Ducks continue surge with win at Florida
Sunday, 02.19.2012 / 8:35 PMSUNRISE, Fla.
— Teemu Selanne
and Jonas Hiller
made sure the Anaheim Ducks
continued their torrid run Sunday night.
Selanne scored his 20th goal of the season in the first period and Hiller made 31 saves for his third shutout as the Ducks beat the Florida Panthers
2-0 at the BankAtlantic Center.
"He's just ... he's a wonder," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Selanne. "He could have had a couple today. Florida is where older people come, right? He comes here and he thrives. This is good. It really adds a dimension to the rest of our team when he's going. We need that scoring from him."
The Ducks are undefeated in regulation in their last nine games (6-0-3) and are now 15-2-4 in their last 21. Anaheim also is 4-0-2 with two games left on a season-long eight-game road trip.
The Ducks, who were 19 points out of eighth place in the Western Conference standings on Jan. 4 after a loss dropped them to 10-22-6, now sit five points behind eighth-place Calgary.
"Everybody's believed for a long time that we had a chance to climb back," Selanne said. "We're still not really there, but we're in the right direction. It's a good sign that even tonight I don't think we played that well, but we found a way to win the game. Jonas was really good today again. That's what we need."
Hiller, making his 18th consecutive start for the Ducks, shut out Florida for the second consecutive time at the BankAtlantic Center. Hiller was in net on Feb. 1, 2010, when Anaheim won 3-0.
Hiller's other two shutouts this season came Jan. 13 at Edmonton and Oct. 14 against San Jose. In his recent starting stretch, Hiller has given up two goals or less 14 times.
"That's fabulous," Boudreau said of the shutout. "I've been waiting. He's had the 1s, the 1s, the 1s, then it goes to a 2, and then goes to a 0, that's pretty good. He's held some pretty good scoring teams to few goals and he did a lot of it on his own tonight. He was very good."
Selanne, meanwhile, became the oldest player to score 20 goals in a season since Hall of Famer Johnny Bucyk scored 20 for Boston in 1976-77. Selanne's goal was the 657th of his career, as he moved past Brendan Shanahan into sole possession of 12th place on the all-time list.
It's the 17th 20-goal season of Selanne career, which ties him for fifth on the all-time behind Gordie Howe (22), Ron Francis (20), Dave Andreychuk (19) and Shanahan (19).
Selanne, 41, is tied with Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin.
"That's almost overwhelming to hear your name in the same group as those guys," Selanne said. "It's unbelievable. I could never imagine that I could climb up with those guys and very thankful for that."
added an empty-net goal with 14.3 seconds left.
, meanwhile, was held without a goal for the first time in five games. He did hit the post on a one-timer in the third period.
made 25 saves for the Panthers, who lost their third consecutive game after coming home on a three-game winning streak.
"At this time of year, it's always a tight game and as a goalie I've been around long enough, I know what I need to do," Theodore said. "I prepare myself the same way every night. You want to give your team a chance to win and go out there and work hard and give it everything you've got."
Florida missed out on a chance to extend its two-point lead in the Southeast Division over Washington. Winnipeg was three points back heading into Sunday night's home against against Colorado, but the Jets have played three more games.
It was the fifth time this season the Panthers were shut out. The Panthers managed only three goals during their last three losses.
The Panthers' offensive struggles were highlighted during a four-minute power play late in the first period when they failed to get a single shot on net.
"When you only score three goals the last three games at home, you want to find any way to score goals," Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "You try to create around defense, you try to create around the crease, and obviously our power play wasn't good enough."
Selanne opened the scoring at 12:13 after Florida turned the puck over in its end. Saku Koivu
backhanded a pass to Bobby Ryan
in the left circle and Ryan fired a wrist shot. After Theodore made a pad save, Selanne grabbed the rebound in front of the net and skated around the goalie to put it into the open net.
"He's scored so many goals, I don't even know where we would be without him this year," Hiller said. "He's still one of the quickest guys out there and he knows where to go. It seems like he always is at the right spot where he gets the greasy goals and it's really important for us, especially on the road, where we don't score too many goals."
Earlier in the first period, Theodore robbed Koivu on a rebound at the side of the net. Koivu shot into an open net, but Theodore was able to jump back and get his stick in the way. The puck hit the post after hitting Theodore's stick.
Hiller didn't have to make many spectacular saves. His best probably came midway through the third period when he snared a Tomas Fleischmann
wrist shot from the high slot.
"Lately it seems like we're running into hot goaltenders," Fleischmann said. "We did our job on the boards and in the crease. We had chances, but it doesn't go in. Probably I think we're holding our sticks too tight."
Already missing six players because of injuries, Florida lost another one when Matt Bradley
left the game in the second period. Bradley slammed into the boards when he tried to body-check Anaheim's George Parros
, but Parros got out of the way at the last second. The Panthers said Bradley sustained an upper-body injury.
Dineen said after the game Bradley wasn't "doing great" and that the Panthers were going to call up a player from San Antonio.
Hagman left the ice in the first period after taking a blindside hit from Sean Bergenheim
, but did return after not coming out for the start of the second period.
Center Stephen Weiss
played his 613th game for the Panthers, tying Radek Dvorak for the most in franchise history.