In praise of Bobby Ryan

In praise of Bobby Ryan
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ducks at Colorado, vs Avalanche

I would have been home to watch this game as it happened, but Saturday afternoon found me exploring the Southwestern-flavored countryside of Scottsdale, Arizona. That was the tail end of a road trip to see Avenged Sevenfold.

Anyway! I had a nice Ducks game waiting for me in my VCR once I got home.

Jonas Hiller started in net again. If you're making saves and you're hot in between the pipes, the coach will keep starting you. Hiller is now ranked third in goals against average.

This game is a record breaker for Teemu Selanne, his 617th game with the Ducks. That's the most games played by any player for the Ducks in the history of the franchise. Congrats, Teemu!

A lot of speed skating and quick goals on net in this game. The Avalanche are super-quick on the ice. Just as I started to wonder about the partnering of Bobby Ryan with Ryan Carter and George Parros, a play ends with Bobby getting pushed, and then pushing back, and then a potential fight breaking out and risking our star Duck... and then you see Parros come charging in. I guess, if you've got Big George on your line, guys will think twice about messing with you.

The first Avalanche goal comes during a power play. The Ducks answer quickly back with a beautifully executed goal by Parros. Ryan Getzlaf faked a shot, sending Avalanche defenders flying in the wrong direction, then passed back to Brendan Mikkelson who slapped the shot toward the net where it was knocked in by Parros.

Lots of excitement in the first period, including an unfortunate four-minute penalty by Corey Perry. There was also an amazing breakaway play by Chris Kunitz, who single-handedly rushed the goal, faked Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj and tried to stuff the puck into the right side of the crease, only to be blocked by a Budaj's leg pad.

Towards the end of the first period, Ducks take the lead with a goal scored by Getzlaf, assisted by Kunitz and Perry. I'd like to say it was a doozy of a shot, but actually, I think it was more of a mistake on Budaj's part. He probably should have been able to make that save.

It's okay though, we'll take it! Getzlaf goes on to make one goal and two assists in this game.

The second period showcases a lot of back and forth with the puck, but a short-handed goal comes out of a high-sticking Avalanche penalty. The Avalanche ties it up, 2 to 2. They quickly follow it up with another goal, pulling them into the lead, 3 to 2.

There were some big mistakes in the second period for the Ducks, both of which resulted in the Avalanche goals. But finally, another power play for the Ducks, and they regain the tie with a pretty backhanded pass from my boy Bobby straight to Scott Niedermayer who, all in one fast motion, slaps it into the goal. That extends Bobby's point streak to seven games straight, a rookie record.

The next play results in a huge tussle in front of Hiller at the crease. Amazingly, the puck didn't go in. Kudos to Hiller for some fantastic saves there! As the smoke clears, Brett Hedican is left bent over in pain, blood shooting from his face onto the ice. The replay reveals an Avalanche elbow connecting with Hedican's nose.

Ugh. No penalty there. Is it just me or wasn't Corey Perry suspended for four games because of an elbow-to-the-face offense?

Speaking of injuries, there seems to be a lot of them for the Ducks with this game. Pronger and Bobby each take a high stick to the face, Hedican takes an elbow to the face, and Getzlaf takes a puck to the face. Geezus.

The tie is broken in the first half of the third period, an awkward yet successful goal by Selanne, assisted by Andrew Ebbett, his second point of the season (both earned in this game). The cameras caught Selanne sitting on the bench after his goal, accompanied by the veteran's two rookie linemates, giving each of them appreciative shoulder pats.

It just gives you the feeling that Selanne, the veteran star, remembers being an up and coming rookie, and is doing his part to encourage the new boys.

The last few minutes of the third period were nothing but a nail-biter. Players and pucks strewn all about the Ducks' zone, everyone fighting furiously to bring/deny the equalizer. I'm absolutely amazed that Hiller didn't give up any goals in scramble after scramble. Unbelievable! Playing a very offensive defense, the Ducks manage to deny the Avalanche, pulling a win 4-3 and their ranking up to fifth in the Western Conference.

Go Ducks!


Leo said...

Yeah! Ducks are winning again. Was about time...

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