Ducks Stumble Again, Fall to Stars 4-2


The Ducks again stumbled out of the gate and were unable to overcome an early deficit on Wednesday night, losing to the Stars at Honda Center by a 4-2 margin. Dallas scored one goal in the first and added two more in the first half of the second before the Ducks began to mount an unsuccessful comeback.

There were quite a few bright spots for the team in the loss, however. Ryan Getzlaf finally got on the board with his first goal of the season late in the second period on a nice individual play. Defenseman James Wisniewski, who returned tonight from a shoulder injury for which he missed ten days, passed the puck across the defensive zone to Ryan Whitney, who quickly got the puck up to Getzlaf at the offensive blue line. Getzlaf broke in from the left wing and faked like he was going to bring the puck across the crease but instead chipped a shot under the right arm of Marty Turco to pull the Ducks within two goals.

The Ducks would continue the comeback attempt on a broken play in the offensive zone. Corey Perry was deep in the zone battling in the corner when he got the puck to Joffrey Lupul who was in front of Turco. Lupul one-timed the puck but got almost nothing on it, but it ricocheted off a defenders skate and past Turco to pull the Ducks within one with about twelve minutes left in the third.

The Ducks continued to put shots at the net and make good plays but were unable to come up with another goal. The Stars would eventually add an empty net goal as Jonas Hiller was pulled with just over a minute to play.

But even with the loss, which keeps the Ducks in the basement of the Pacific Division, there were many positives to the game. Getzlaf scored his first goal of the season, Lupul stepped up and played a solid game after being promoted to the first line, and Bobby Ryan showed some chemistry alongside Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne.

In addition, goalie J.S. Giguere was backing up Hiller tonight, which means that Giguere’s injury is not too serious. Another positive to the game, if you can call this a positive, is that Evgeny Artyukhin did not take any penalties tonight. In fact he drew a penalty and also made a monster hit to knock Stars’ defenseman Matt Niskanen out of the game.

Another positive was the return of Wisniewski. Not only did he return to play a strong game and end up with an assist and a plus-1 rating, but he also played in a game high 27+ minutes. The tandem of Whitney and Wisniewski is by far the Ducks best defensive pairing this year.

But there were plenty of negatives in the game as well. The third line of Petteri Nokelainen, Todd Marchant, and Erik Christensen did absolutely nothing in the game, combining for zero shots on goal. George Parros had another fight with Kris Barch and ended up bloodied in a fight that he seemed to lose. Mike Brown also had a fight which ended in a tie.

Another negative was the play of Captain Scott Niedermayer. He ended up with a minus-3 rating and only put one shot on goal in 23 minutes of play. Niedermayer has looked far from the leader he has been in years past and is now a minus-6 with only three assists through the first eight games.

Part of Niedermayer’s poor performance tonight can partly be attributed to Brendan Mikkelson, who was paired with Niedermayer all night. Mikkelson displayed some skill and showed off his skating ability on several occasions but also made a few glaring mistakes that led to goals and an eventual minus-2 rating.

The Ducks will now have two more days off before taking on a red-hot Blue Jackets team on Saturday night. The Ducks are on the right track and are making progress, but if they don’t pick up their game soon and start getting wins, they might fall too far back in the standings and miss the playoffs.

From the Associated Press:

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -Defenseman Trevor Daley scored his first goal of the season on a power play and James Neal set up goals by Loui Eriksson and Brenden Morrow, leading the Dallas Stars to a 4-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night.

Marty Turco made 24 saves for the Stars, who were missing Mike Modano (rib), Jere Lehtinen (abdominal soreness) and Brad Richards (groin). Steve Ott added an empty-net goal with 9 seconds to play.

Ryan Getzlaf and Joffrey Lupul scored for Anaheim.

Dallas outshot Anaheim 16-5 in the first period. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller stopped all eight shots during a pair of power plays, but Ericksson opened the scoring at 14:01 on a rebound from the edge of the crease after Hiller made a chest save on rookie Tom Wandell’s wrist shot from the top of the left circle and turned aside a backhanded rebound attempt by James Neal with his left arm.

The Stars made it 2-0 at 4:17 of the second period. Hiller went behind his net to clear the puck, but it hopped off his stick and Mike Ribeiro fed it out in front and Morrow sent a quick wrist shot past Hiller’s left leg just as the goalie scrambled back to the crease.

Daley scored Dallas’ third goal at 8:53 of the second, beating Hiller high to the glove side with a snap shot from about 30 feet after getting a cross-ice pass from Neal.

Ott, who was activated from injured reserve after missing four games with a strained oblique muscle, also got an assist on Daley’s goal. The Stars were 0 for 12 on the power play in their previous three games.

The Ducks, coming off their second shutout loss in three games, were getting outshot 27-11 before Getzlaf put them on the board at 17:52 of the second. He got a lead pass from Ryan Whitney heading into the Dallas zone, carried the puck to the top of the left circle and stickhandled around defenseman Karlis Skrastins before beating Turco to the short side. The goal ended a season-opening seven-game drought for Getzlaf, which matched his longest of 2008-09.

Anaheim scored its second goal with 11:25 remaining, after Turco made a poor clearing pass behind the net with Getzlaf on the forecheck. Perry intercepted the puck in the right corner and fed it in front to Lupul, who fanned on the one-timer, but it caromed off Skrastins’ leg and trickled between Turco’s legs.

Hiller finished with 34 saves, after getting pulled in the second period of last Saturday’s 5-0 loss at St. Louis.

NOTES: Morrow, who underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee in December and is still playing with a brace, appeared in his 600th NHL regular-season game. Ducks C Saku Koivu played in his 800th NHL contest. … Anaheim D James Wisniewski returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right shoulder and got an assist on Getzlaf’s goal. C Ryan Carter was scratched after getting hit in the foot with a shot during the morning skate. X-rays were negative. … The Ducks recalled rookie G Justin Pogge from Bakersfield of the ECHL to serve as backup because of Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s groin injury. But Giguere was able to take part in the pregame warmup, and Pogge was sent right back to Bakersfield. … Dallas LW Francis Wathier made his NHL debut after getting recalled from Texas of the AHL and got into a fight with Mike Brown at 3:02 of the second period. … Anaheim has been outshot in seven of its first eight games.