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Recap: Ducks Have a Devil of a Time with Schneider in 3-0 Defeat

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

ANAHEIM -- In need of a confidence boost to help him return to form, veteran goalie Cory Schneider certainly got it tonight at Honda Center.

The 33-year-old Devils netminder turned away all 34 Anaheim shots he faced in earning a 3-0 shutout that halted a modest two-game win streak for the Ducks.

Schneider, a former All-Star with Vancouver and New Jersey, had spent the majority of this season with the Devils' AHL team in Binghamton, New York in hopes of regaining his game. He was brought up by the Devils 10 days ago and made his third start since the recall tonight, bringing a 1-6-2 record and a 4.08 goals against average.

He looked much sharper than those numbers would indicate tonight, making a handful of big stops in the second and third while his Devils nursed a lead.

"We could've had a little better of a start," Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. "Keeping the puck out of our net on the penalty kill was a problem tonight. We weren't able to answer on our power play even though we probably had [the same] quality of looks as they did. Other than that, I thought we had lots of chances to score. Just couldn't find the back of the net."

Another player in search of a career rebirth in this game was Anaheim forward David Backes, who made his Ducks debut tonight after coming over in a trade on February 21. Backes had two shots and four hits in 11:44 of ice time.

"I thought it was okay at times," said the 35-year-old Backes of his debut. "I felt I was trying to assert myself physically and get into some bodies. Feel what that was like again. Some of the systems stuff, I found myself chasing a little bit at times. Rowns [Carter Rowney] is a pretty smart player. Des [Nicolas Deslauriers], playing the body, was able to create some forgiveness for me in those regards. We had some good zone time and a couple plays around the net."

The Ducks were once again without three of their top defensemen with Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Erik Gudbranson out with injuries, but it was their offense that didn't get things going tonight.

"Similar to whenever it was last week, if you don't score a goal, you can't win a game," Ducks defenseman Michael Del Zotto said. "We had plenty of chances. Our PK has to do a better job. It can't happen. Very similar plays. Breakdowns by us. We had chances, but couldn't put them in the back of the net. A few of them we'd like to have back."

A scoreless opening 17 minutes got snapped by the Devils with 2:54 left in the first, a nice feed from Jesper Bratt to Pavel Zacha for the punch-in.

Zacha struck again 3:48 into the middle frame, burying a wrister from the left wing circle on the power play.

Schneider made a crucial stop on a Ryan Getzlaf breakaway with three minutes left in the period to keep the Devils in front by two goals.

Soon afterward, Ducks goalie John Gibson got the blood pumping in a different way, pouncing on Devils center Kevin Rooney behind the net after a collision and earning an interference penalty.

Anaheim had another golden opportunity seven minutes into the third with Schneider scrambling and the New Jersey net wide open, but the Ducks couldn't get the puck through a crowd in the crease. They also came up empty on back-to-back power plays with under 10 minutes left in the game.

New Jersey virtually put the game away soon afterward on a mid-air tip by Nico Hischier that made it 3-0 New Jersey.

Having completed their six-game road trip at 2-3-1, the Ducks play at Chicago and at Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to Honda Center to face Toronto on Friday. 

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