The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim rookie team defeated the Los Angeles Kings rookie squad, 3-2 in a game which featured a total of 31 penalties, most of which were of the minor variety.
Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner each scored a goal and added two assists for the Ducks. Corey Perry tallied a goal and an assist in the opening night win for Anaheim. Two of the three goals scored by the Mighty Ducks came on the power play.
“It’s always tough coming in playing when you have only practiced twice with these guys,” said Getzlaf, who put up three points in the win. “We have a lot of new faces. Guys came together pretty good. You are playing a game that is all penalty killing and power play. That’s how you feel each other out, I guess.”
“It was tough getting used to the new rules with the ref calling everything,” said Penner, who secured a three point night. “Guys worked really hard. We kept getting stronger through the game and killed off those penalties near the end of the game.”
“Everybody played hard in a game that had a lot of penalties,” said Perry. “Everyone had their role tonight. That’s the way a team works. Things went well considering we were playing as a team for the first time.”
Ducks goaltender Gabriel Bouthillette, with a 31 save performance, played well in the Anaheim goal. That performance drew praise from Getzlaf.
“Gabe played a great game for us back there,” says Getzlaf. He made a few pretty big saves. That first period, the referee was calling a lot of penalties. That’s how you are going to win it, on special teams. Our penalty kill is just as important as the power play.”
“Gabriel played well,” added Penner. “He made some key saves, especially on the penalty kill. At times, he stood on his head.
The Ducks killed off a two man disadvantage early in the first period. Tim Brent was in the penalty box for slashing at 5:04. Brendan Mikkelson was sent off for interference at 5:44 of the period. The Mighty Ducks penalty killing unit of Jordan Smith, Nathan Saunders and Curtis Glencross along with Getzlaf , Jonathan D’ Aversa and Michael Knight did some outstanding work to keep the game scoreless after the first period.
In the second period, The Ducks grabbed a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Dustin Penner, a one timer to the left of the goal on assists from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry at the 1:16 mark.
“We were putting a lot of pressure on them,” says Penner. “I had hit the crossbar off one quick shot there. Then Getzlaf fed Perry for the one timer and hit it off the post. It was kind of a scramble and the puck went down to the corner. I popped it into the slot and Getz found me and I put it five-hole.”
“We were moving the puck around a little bit,” says Getzlaf. “Corey Perry went hard and the puck came back to me in the corner. I got it to Penner in the right spot.”
The line of Penner, Getzlaf and Perry combined for 8 points in the Ducks victory.
“They kind of feed off each other,’ said Head Coach Kevin Dineen. “They are like a pack of wolves when they get in that offensive zone. They get the puck and cycle or make a play. They really looked like they enjoyed themselves.”
”We still have to work on some things until we all feel comfortable,” added Penner. “But, it was a lot of fun playing with those guys. They see the ice so well. They always find you when you are on the ice. “
The Ducks made it 2-0 on a goal by Getzlaf from Penner as he shoved one into the net at 4:56 of the period.
“This one all started back in our own zone,” mentioned Getzlaf. “Our defense made a nice play off the face-off there.”
The Kings Ryan Munce took over for starting goalie, Yutaka Fukufuji with 9:38 left in the second period
LA made it 2-1 at the 14:20 mark of the period on goal by Anze Kopitar from Shay Stephenson and Ryan Murphy.
The Ducks scored with a two-man advantage to make it 3-1 at 15:17 of the second period. Corey Perry deflecting in a right point shot from Getzlaf.
“Getz was climbing up to the point on the five on three situation,” said Perry. “All of a sudden, there is no one in front. I was the only one standing there. It was either he pass it to me or he shoots it. He took the shot and I tipped it in.
In the third period, Kings cut the lead to 3-2 with a five on four power play goal at the 9:06 mark. The scoring play read Dany Roussin from Conner James and Eric Neilson.
With 7:03 left in the third period, Kings goaltender Ryan Munce was injured hurt and replaced by Fukufuji.
Late in the game, the Ducks killed off a penalty to Nathan Saunders for high sticking at 14:22 of the final period. Then the Mighty Ducks killed off a penalty for interference to Bobby Bolt at 17:58 of the third period. The Kings pulled their goaltender with 59 seconds left in regulation to gain a two man advantage.
“Nobody can complain that they didn’t get special team work tonight,” said Dineen. “We .really tried to make sure everybody got a crack at playing a special teams position during the course of the game. I was pleasantly pleased that these guys played as hard and as disciplined as they did.”
On trying to get adjusted to the way the game of hockey is being called now with the new rules, Dineen says it will take time for the players to adjust.
“The referees are working their way into it and we are all working our way through it right now,” says Dineen. “It’s going to come from the players. It’s a learning process. And it’s not going to be a pre-season process. This is going to go right into November where all of a sudden the players know that they can’t do it. It will take a little while, but once they get it, I think it’s going to make for an exciting game.”
And what does the coach look for from his team on day two when the Ducks take on San Jose?
“There were penalties in the first minute of our initial game against Los Angeles,” mentioned Dineen. “We really found no flow to the game until the second period when we had a stretch to roll the lines and get the guys a chance to play. And that’s when we were most effective. We need a little discipline. Player’s feet are wet now. They can get in there and start playing hard.”
DUCKS FIRST GAME NOTES
LINE COMBOS for Ducks in Game one versus Los Angeles: Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Curtis Glencross, Ryan Shannon and Shane Hynes, Bobby Bolt, Jonathan Lehun and Scott May, and Simon Ferguson with Tim Brent and Derek Edwardson. Defensive pairings included Jordan Smith and Nathan Saunders, Brendan Mikkelson and Aaron Rome, and Jonathan D’Aversa with Michael Knight.
Forward Bobby Ryan, Anaheim’s first round draft pick in 2005 will miss the entire rookie tournament with a shoulder injury.
Mighty Ducks healthy scratches for the first game were defensemen Brett Festerling and Eric Lundberg, forward George Davis and goaltender Michael Wall.
The schedule for Thursday has the Mighty Ducks rookies playing the host San Jose Sharks at 7:30pm and Los Angeles taking on Phoenix at 4:00pm.