Los Angeles Hockey: Ryan Getzlaf

Hats off, GM Murray, for locking up Perry

March, 19, 2013

And just like that, the biggest name that could have been moved before the April 3 deadline has been scratched off the trade market list.

Corey Perry is staying put in Anaheim thanks to a $69 million, eight-year contract extension announced during Monday night’s Sharks-Ducks game.

Score one for the underdog, GM Bob Murray.

Most team executives and agents around the NHL didn’t think he could sign both his potential unrestricted free agent stars, Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Maybe one, many said, but likely not both.

Of course, it cost the Ducks a healthy sum to pull it off. As in $8.625 million on average per season for Perry, and earlier this month, Getzlaf got reeled in for $8.25 million a year, also over eight years. That’s $135 million for two players from 2013-14 through 2020-21.

Here’s the crazy part: Perry likely would have gotten more on the open market, as in at least $9 million a year, if he truly was exposed to all 30 teams in the league come July 5.

The Toronto Maple Leafs would have been all over the 2011 Hart Trophy winner, with the likes of Detroit and Philadelphia probably not far behind.

Two months ago, I would have told you there was little chance Perry would sign before the trade deadline. That was the feeling most people around the league had, as well. But there's no question Anaheim’s surprising season, which has seen the Ducks challenge for first overall, had a profound impact on Perry and his decision to skip free agency.

Last summer, Perry was also presented with a massive offer from the Ducks, but sources say he didn’t want to commit yet. After a couple of disappointing seasons for the Ducks, it was certainly within Perry’s rights to be a little patient before deciding whether Anaheim remained committed to winning.

Smart offseason additions by Murray -- Sheldon Souray, Daniel Winnik and Bryan Allen, plus the emergence of Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth -- helped the Ducks fill some holes.

Getzlaf’s re-emergence as one of the NHL’s premier No. 1 centers is certainly no small factor, either. The Ducks' captain signed his extension March 8, putting all the spotlight and pressure squarely on his linemate, Perry.

And you knew Murray and the Ducks' front office would take one last run at Perry contractwise before deciding whether to put him on the trade market.

Make no mistake: Murray would have looked at what Perry’s value would have been on the trade market if he hadn't signed. It doesn’t mean Murray would have dealt the star, but he would have inquired.

After losing Justin Schultz for nothing last summer to free agency, the Ducks were not too thrilled at the thought of losing another major asset and getting nothing in return come July. You can’t keep losing key assets that create gaping holes in your organization.

Murray, in fact, had chatted with Nashville GM David Poile about his experience with the Ryan Suter saga a year ago, which ended with the Predators ultimately deciding to keep the star blueliner and pending UFA because they held out hope they could still sign him after the season. You can imagine what Poile would have had to say to Murray in retrospect.

Perry understood everything at play. He decided if the deal was right, he’d stay on.

Perry met with his agents, Mark Guy and Pat Morris of Newport Sports, on Wednesday in Dallas, had a long heart-to-heart and went over all his options. Perry went home to discuss it one final time with his family and phoned his agents Friday to tell them he had decided that if they could negotiate a deal, he'd stay on. That led to long negotiations all weekend between Newport and the Ducks.

Against the popular betting, the Ducks got it done.

Perry and Getzlaf, both signed, sealed and delivered.

The Ducks now have about $53 million committed to 16 players for next season. They’re about $11 million under the $64.3 million salary cap for '13-14 as they look to fill out next season's roster. Perry's deal, as part of the new CBA, has a no-movement clause that kicked in upon the signing of the extension.

People immediately hit Twitter after the Perry signing and suggested that Bobby Ryan was a goner this summer. But I do not believe that the Ducks feel they have to move Ryan's deal (two more years at $5.1 million per). The Ducks have expiring contracts on their roster and Ryan's deal easily fits into their plans. That's not to say if they get an offer they can't refuse they wouldn't listen, but a source close to the situation told ESPN.com Tuesday that the Ducks aren't going into the offseason with the idea of moving Ryan.

