The 2013-14 season was filled with new franchise records, player milestones, incredible comeback victories, and of course, memories of Teemu Selanne. Anaheim concluded the season with a record of 54-20-8, the best mark in club history. The Ducks finished with the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history and set season records for standings points (116), wins (54) and win/points percentage (.707). In addition, the Ducks led the league in goals (263) for the first time in club history (excluding shootout tallies) and established season bests for goals (263), home wins (29) road wins (25), home points (62) and road points (54). AnaheimDucks.com will count down the top 25 moments from past season in the coming weeks. Here is the first installment: 21-25.
25. December 20, 2013
Memorable Homecoming for Palmieri
Fresh off a victory at Joe Louis Arena three nights prior, the Ducks were in New Jersey to take on the Devils at Prudential Center in the second game of their four-game East Coast road trip. The night marked the homecoming for Ducks forward Kyle Palmieri, who grew up in Montvale, located in the Northeastern part of the state. Already having a knack for scoring big goals against Eastern Conference teams (including a two-goal performance on October 29 at Philadelphia), Palmieri seized the moment on this night in front of a large group of family and friends.
After the Devils tied it late in regulation, forcing the game into overtime, Palmieri received a pass from Mathieu Perrault in open ice and galloped down the right wing into the Devils zone. Palmieri blew past defenseman Eric Gelinas and, in one motion, wrapped it around the back of the net and tucked it just inside the left post, beating goaltender Cory Schneider. The victory was Anaheim’s seventh in a row (in the midst of a franchise-best 10 consecutive wins). After the game, Palmieri was greeted by his family and friends who waited outside the Ducks locker room.
24. December 23, 2013
Boudreau’s Return to Washington
This game marked the first return to Washington, D.C. for head coach Bruce Boudreau, who spent four years as the bench boss for the Capitals (2007-11). Boudreau won the 2007-08 Jack Adams award and led the Capitals to the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy. He compiled a 201-88-40 record (.672) and won the Southeast Division four times. After the game, which was another comeback victory, Boudreau spoke of his pre-game jitters. “I was as nervous as I’ll get. It just looked different. I don’t think I made eye contact with one player all night long because I couldn’t. I was worried they might give me a pout or something [laughs].”
It was also Mathieu Perreault’s first return to Verizon Center after the Capitals traded him to the Ducks on September 29. Drafted by the Caps in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft, Perreault appeared in 159 career NHL games with Washington, scoring 70 points (33g/37a) with a +17 rating and 70 penalty minutes.
23. November 8, 2013
Getzlaf’s First Career Hat Trick
This night belonged to Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. Known as a pass-first player for most of his career, Getzlaf took it upon himself to win this game in the first period. Getzlaf reeled off three goals in those opening 20 minutes, earning his first career hat trick in front of a jubilant Honda Center crowd. The Ducks went on trounce the Sabres, 6-2. Getzlaf’s hat trick marked the fifth time in club history a player scored three goals in a single period, and just the second time in the FIRST period (the other first-period instance was Selanne on Nov. 10, 1997 vs. San Jose).
Getzlaf’s assist on Cam Fowler’s first-period goal gave him four points in the period, tying the club record for points in any period. This marked the fifth time in club history a player recorded four points in a single period (last: Vinny Prospal recorded four points (1g/3a) in the third period on Jan. 23, 2004 vs. Minnesota).
After the game Boudreau said he knew the captain would have a standout performance. “You could tell, as soon as he started his skating, that Ryan was great. When we got the power-play goal early, it was because he did something he doesn’t normally do, which is jump right into the play after a shot. As soon as he did that, I said ‘Okay, he’s going to have a good game.’”
22. January 3, 2014
“Reverend” Lovejoy Becomes Father Lovejoy
The week leading up to the New Year was one Ben Lovejoy will never forget. The Ducks defenseman and wife Avery had their first child, a daughter named Lila, on New Year’s Eve. Though he’ll always be referred to as “The Rev,” Lovejoy can now be called Father. On the day of his first child’s birth, Lovejoy played in the game against the San Jose Sharks at Honda Center. Lovejoy made the save of the game when he thwarted Joe Thornton’s bid into a wide open net with a diving stop. The Ducks scored on the ensuing rush and won the game, 6-3.
And just three days later, Lovejoy would make an impact on the scoresheet. Lovejoy scored two consecutive goals in almost identical fashion in the late stages of the first period against the Edmonton Oilers. The multi-goal performance was the first of his career. By scoring twice in 2:43 in the first period, Lovejoy recorded the fastest two goals by a Ducks defenseman in franchise history. The previous mark was held by Tom Kurvers, who scored two goals in 2:59 on Jan. 23, 1995 vs. Edmonton. In addition, Lovejoy tied the franchise record for most goals scored in a single period by a Ducks defenseman. “Two good shots, great feeling,” he said after the game. “Great win. It’s been an awesome couple of days, and I would love to keep it going. It was pretty special.”
21. October 24, 2013
Koivu’s Emotional Return to Montreal
In what might’ve been his last game in Montreal, Ducks forward Saku Koivu made sure it was one to remember. Koivu, 39, played each of his first 13 NHL seasons in a Montreal uniform, and was named team captain on Sept. 30, 1999, holding the title for 10 years, matching the longest serving captaincy in Montreal’s 100-year history (also Jean Béliveau). Koivu collected 641 points (191g/450a) in 792 games with the Canadiens from 1995-09.
Koivu was greeted with a nice gift from the Canadiens organization as he stepped into the locker room for the morning skate. In the room was a chair that was made to look like his former Canadiens jersey, complete with the captain's C and his name and number.
Though the Ducks ended up losing the game, 4-1, the night belonged to Koivu, who received a loud ovation prior to the game, and then during the final minute of regulation when the fans chanted “Saku! Saku!” Koivu was named the First Star of the game, and saluted the crowd at center ice. On being named the first star, Koivu said “When you lose, you don't expect that you're going to get a star, but it was emotional.”