|In the first game between the Ducks and Senators since last season's Stanley Cup Final, Anaheim once again came out on top, defeating Ottawa 3-1 Monday night at Honda Center.
Highlights from the Duck's 3-1 victory
In the first meeting between the teams since last year’s Stanley Cup Final, the Anaheim Ducks once again got the better of the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.
Scott Niedermayer had a goal and an assist, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 24 saves as the defending champs earned a 3-1 win over the Senators at the Honda Center.
"Obviously, it is an exciting game to play the team we played in the Final last year," said Niedermayer, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007. "We were ready for their best. I think they got a little off their game. Sometimes it is tough when you feel the calls and penalties aren’t going your way. We just tried to stay focused on what we were doing."
The surging Ducks have won six straight, as they now begin a two-road trip on Wednesday night at Chicago.
"We want to be strong at home before the playoffs come," Giguere said. "It’s important to make a statement right now. As of late, we’ve been playing really well at home. Especially going on the road for the next two games, we wanted to finish this homestand on the right foot and I thought we did that tonight."
Anaheim struck first when Todd Bertuzzi tallied his 13th goal of the season ( 700K ) 11:58 into the game, when he took a cross-ice feed from Ryan Getzlaf and one-timed it past Martin Gerber as the Ducks took a 1-0 lead. It was Bertuzzi’s first goal on home ice since Jan. 15.
Corey Perry quickly made it 2-0 ( 700K ) with a power play goal with five minutes left in the first. After Wade Redden was whistled for interference, Perry redirected Niedermayer’s shot past Gerber for his 29th goal of the season. Ottawa’s Christoph Schubert closed the gap to 2-1 when he beat Giguere only 35 seconds later ( 700K ), but the Ducks were able to take the one-goal lead into the first intermission.
“They’ve been this type of team for three or four years,” said Ducks forward Doug Weight, who returned after missing eight straight games with a shoulder injury and assisted on Perry’s goal. “They’re a powerhouse. We did a great job tonight. If you can weather the storms, you’ve got a good chance of beating them. We’re a very confident hockey club right now.”
Ottawa, meanwhile, fell to 1-2-0 since Bryan Murray replaced John Paddock behind the bench.
''We've come out a lot better, had a much better effort the last three games when he's been behind the bench,'' Redden said. ''We just need to keep going that way and get our wins. Good things will happen if we keep working hard.''
Giguere stopped all 13 shots he faced in the second period to keep the Ducks in front. Niedermayer thanked his goaltender by giving him a two-goal lead when he scored on the power play 9:59 into the third. Anaheim improved to 23-8-3 since Niedermayer returned from early retirement, and 11-1 since Teemu Selanne decided to put the blades back on.
"We tried to stress that there was a different feeling about preparing for the game," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who returned to the bench after missing Friday’s game due to the flu.
"We felt that the matchup against them last year that would be some incentive. They have had some change in their hockey club as we’ve had some change, so it was another test for us. They are a very highly skilled group and they won their last game, scoring some big goals against Pittsburgh. They were looking at this as maybe a possible springboard. It’s not like they played poorly."
Sharks 6, Canadiens 4 | Video
Joe Thornton had two goals and two assists, while Brian Campbell had one of each in his home debut as San Jose won a thriller over Montreal at HP Pavilion.
The victory extended the Sharks’ winning streak to six games. They used an all-hands-on-deck approach against the Habs, as enforcer Jody Shelley put them ahead to stay with 3:24 remaining in the second period.
And while Thornton had the four-point night, it was Campbell who stole the show late in the third period when he used a dazzling spin-o-rama in the slot before firing a backhand shot past Montreal goalie Carey Price to seal the win for San Jose.
"The crowd was loud, and it was almost a playoff atmosphere," said the soon-to-be free agent Campbell, as chants of "Sign him! Sign him!" rained down from the crowd on Monday night.
"It's nice to score, but the win is really nice. We've got games in hand, so we've got to take advantage of those."
Evgeni Nabokov made 27 saves for the Sharks, who also got goals from Patrick Marleau and Jonathan Cheechoo in what was San Jose’s third game in four nights. Tomas Plekanec and Ryan O’Byrne scored in the first period to help Montreal escape with a 2-2 tie, but Thornton and Shelley sandwiched Plekanec’s second goal of the night as the Sharks held a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.
"They go to the net hard, and I just have to work harder," Price said. "That's how you score goals in this League."
Cheechoo put the Sharks up by a pair with his 20th goal of the season 3:25 into the third, but the Canadiens got back to within a goal when Maxim Lapierre beat Nabokov less than a minute later.
"We did some really good things, and we did some really bad things," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We're playing well, but we still have a young team that's learning to play on these occasions."
And on this occasion, the Habs learned just how skilled Campbell is. It was the perfect way for the All-Star defenseman to make a name for himself in the bay area.
“It’s just a move I like to do in all areas of the ice,” Campbell said. “I never usually score, but I had to do one tonight just for the fans in my first game here. It’s nice to come home here and give the fans a win.”
Material from wire services, team websites and broadcast media was used in this report.