You also have to see what happens with veteran Finnish wingers Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, both UFAs after the season, And, certainly in the case of the Finnish Flash, perhaps this is finally it. He won’t decide that until the summer.

For now, it’s all about a run at the Stanley Cup for the Anaheim Ducks, who have removed the gigantic distractions of the Getzlaf/Perry contract situations with two-plus weeks to spare before the trade deadline.

What a story indeed.

Need to know: Look out, here come the Ducks

March, 19, 2013

Move over, Chicago. It’s Anaheim’s time to shine.

Had it not been for the Blackhawks' sensational streak to start the season, the Ducks would’ve been the ones commanding all the attention as the league’s hottest (and frankly, most surprising) team out West.

Now they are finally getting their chance to hog the spotlight.

As ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun pointed out, it was a massive coup for the organization and Ducks general manager Bob Murray to lock up both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to eight-year extensions, and the strength of their play this season was a big reason.

On the same night that the Ducks announced the eight-year, $69 million extension for Perry on the in-game scoreboard, the Ducks racked up their franchise-record 12th straight home win, topping the Sharks 5-3 in a well-rounded effort.

With Getzlaf, Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan, the Ducks have been a team that has boasted top talent in recent years, but it’s the contributions they’ve received up and down their lineup that have been the difference this season.

A glance at last night’s scoresheet is a prime example.

Defenseman Francois Beauchemin tallied twice for the Ducks, while Southern California product Emerson Etem scored his first NHL goal and both Peter Holland and Getzlaf (short-handed) chipped in with second-period markers of their own as the Ducks improved to 21-3-4.

Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik, two pleasant surprises in providing secondary scoring for the Ducks, also found their way onto the scoresheet with one and two assists, respectively.

And let’s not forget goaltender Viktor Fasth, whose scorching start to the season continued as he collected his 11th win, turning away 32 of 35 shots.

Nabbing 17 of 20 points in the past 10 games (7-0-3), Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks are now nipping at Chicago’s heels with 46 points, only five points behind the Western Conference leaders.

Is it not impossible to suggest that Anaheim could close the gap and pass the front-runners before the regular season draws to a close?

Not only are the Blackhawks without Patrick Sharp, but the Ducks have the benefit of now playing eight of their next 12 games at home, including the next four straight.

And guess who is next up to make a trip to the Honda Center?

You guessed it, Chicago.

The Blackhawks enter Wednesday’s match on a three-game winning streak after Monday’s 5-2 win in Colorado, looking to create some separation at the top of the heap.

With these two teams battling for bragging rights in the West, it promises to be nothing short of one of the marquee matchups of the season.

Ducks: Second-half run continues with 3-1 win vs. Blackhawks

February, 26, 2012

ANAHEIM—The Ducks were coming off an immensely successful eight-game road trip, one in which they posted a 5-1-2 record. Yet, when the puck dropped Sunday afternoon against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, they were still eight points back of the final playoff spot, the same margin as when the departed 18 days earlier.

A brick wall on the momentum highway?

Not a chance.

After a slow start, the Ducks proceeded to dominate the Blackhawks over the final 41 minutes, scoring a 3-1 victory in front of 17,601, the largest crowd to watch a regular-season game at Honda Center.

The victory moved the Ducks back within six points of the eighth-place Dallas Stars, who scored in the final minute earlier Sunday to tie the score against the Vancouver Canucks and then won in overtime.

“We didn’t get much help, but you know what?” said Teemu Selanne, who scored the third goal for the Ducks to move into 20th all time in NHL scoring. “Don’t worry about that. Just worry about the things we can control. Everything is in our own hands.”

It was just two months ago that the 41-year-old Selanne was rumored to be on the trading block. On the eve of the NHL trade deadline, it appears general manager Bob Murray has no choice but to keep his core group together and see what other magic they can pull out of their hats. Twenty points back of the final playoff spot on Jan. 5, the Ducks are officially in the Western Conference race.

“Within our group, it was a far goal for us but we set some short-term goals and we’ve reached a lot of them,” said team captain Ryan Getzlaf. “That’s what we have to continue doing. We haven’t accomplished anything yet. We’re just in the hunt, that’s the only thing we’ve done.”

