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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ducks vs Los Angeles Kings

There's a lot riding on this game. Not just the Freeway Faceoff title, although that's a big one. But also, the Ducks are out of the playoff standings for the first time this season. They need this win!

Nothing against J.S. Giguere, cuz I love Giggy, but I'm a little bit relieved to see Jonas Hiller start in net tonight. I think Giggy took a beating in the last game, against the Thrashers, and I'm concerned how that might affect his game.

Right as the first period starts, our boys are moving their feet, it's an aggressive game. I'm hoping they won't repeat their habit of giving up that first goal... but somehow, I doubt it...

And then, the Kings get one past Hiller.

But that's not to say that Hiller isn't on the ball. He made some excellent saves. In the first period, there was a great point blank, one-on-one save against a rushing Anze Kopitar. On the other side of the rink, the Kings' netminder tonight is Jonathan Quick, an excellent goalie in his own right.

To prove that point, the first period comes to a close with the Kings leading 1-0.

Even though our Ducks open the second with the rest of a power play, they can't get one into the net. It's a bit frustrating, cuz the guys are making great shots on goal. Especially when, at the middle of the game, the Kings get another one between the arm and the body of Hiller. It's now 2-0 and my mood has dropped considerably.

Emotions are running high already, and even more so with this deficit. Mike Brown already fought Wayne Simmonds in the first. And after every whistle following a goalie save, guys start pushing and shoving in the crease.

Finally, in the later half of the second, a faceoff win by Ryan Getzlaf finds its way to Scott Niedermayer, who sends it towards Quick. The rebound is picked up by Teemu Selanne, who slams it through some major traffic to find net. Ducks get on the scoreboard, 1-2.

The third period starts with a penalty against Jack Johnson for intercepting Chris Kunitz. On the resulting power play, Getzlaf does an amazing play down the center of the ice and gets the puck past Quick to tie the game. Play intensifies as the period stretches on. Lots of energy on the ice... and bad calls when Bobby Ryan gets clipped in the face by a high stick, with no call from the zebras.

Moments later, he's sent to the penalty box with one of the Kings for a hooking/holding the stick combo. And then ANOTHER penalty against the Ducks, and the Captain is sent to the box for slashing.

The Kings take advantage of the 4 on 3 play and retake the lead.

And then more penalties. Both Niedermayer brothers and no Kings because of a huge, multiplayer scrum behind the Kings net? I don't get it. But it's a 5 on 3 game again, with pressure running high on Hiller to keep those pucks out of his net. Unfortunately, he can't, and the Kings take another goal.

With less than five minutes to go, it looks like our Ducks are doomed. But not without a fight! Kunitz gets an amazing goal between the pipes. My boy Bobby has already attempted an excellent shot on goal that was denied by Quick, and then again, he makes a great slap shot that gets covered. You can read the frustration off his face.

Without the Captain, I can't say I hold out much hope for an equalizer. And indeed, the Ducks can't pull through. The Kings take the game, and the Freeway Faceoff Title, 4-3.


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