Ducks Fall to Devils, 3-1

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The Ducks knew they would be playing against a defensive-oriented team when they flew into New Jersey for tonight’s game, but they didn’t expect to be shut down like this. The Ducks were not helped by the fact that Saku Koivu was not able to play tonight due to the dreaded “lower-body” injury. Koviu took the pre-game skate and skated in warm-ups just before puck drop before he was shelved in favor of Erik Christensen.

The Devils got off to a quick start, scoring on a deflection from the blue line on just the second shift of the game. The Ducks, though, continued to play hard and ended the period down only one goal while getting plenty of opportunities.

The RPG line would break through the wall that is Martin Brodeur with a typical grinding and cycling shift. Ryan Getzlaf gave the puck to Bobby Ryan behind the net, who then tried stuffing the puck on goal from Brodeur’s right side. The puck squirted between Broudeur’s legs to the other side of the net where Corey Perry was standing to slam it home on the back hand. Perry extended his scoring streak to a career high nine games while Getzlaf extended his to eight on the play.

New Jersey would get the goal back on a great move and shot by David Clarkson. Clarkson broke into the zone and hit the brakes while dragging the puck back towards his body, allowing James Wisniewski to skate right past him, and then shot the puck high to the blocker side of Jonas Hiller to finish a very pretty looking play.

The Ducks’ problems tonight were a result of their power play, which had plenty of opportunities but did not score a goal. In fact, the power play unit allowed a goal to Zach Parise, who actually had time to battle the puck past Hiller after a partial breakaway.

The Ducks will have a day off before playing the Blue Jackets on Friday. The Ducks will then have a tough back-to-back schedule as they will take on Detroit on Saturday. I doubt the Ducks will hold a practice tomorrow, but if they do they will probably get back to working on the power play like they did early in the season. On an interesting note, Detroit defeated the Blue Jackets tonight by a whopping score of 9-1.

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From Mike G. Morreale at NHL.com:

NEWARK, N.J. — The New Jersey Devils are purring like a well-oiled machine.

The Devils made the Anaheim Ducks their sixth consecutive victim, getting goals from three different players, stellar penalty killing and a 31-save performance by Martin Brodeur on the way to a 3-1 victory before 14,123 at Prudential Center.

New Jersey has allowed just seven goals in its six-game-winning streak and moved into a tie for the Atlantic Division lead with the Pittsburgh Penguins, their opponent at Mellon Arena on Thursday night. The Devils are 8-0-0 on the road, including a 4-1 win at Pittsburgh on Oct. 24.

Zach Parise delivered the knockout blow with just 13 seconds left in the second period when his shorthanded goal off a perfectly placed outlet pass from Jamie Langenbrunner gave the Devils a 3-1 lead. The Devils’ penalty-killing unit has been most impressive during their winning streak. Over the past six games, the club hasn’t yielded a power-play goal to the opposition in 17 straight opportunities. That includes all six chances for Anaheim on Wednesday.

The Devils opened a 1-0 lead just 38 seconds into the game when Langenbrunner tipped home a point shot by Greene from between the circles. Center Dainius Zubrus, who opened the game on a line with Langenbrunner and Patrik Elias, started the play after winning an offensive-zone draw back to Parise in the right circle.

Anaheim’s top line had pulled the Ducks into a 1-1 tie 2:25 into the second when Corey Perry connected for his team-leading 12th goal. Bobby Ryan made a nice rush down the right-wing boards and circled the net before feeding Ryan Getzlaf at the left post. Getzlaf stabbed at the puck, which skidded through Brodeur’s legs and along the goal line to an unchecked Perry at the opposite post.

The goal extended point streaks for all three Anaheim players — Perry is riding a career-high nine-game streak (8 goals, 12 points), Getzlaf’s streak has reached nine (12 assists, 13 points) and Ryan has recorded a point in four straight (2 goals, 4 points).

David Clarkson, who was whistled for a pair of minor penalties in the opening period, snapped a 1-1 tie with 7:08 left in the second with his fifth goal of the season. After Devils defenseman Andy Greene led Clarkson in stride at the Ducks blue line with a poke check from the neutral zone, Clarkson sped down the middle before he dragged the puck around Anaheim’s James Wisniewski and drove a shot inside the right post.

The Ducks were without center Saku Koivu, who apparently suffered a lower-body injury at some point during the morning skate. In Koivu’s place, coach Randy Carlyle had Erik Christensen centering for Joffrey Lupul and Teemu Selanne. Christensen was seeing his first action since Oct. 26.

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