Since the calendar turned to 2012, the Ducks have earned more points (38) than any other NHL team and have the best goal differential (+23).

“It’s a completely different team in this locker room right now,” said winger Bobby Ryan. “I don’t think there’s any defining moment that changed things around. We started to get some bounces and, when that happened, you start to get a little confidence and things tighten up defensively for you.”

A big reason for the turnaround has been the play of goalie Jonas Hiller. He was sharp again Sunday, stopping 18 shots in his 21st consecutive start to improve to 15-3-4 in his last 23 games.

“Jonas has come on and become the best goalie in the league over this stretch,” Ryan said. “If we hadn’t given away November and December, we’d be in a great position right now. We dug our own hole so we’re trying to climb out of it.”

Even if it’s one point at a time.

Ducks: 5 keys to the second half

January, 28, 2012
Ryan GetzlafDebora Robinson/Getty ImagesThe Ducks will need Ryan Getzlaf's scoring to pick up if they hope to sustain their recent momentum.

The Ducks were thought to be dead in the water a month ago, but now they've taken flight and enter the All-Star break as the second-hottest team in the NHL over their past 10 games. Here are some keys to getting the Ducks back in the playoff hunt.

1. Ducks in a row – Second-half surges at Honda Center have become as much part of the norm around town as Disney parades. For reasons unknown, the Ducks come out of the All Star/Olympic break like their skates are on fire, owning a combined 85-44-15 record in the second halves since their Stanley Cup season of 2006-07. That’s a lofty .642 winning percentage based on points earned and points available. Anaheim needed to start its annual run a little sooner this season, thanks to a late-October slump that extended into November, December and January. After a loss to San Jose on Jan 4, the Ducks were staring at a 10-22-6 mark. Soon after, Ducks general manager Bob Murray let it be known that anyone not named Teemu Selanne or Saku Koivu was available for trade. Suddenly, the Ducks began playing the type of hockey everyone envisioned coming into the season and won eight of nine games. Heading into play on Jan. 6, they were 20 points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Coming out of the All-Star break, they’ll be 12 behind. It’s probably no coincidence that Jan. 6 marked the beginning of a 32-game stretch in which 23 of Anaheim’s opponents did not make the playoffs last season. Looks as if they might just be positioned for another second-half run.

2. Hope for Ryan? – Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf remains on pace to deliver his lowest goal-scoring campaign since his rookie season in 2005-06. Just as troubling, his minus-15 rating is 78 points lower than his career total. Getzlaf is the straw that stirs the drink for the Ducks, but too often plays like he'd rather be the umbrella. Even while the rest of the team is spreading its wings this month, the 26-year-old center has been quite bland. Outside of a four-assist effort against Edmonton, he has just two goals and three assists in the other nine games. History doesn’t suggest Getzlaf will catch fire after the All-Star break like the rest of the team has. For their sake, the Ducks might not be able to make up the early-season deficit unless he does get on a roll. And if they don’t, he might be one of the biggest names to change uniforms at next month’s trade deadline.

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Kings/Ducks: This meeting has some issues

December, 5, 2011

Kings (13-9-4, 30 points) vs. Ducks (7-14-5, 19 points) at Honda Center, 7 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. Scoreless-fest? – The Kings are struggling to score more than two goals a game, and the Ducks can’t seem to keep the puck out of their net. Something has to give. At a time when both teams should be taking advantage of the lack of NBA games on the schedule, neither is delivering a particularly entertaining product. The Ducks came into the week tied with the Kings for 28th in the league in scoring, but have actually improved in that department lately. It's the Kings that have taken a step back, scoring two goals or fewer in five straight. What separates the teams in the standings are goals against. The Kings are fourth in the league, the Ducks are 26th.

2. Injury update – The Kings will need to find a way to get through another game without leading goal scorer Mike Richards and top shutdown defenseman Willie Mitchell. Richards went on injured reserve after taking a shoulder to the chin from Florida winger Sean Bergenheim on Thursday. Mitchell has a slight groin strain and is listed as day-to-day, but won’t play against the Ducks. More than ever, it’s imperative that other players step up. Dustin Penner scored his first goal in 28 games Saturday in a 2-1 loss against visiting Montreal, Justin Williams hasn’t scored in the last 17.

