LAst Night's Action: Dan Ellis Saves Ducks in San Jose
Anaheim Ducks defeat San Jose Sharks 3-2. The Sharks’ pregame show was happy that Ducks’ no. 1 goaltender Jonas Hiller was given the day off to be replaced by Dan Ellis. All Ellis did was make 41 saves, 15 of which came in a third period that saw the Ducks get very sloppy. The Ducks are now 4-1-0 early in this season.
The Finnish Connection gave the Ducks the early lead; Saku Koivu dished the puck to Teemu Selanne for both Anaheim goals in the first period. The first goal was a power-play goal that tied Selanne with current NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan for 237 power-play goals, fifth of all time. Corey Perry flicked a shot from the top of the left circle in the third period and one-timed it top shelf past Antti Niemi.
Francois Beauchemin took a puck to the face 9:50 into the third period and had to go into the locker room. Fortunately he wears a visor on his helmet which helped minimize the potential catastrophic damage. He was back on the ice a minute later and had five more shifts in the game.
Kings Back Home
From Kansas City to Colorado to Anaheim to Las Vegas to Hamburg to Stockholm to Berlin to Newark and to Philadelphia, the Kings finally returned to Los Angeles late Saturday night after their 3-2 overtime victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.
“It’s great to be back,” head coach Terry Murray told reporters after practice Monday afternoon.
As documented here, the Kings opened their season against the New York Rangers in Stockholm and played their first four games as far from Los Angeles as possible. They managed to go 2-1-1 for five points.
“I think everything is pretty good considering,” Murray trailed off. “There was a great amount of travel, and fatigue became an issue at times.”
Nowhere was that evident more than in their first game in the United States against the New Jersey Devils. The Kings started the game with all the energy in the world scoring in the second minute of the game. After the first period their energy plummeted, and the Devils managed to pull the game out in the shootout.
But the Kings while still looking a bit fatigued managed to grind a win in Philly.
“The game was about special teams, about 4-on-4,” Murray said. “[Goaltender] Jonathan Quick was outstanding. At the end of the day you come out of it with a win. We feel real good about how we came out of the road trip.”
Unfortunately they didn’t return home with a clean bill of health. In the opening minutes of their game against the Flyers, Drew Doughty was taken out by Zac Rinaldo. Doughty was put on the injured reserve list with an ailing right shoulder.
“I thought it was a hockey hit,” Murray commented. “I didn’t think the player launched himself. He seemed to hit him straight on.”
Defenseman Slava Voynov was recalled from Manchester and is expected to see some significant minutes.
“I really like what Voynov did in the training camp,” Murray said. “He’s intelligent. He’s got an aggressive attitude. He has a very nice skill level. He’s a second, third option player. He does a nice job on the power-play.
“We’re looking for good things. I look at him as a veteran player getting an opportunity to play.”
To add insult to Doughty’s injury, Dustin Penner got in a couple of punches on Rinaldo after the Doughty hit. One by-product of this fight was that Penner got an instigator penalty on top of the fighting. Although this eventually led to the Flyers’ first goal, Murray liked what Penner did.
“A players sticking up for a teammate, that’s a good thing.”
Unfortunately Penner sustained what Murray called a contusion on his knee. Penner was expected to participate in full practice on Monday but left the ice at the halfway point.
“There’s nothing I can tell you right now,” Murray said. “The plan was a full practice. There was nothing before the practice to lead me to think it was going to be anything less than that.”
Penner’s status is unknown for Tuesday’s home opener.
As for the opener, the players will walk down a black carpet and greet fans between 4 - 5 p.m. at the Southwest VIP entrance of STAPLES Center. Also in the main plaza area, there will be the Opening Night Fanfest from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
St. Louis Blues at LA Kings. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 1150 KTLK.