Anaheim, CA – Some might think that the Anaheim Ducks might get caught looking forward to the playoffs last night when they hosted the Phoenix Coyotes in the regular season finale. Well, not quite. The Ducks peppered goalie Jason LaBarbera the Yotes for 46 shots on goal. However, with LaBarbera standing tall and a hat trick from Radim Vrbata, the Yotes finished their season with a win and the Ducks will enter the Western Conference Quarterfinals coming off of a 5-3 loss.
The Ducks had the better of the chances within the first few minutes, but the Coyotes would score first. Vrbata would get his first goal of the night by just being in the right place at the right time when he would put home a rebound into an empty net, 1-0 PHX. However, the Ducks answered shortly when Patrick Maroon would make a nice backhand pass to Teemu Selanne who chipped it by LaBarbera, 1-1. A couple of minutes later, Nick Bonino would dangle around the Phoenix defense, but get denied by LaBarbera. Then, with about two and a half minutes left in the first period, Kyle Chipchura would squeak one through Viktor Fasth‘s five hole, 2-1 PHX. Chipchura had some luck on the play when Francois Beauchemin fell down and was then run into by David Steckel who was trying to chase Chipchura down. The period would end with the Ducks on the powerplay after Lauri Korpikoski took down Bobby Ryan. LaBarbera was phenomenal and the Ducks frustration started to rise.
The Ducks capitalized on the power play just 14 seconds into the second period when Beauchemin would blast one by the screened LaBarbera, 2-2. The Ducks took a dumb too many men on the ice penalty a couple minutes later, but the Yotes wouldn’t be able to capitalize. However, they would minutes later, when, once again, Vrbata would cash in on a bad rebound into an empty net. LaBarbera would continue to frustrate the Ducks with great stops on both Selanne and Bonino. Zbynek Michalek took a hooking penalty late in the period, which would carry over to the third, as the second ended with the Yotes up 3-2.
The powerplay would end without a Ducks tally. The Coyotes would take another penalty when Antoine Vermette would get called for interfering with Saku Koivu, which could have been called a cross-check, but whatever, it was called anyway. Once again, the Ducks would not score. But the Coyotes would, a shorthanded goal. Hard work by Martin Hanzal and then a quick pass from behind the net to Vrbata in front who beats Fasth, 4-3 PHX. Almost exactly two minutes later, Ryan would redirect a Ryan Getzlaf cross-ice pass to tie it at 4. From here on out, the Ducks would dominate. Chance after chance was denied by LaBarbera. With the crowd anticipating a game-winning goal, LaBarbera would not get beaten again. The Yotes would add an empty netter from Vermette with just two seconds left on the clock to seal a 5-3 win.
The Ducks have nothing to be disappointed about after their performance. They threw everything at LaBarbera, including the kitchen sink. He played out of his mind to hold the Ducks to just 3 goals. For the Ducks, the Selanne-Bonino-Maroon line was their best of the night. It was nice to see Maroon make such a big impact, he could become a guy they insert into the lineup in the playoffs if there is an injury to a forward. It was also nice to see Bobby Ryan break his 9-game goalless drought. He will need to perform in the playoffs if the Ducks want to make a run. Bonino looked very good tonight. My man crush on him continues.
1. Teemu Selanne (G, 4 S)
2. Nick Bonino (A, +1, 6 S)
3. Patrick Maroon (A, 8 S)
The regular season is over. Now comes the playoffs and the Detroit Red Wings. Opening night of the playoffs is Tuesday night, but the schedule will not be released until at least tonight when the rescheduled Ottawa Senators-Boston Bruins game is finished this afternoon. By the way, that is the game rescheduled from the day of the Boston Marathon Bombings.
Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Antoine Vermette, Bobby Ryan, Boston Bruins, David Steckel, Detroit Red Wings, Francois Beauchemin, Jason Labarbera, Kyle Chipchura, Lauri Korpikoski, Martin Hanzal, NHL, Nick Bonino, Ottawa Senators, Patrick Maroon, Phoenix Coyotes, Playoff Push, Radim Vrbata, Ryan Getzlaf, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Viktor Fasth, Zbynek Michalek