3. Line dancing – Kings coach Terry Murray reunited the No. 1 line of Anze Kopitar, Simon Gagne and Williams during practice Monday, dropping Dustin Brown back to left wing on the second line and Penner to left wing on the third. The Ducks, meanwhile, broke up their No. 1 line, moving Matt Beleskey up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Bobby Ryan was sent to the second line with Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau, hired last week to try and save the team from its downward spiral, seemed to blur the lines after a 5-3 loss Sunday night against Minnesota, saying, “The first line, if you want to call Getzlaf's line the first line, didn't seem like they were generating anything.” Ouch.

4. Doughty’s slow go – Murray didn’t beat around the bush when asked to evaluate the recent performances of young defensemen Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson. He said the duo needs to get more involved offensively and not be so hesitant to shoot. Doughty is under even more pressure to perform after missing training camp while his representatives squeezed the Kings into offering the richest contract on the team. Doughty has two goals and six assists in 21 games. It’s interesting to note, Doughty had one goal and six assists through 21 games last season, then blew up for three goals and 15 assists over the next 21.

5. Fighting words – Boudreau was once part of the Kings organization, coaching their AHL affiliate in Manchester from 2001-2005. Therefore, he’s no stranger to the I-5 rivalry that’s developed between the clubs. He summed it up by saying this of the impending match up: “I think there’s going to be a lot of hatred on both sides. When I was part of the Kings organization, they certainly didn’t like the Ducks. So now that I’m here, I certainly don’t like the Kings.” Enough said.

Ducks: Players get a feel for Bruce Boudreau

December, 1, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Ryan Getzlaf compared it to the first day of grade school. Bobby Ryan said it was more like a first date.

Whatever the occasion, the Ducks had the look of a team beginning anew during practice Thursday at Anaheim Ice, still mindful they were letting go of an important piece of the past.

Randy Carlyle, two months into his seventh season as coach of the Ducks, was fired Wednesday night within an hour of a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens. He was immediately replaced by Bruce Boudreau, who was let go Monday as coach of the Washington Capitals.

The Ducks, who began Thursday with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, hope the move will provide a shot in the arm.

“It’s going to be a bit of an energy boost for us, hopefully,” Getzlaf said.

To read the full story on the team's first practice with Boudreau, click here.

Ducks: Randy Carlyle never saw it coming

November, 30, 2011

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Randy Carlyle stood outside the Anaheim Ducks' locker room Wednesday night at Honda Center, oblivious that he was about to be fired from a job he had held for a little more than six seasons.

He had just coached the Ducks to a 4-1 victory against the visiting Montreal Canadiens, only their second victory in the past 15 games and third since Oct. 17.

He was already thinking ahead to Friday night’s game against visiting Philadelphia.

Randy Carlyle
Jeff Vinnick/NHLI/Getty ImagesRandy Carlyle had coached the Ducks the last six-plus seasons before being fired late Wednesday night.
“My mandate is, now what do we do for the next one?” he said. “Because the next one is coming in a hurry, and that’s the most important one to me.”

He then walked down the hall toward his office, unaware that general manager Bob Murray was waiting outside the door.

Carlyle had guided the Ducks to the Stanley Cup title just four seasons ago but seemed to have lost his message with the team, which spiraled after a 4-1 start.

The Ducks have the Hart trophy winner from last season in Corey Perry, an All-Star goalie in Jonas Hiller, one of the top young centers in the league in Ryan Getzlaf and one of the most promising young defensemen in Cam Fowler, yet they went into Wednesday’s game with the second-worst record in the Western Conference.

There was much speculation before the game against Montreal that winger Bobby Ryan would be traded to shake up the team. Turns out Murray was devising another plan, reaching out to replace Carlyle with Bruce Boudreau, who was fired earlier in the week as coach of the Washington Capitals.

