime. Just 11 seconds in, however, Malone took a cross-checking penalty to put the Ducks on the power play. After the Ducks gained possession of the puck inside the offensive zone, Getzlaf dropped off the puck for Niedermayer at the point. Niedermayer immediately shot the puck and scored high to the glove side, with Corey Perry screening Smith in front of the net.
But that’s when the action started.
The Honda Center announcer recognized the three stars of the game, as he always does, after the teams had left the ice. Each of the home players from the three stars take a hockey stick and tosses it over the glass for a fan to take home, and as Niedermayer gave away his stick, a melee ensued. Two men in the front rows began to fight over the stick and started throwing hay-makers at each other, several of them landing. Another woman tried helping out one of the men as the rest of the fans watched intently. Niedermayer at one point even started banging on the glass like a crazed fan, cheering for the guy in the blue shirt. Kidding.
But Fox Sports analyst Patrick O’Niell interviewed Niedermayer after this incident and asked him about it. Niedermayer noted that the stick was actually for “a little girl” who obviously didn’t want the stick as bad as the other two guys. But Niedermayer had a smile on his face as he skated away from the brawling fans, and unfortunately the spot light moved with Niedermayer so the end of the fight was unable to be seen. Let’s just assume the little girl bit each of the two men’s legs, dropping them to the ground, then said “MY STICK,” and walked away with it, with the stick in one hand and a teddy bear in the other.
From the Associated Press and NHL.com:
Corey Perry extended his career-best point streak to 13 games with a power-play goal and two assists, and Ryan Getzlaf and Teemu Selanneeach had a goal and two assists for the Ducks in the first game of a seven-game homestand.
Ryan Malonewas sent off for cross-checking Getzlaf just 11 seconds into overtime, and Niedermayer got a drop pass from Getzlaf in the high slot before snapping off a 45-footer that beat Mike Smithhigh to the glove side and ended Anaheim’s four-game losing streak. Niedermayer has 13 career overtime goals, the most by an NHL defenseman.
Smith made 23 saves in his first start since Nov. 2 after five consecutive starts by Antero Nittymaki, who leads the league in goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.939). The last time Smith played, he gave up five goals on 18 shots at Philadelphia and was pulled in the second period of a 6-2 loss.
Anaheim’s Todd Marchantgot a tripping penalty with a second left in the second period after upending Halpern, and St. Louis cashed in 1:38 after the intermission on a power play for the equalizer. He got the puck at the left point from Downie, moved laterally with it and took a slap shot that whizzed past Petteri Nokelainen’s right leg and beat a screened Jonas Hiller to the glove side.
Ryan gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead at 6:52 of the second period, scoring on a wrist shot to the glove side after Joffrey Lupul barely kept the puck from sliding back over the Tampa Bay blue line. Ryan’s ninth of the season came David Hale cut him with a high stick and received a double-minor.
But just 49 seconds after Ryan scored, it was suddenly 3-2 as the Lightning struck twice in a span of 18 seconds. Downie had the puck behind the net and was tripped from behind by Sheldon Brookbank, but still managed to throw it out in front and Halpern converted the pass for his second goal of the season.
Stamkos added his 14th goal, taking a swipe at the puck while falling down and tipping it past Hiller’s glove after he was stopped on a one-timer from about 10 feet.
Smith received an interference penalty at 4:22 of the first period after he tried to play the puck behind the net, lost it on a poke-check by Perry and then pinned him against the boards. The Ducks opened the scoring just 3 seconds after Alex Tanguayfinished serving Smith’s penalty, with Selanne converting Getzlaf’s pass through the crease for his 11th goal and 590th of his career.
Getzlaf made it 2-0 at 18:12 of the first, just the fourth shot on net by the Ducks to that point. It was a mirror image of his earlier collaboration with Selanne, only this time they were on opposite sides of the crease during a power play while Lukas Krajicek was off for interference.
NOTES: Anaheim D James Wisniewski, playing in his 200th NHL game, left the ice for good with a bruised right foot after blocking a shot by Paul Szczechura before the midway point of the first period. … Ducks D Steve Eminger was scratched because of back spasms. C Saku Koivu missed his fifth consecutive game (groin) and C Ryan Cartersat out his fourth straight (bruised foot). … Stamkos has three goals in his last seven games, following a six-game goal streak in which he scored eight times. … Ducks C MacGregor Sharp made his NHL debut.