Los Angeles Hockey: Jarrko Ruutu

Ducks: Game 3 on deck in Nashville

April, 17, 2011
Western Conference quarterfinals

Game 3

Ducks (1-1) vs. Nashville Predators (1-1) at Bridgestone Arena, 3 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Ryan sits: If scoring goals against one of the league’s best goalkeepers isn’t tough enough, the Ducks will be without their second-leading goal scorer from the regular season for Games 3 and 4 in Nashville. Bobby Ryan was suspended two games by the NHL on Saturday for stomping on the skate of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum with about 3 minutes left in Game 2. Ryan scored two goals in the 5-3 victory and 34 during the regular season.

2. Ruutu back? With the absence of Ryan, the Ducks will likely reinsert Jarrko Ruutu in the lineup. Ruutu has been racking up the penalty minutes of late but not many points. In fact, he hasn’t made the scoring column since tallying an assist Feb. 27 against Colorado. But the Ducks didn’t acquire Ruutu for his scoring touch. He’s purely a fourth-line agitator and he does that well. He just needs to stay out of the penalty box.

3. Top-line replacement? The other big question in response to Ryan’s suspension is, who will replace Ryan on the top line? Brandon McMillan practiced with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on Saturday, so that should be a good indication. McMillan had teamed with Matt Beleskey and Nick Bonino on Friday against the Predators and they had one of the best shifts of the game to set up Ryan's first goal, which gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead in the second period. When you’re dealing with Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, however, it’s always safe to expect the unexpected.

4. Outside the box: This probably goes without saying, but the longer the Ducks can stay out of the penalty box the better off they'll be against the Predators. Anaheim hasn’t been doing a good job of that lately, allowing 20 power plays over the last four regular-season games and 11 through the first two postseason games. The Ducks aren't particularly strong on the penalty kill, finishing 19th in the league during the regular season, and they’ve allowed three power-play goals in the first two playoff games.

5. Dangerous Predator: Nashville is best known for goaltender Pekka Rinne and the defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter but a key player to stop up front is Mike Fisher, who has four points in the first two playoff games. Fisher came over to Nashville in February in a trade with Ottawa. In addition to his scoring touch, Fisher was teammates with Ducks goalie Ray Emery for parts of five seasons in Ottawa, so he should know Emery’s weaknesses better than others.

Ducks: Score one for Marchant

February, 27, 2011

ANAHEIM—Even the referees were poking fun at Todd Marchant.

The fourth-line center for the Ducks had gone 61 games without a goal this season, the longest drought among NHL forwards.

Something had to give.

That long-awaited moment finally occurred with just over two minutes remaining in the second period Sunday night against the Colorado Avalanche, a key contribution in the 3-2 victory that ended a five-game losing streak and kept the Ducks on the doorstep of the top eight in the Western Conference standings.

“Hopefully, this can jump start us,” Marchant said. “We have some top teams coming in here the rest of the week.”

Rookie forward Brandon McMillan also scored for the fourth time in the last nine games, breaking a 2-2 with 8:37 remaining in the game and continuing a trend that's vital to any team's playoff run.

“It’s the secondary scoring that’s really come alive,” said Ducks forward Corey Perry, who assisted on a goal by Ryan Getlaf during a feisty first period that saw three fights break out in the first nine minutes.

It just so happens Ducks coach Randy Carlyle has recently asked his supporting cast to step up their contributions during the playoff run. Carlyle said Marchant has responded.

“The last two games Todd Marchant has played for this hockey club have been the two best games he has played this year,” Carlyle said. “That’s what we need.”

Marchant’s scoring play began when he received a pass from Jarrko Ruutu as he built speed through center ice. Marchant passed the puck to Luca Sbisa on his right and Sbisa took a shot that Marchant redirected into the net for a 2-1 lead.

“We were joking we were going to pick up the puck for him,” Carlyle said

Marchant is hardly a newbie when it comes to scoring goals. The 37-year-old native of Buffalo, N.Y. has 186 goals in his 16-year career, including 20 in 2002-03 as a member of the Oilers.

But he has settled into a fourth-line checking role in the latter stages of his career, one that he does smoothly and effectively.

Still, he didn’t expect to go this long without his first goal of the season.

“My son scored a goal the other day in his game and says, ‘Now it’s your turn dad,’ “ Marchant said. “Everybody has been very supportive. Every guy in this locker room was pretty happy for me.”

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some kidding along the way.

“A lot of guys are having fun and poking fun at me and even the linesmen are having fun with me,” he said. “But you what, I’ll take the ribbing to get that first one out of the way.”