“The amount of things that have been going on outside the game has been a huge distraction,” Carlyle said during his postgame news conference. “Tonight, [the players] were rewarded and they deserved everything that they got.”

Unfortunately, Carlyle might have as well.

Ducks: Losses continue to mount

November, 20, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Call it a trend within a trend.

The Ducks lost for the 10th time in the last 11 games Sunday evening, giving up the first three goals to the visiting Detroit Red Wings before eventually falling, 4-2, at Honda Center.

In nine of the losses, the Ducks allowed the first goal, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by coach Randy Carlyle.

“We’ve had to play catch-up in all of these games,” he said. “We’re not establishing any forecheck, or any physicality early in the hockey game. It takes too long for us to do that. We’re receiving and we’re not on the aggressive side, for whatever reason. I wish I had the answer to it because we’d be correcting it.”

The Red Wings needed just one shot on goal to take a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, the arena had a power failure that caused the game to be delayed 29 minutes. The Ducks managed to escape the first period without any further damage, but 14 seconds into the second the Red Wings scored again, this time after a pass from Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was intercepted in the neutral zone, leading to a goal by Johan Franzen.

“I forced it,” Fowler said. “It was a terrible play, not something that I usually try and make. I have to be more patient than that.”

Seven minutes later, Detroit made it 3-0 on a goal by defenseman Brad Stuart.

“The way we’ve been behind in these last few games, you start trying to make up for everything all in one shift and maybe force some plays that you shouldn’t,” Fowler said “To me, it’s more the adjustments that teams are making. We just need to come up the ice as a five-man unit.”

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Kings: No more excuses vs. Ducks

November, 16, 2011
Kings (8-6-3, 19 points) vs. Ducks (6-8-3, 15 points) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.

Five storylines to track:

1. European post-vacation – Both teams seemed to pay the price for their season-opening trips to Europe. They caught fire once they crossed back over the Atlantic but the adrenaline seemed to wear off overnight and their offenses have spiraled in the last eight to 12 games. The Kings showed signs of getting off the mat in a 5-2 victory Saturday night against visiting Minnesota, the best defensive team in the league. Anaheim looked good for a period Friday night against visiting Vancouver before holding on to win, 4-3, its only victory in the last eight games.

2. Russian relief – The Kings have placed three players on injured reserve in the last week and filled two of those roster spots with forward Andrei Loktionov and defenseman Slava Voynov, both 21-year-old Russians who have plenty of skill but not a lot of NHL experience. Loktionov, a natural center who will play left wing on the second line with Mike Richards and Dustin Brown, has played 19 career games over the previous two seasons. Voynov made his NHL debut earlier this season and looked like a seasoned pro while scoring three points in five games, helping the Kings go 4-1 in that span.

3. Fourth-line repeat – Kings coach Terry Murray liked what he saw from the fourth line Saturday night against the Wild and said he’ll let it ride against the Ducks. Colin Fraser, who was added to the roster last week when Scott Parse went down with a lower-body injury, scored a goal in his second game with the club and seemed to click with Trevor Lewis and Ethan Moreau, both of whom earned assists on the play. Secondary scoring has been the Achilles heel for both teams, and anything they can get from a checking line is a huge lift.

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Ducks: Hiller gets hook vs. Coyotes

October, 23, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Heading into this fall, a major area of concern for the Ducks was how well goalkeeper Jonas Hiller would bounce back after missing most of the second half of last season while battling vertigo-like symptoms.

He put much of the curiosity to rest after winning three of his first four starts, but Sunday night against Phoenix brought back troubling memories of how quickly things can go wrong.

The Coyotes scored five goals on 19 shots in a tick under 28 minutes against Hiller, just the right number to defeat the Ducks, 5-4, at Honda Center.

Hiller was removed from the game after giving up three goals in a 3:09 span early in the second period, giving Phoenix a 5-2 lead. Backup Dan Ellis managed to shut down the Coyotes the rest of the game, stopping 16 shots in the process, but the damage had already been done. Hiller has now given up eight goals in his last two starts.

