Last night was one of those times when a Ducks fan's torment was heightened for a variety of reasons. The Ducks were playing their first Stateside road game of the season, less than 24 hours after a big home win, against a bitter rival that we hate to lose to, in a building full of screaming teal-clad fans that make HP Pavilion one of the hardest places to win in. And they were doing it behind backup Dan Ellis
, seeing his first action of the season after playing behind a so-far-outstanding Jonas Hiller
Any tension was slightly eased when the Ducks leapt to a 2-0 lead through one period thanks to the heroics of Teemu Selanne
and his first two goals of the year
. But the Sharks being the Sharks, there was little doubt they would find a way to get back in the game. And they did, cutting the lead in half in the second period on a goal that deflected off Bobby Ryan
We went through that same swing of emotions in the third. Corey Perry
reminded us why he's the MVP when he made space for himself, spun and whipped a ridiculous slingshot
into the far top corner. Then Brent Burns brought that nervousness right back by nailing a one-timer to make it a one-goal game.
That led to nine minutes of abject dread that the Sharks would find a way to tie the game, as they constantly circled the Ducks net like ... well, like sharks. And it was just before that time that we all experienced a fear of a different kind -- one that has nothing to do with winning and losing. A Dan Boyle slap shot struck Francois Beauchemin
in the visor, causing a compression cut that forced him to scramble off the ice with his head down, blood pouring out as trainer Tim Clarke helped him off the ice with a towel covering the cut. The scary moment had fans (Ducks or otherwise) simultaneously hoping he was okay, while also thinking, Thank goodness he wears a visor
But Beauchemin ultimately quelled our fears in a couple of ways, returning to the game with a few stitches with about four minutes left, and playing a major role in the Ducks holding on to that oh-so-slim lead and pulling off a tension-filled victory. Of course, Dan Ellis
could be credited for much of that, as 15 of his 41 saves came in that tumultuous third period when it seemed almost certain the Sharks would tie it. And the Burns goal in the third was the only one he gave up that actually came off a Sharks stick.
“You don't want to be the guy that loses a little bit of a streak,” Ellis told the OC Register afterward. "In the same way, when you are on a little bit of a losing streak, you want to be the guy to snap it a little bit. You take pride in those opportunities.”
Come Friday night against Dallas, the Ducks' streak will be on the line again, as they go for a fifth straight against another division rival. And, of course, we'll be blissfully anxious all over again.
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By the way, the chemistry-themed intro to Ducks telecasts on Prime Ticket is kind of cool. If you haven't seen it yet (or even if you have), here it is below. I can confirm that Teemu's eyes actually do that (48-second mark). No special effects were added.