“When you look back on it, the flurry of goals in the second period sunk our hockey club,” said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. “We probably should have done something after the fourth goal, instead of waiting for the fifth."

The most troublesome goal allowed by Hiller came long before the second-period barrage. Less than a minute after the Ducks took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Ryan Getzlaf with 5:58 remaining in the opening period, Martin Hanzal skated into the offensive zone and let a wrist shot fly from the top of the left faceoff circle.

With no traffic between Hanzal and the goal, the puck still found a way under Hiller’s left arm pit and skidded across the goal line.

“The second goal is my fault,” Hiller said. “It was a bouncing puck, a rolling puck, but I still should have made the save.”

The Coyotes then scored three straight goals in the second period to chase Hiller from the game. To his defense, Hiller’s teammates didn’t help the situation by committing ill-timed turnovers in their defensive end.

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Coyotes 5, Ducks 4: By the numbers

October, 23, 2011
DucksHarry How/Getty ImagesRyan Getzlaf, center, celebrates one of his two goals during a 5-4 loss to Phoenix on Sunday night.
0 -- Number of goals scored by the Ducks on four power-play opportunities. Anaheim, which entered the game ranked 24th with the man-advantage, is now just 3-for-29 on the power play this season.

1 -- Goal scored by Anaheim defenseman Kurtis Foster, who tallied his first point as a Duck in his first game of the season. “When they told me I was going to play, I was pretty excited”, Foster said. “To be able to chip in with a goal is always a positive. It definitely felt good to get back in a game out there.”

2 -- Goals scored by Ducks’ defenseman, accounting for half of the offensive output on the night.

3 -- Phoenix power plays killed by the Ducks. Anaheim has yet to allow the opponent to score with the man-advantage in 19 opportunities on home ice this season.

4 -- Consecutive goals scored by Phoenix after Anaheim took a 2-1 lead 14:02 into the second period. Coach Randy Carlyle said, “When you look back on it, the flurry of goals in the second period sunk our hockey club. I thought our team had its fair share of chances. We just didn’t execute to a level that was required and then we got frustrated.”

5 -- Goals allowed on 19 shots before Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller was pulled in favor of Dan Ellis. Hiller got the hook 7:56 into the second period. Ellis turned aside all 16 shots he faced in relief.

6 -- Game goal-scoring drought snapped by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who tallied twice for his first two goals of the season. Getzlaf, a notoriously slow starter, didn’t score in the first three games of the 2010-2011 campaign. He went seven straight before tallying in ’09-’10 and six consecutive games without a goal to start the ’08-’09 season.

7 -- The number of games on the road trip the Ducks embark upon beginning Tuesday in Chicago. Anaheim has dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak. Said Getzlaf: “I wish we would have had a better game to send us off. Maybe that is what we need is to get out on the road as a group, take advantage of this time together and work toward a bigger goal.”

9 -- As in Nov. 9, the date of Anaheim’s next home game vs. Nashville.

29 -- Saves for Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who helped Phoenix snap a two-game slide.

100 -- Points as a Duck by center Saku Koivu, who reached the century mark by setting up Foster’s second period goal.

Stars 3, Ducks 1: By the numbers

October, 22, 2011
1 -- Number of shots it took the Stars to score their first goal of the night. Loui Eriksson lit the lamp for the fourth time this season to give Dallas the early advantage.

13 -- Number of seconds into the game it took for Eriksson to beat Jonas Hiller. Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf said, “We came out pretty flat. You can’t do that against a good hockey club and it obviously cost us tonight.”

2 -- Number of goals for Eriksson on the night, resulting in his 17th-career multi-goal game.

3 -- Game goal-scoring streak by Ducks right wing Corey Perry, who potted 50 last season to lead the NHL. Perry failed to tally in the team’s first three contests this season.

.1 -- Seconds left in the 2nd period when Perry lit the lamp. The Ducks’ lone goal came on the power play. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said, “I really felt when we go back to 2-1 that we’d be okay for the third period. Then, they scored early in the third period and we didn’t have much left.”

4 -- Game-winning streak the Ducks saw come to an end.

5 -- Game-winning streak for the Stars, who lead the Pacific Division with a 6-1-0 record.

6 -- Game winning streak for Stars’ goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Dallas’ only loss this season came with Andrew Raycroft in net.

17 -- Number of opponents’ power plays the Ducks have killed on home ice. Anaheim has yet to allow a goal in a shorthanded situation this season.

36 -- Shots on goal for the Ducks, compared to just 19 for the Stars. Carlyle said, “We were very flat for the better part of the hockey game. When we did have our chances, it seemed like we were miscuing.”

0 -- Number of goals for Ducks’ defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who led all blueliners in scoring last season with 58 points. Visnovsky has just two assists through his first six games.

Ducks: Top line feasts in 4-2 victory vs. Blues

October, 16, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Maybe it was the broken sticks, or simply the breadsticks. Either way, the Ducks found a way to brush off several mini-slumps with one swipe of the hands by Corey Perry on Sunday night at Honda Center.

Perry scored Anaheim’s first power-play goal of the season early in the third period against the visiting St. Louis Blues, the winning goal in a 4-2 victory that pushed the Ducks record to 3-1, their best start since 2006.

The goal was Perry’s first point of the season, matching the longest he has ventured into the fall without hitting the score sheet. Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf also assisted on the play for their first points of the season.

The goal was made easier when St. Louis forwards Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen were forced to kill the penalty empty handed after their sticks broke early in the power play.

The players quickly took advantage, as Getzlaf passed to Selanne down low and he sent a cross-pass through the crease to Perry, who redirected the puck into the net for a 3-1 lead at the 3:40 mark of the final period.

“We knew what was going on,” Perry said of the stick-less defenders. “That’s why we worked it up, we worked it around. They couldn’t get sticks in the lanes to block passes, so we had an advantage.”

Bobby Ryan contributed two goals and an assist and may have helped unlock the top line in another way, suggesting Getzlaf and Perry accompany him to an Italian restaurant earlier Sunday, where they indulged in breadsticks, a bona fide slump buster, according to Ryan.

“Breadsticks are key, that’s right,” Ryan said with a laugh.

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Ducks: Newcomers making an impact

October, 11, 2011

ANAHEIM -- They’re a combination of rookies, rejects and players trying to reinvent their games.

Ducks forwards Devante Smith-Pelly, Andrew Gordon and Andrew Cogliano have come together to start this season, bringing a mixed bag of skill, playing experience and personal endeavors.

They might not possess the name recognition built by teammates Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf or Teemu Selanne, but they have the understanding of what it will take to stick with the team, and they’re willing to try anything to hold on to their dream of playing in the NHL.

The trio has been matched together on the third line, an energy role as it’s known in the league, but they’ve also been handed vital penalty-killing duties.

They even combined to score the only goal in a 2-1 shootout victory Saturday night against the New York Rangers in Stockholm.

Gordon started the scoring play by carrying the puck into the offensive zone, then sending a brisk pass over to Smith-Pelly to his right. The puck caromed off his stick and went into the corner, where Smith-Pelly laid a check on a Rangers defender while Gordon scooped in the loose puck and sent a perfect centering pass to Cogliano charging down the slot. Cogliano did the rest, putting it past goalkeeper Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period.

“That’s just the type of goal that our line has to try and create,” Smith-Pelly said Monday afternoon.

Smith-Pelly turned 19 in June. Gordon is 25 but still considered a rookie. Cogliano is 24 but has the most NHL experience of the trio, having played in 328 games heading into this season. A former first-round draft pick of the Oilers, Cogliano never lived up to expectations in Edmonton and was traded to the Ducks over the summer for a second-round pick in 2013.

Coming into Saturday’s game, Gordon had one goal and an assist in 13 games in the NHL. Washington didn’t sign him after last season and he was picked up by the Ducks on a two-year deal. Signing a multi-year contract was the first victory for Gordon, making the opening-day roster was the second.

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Ducks: Back home after European tour

October, 10, 2011

ANAHEIM -- Body clocks are one thing, reality is another.

The Ducks returned to work Monday morning at Honda Center, still trying to shake loose the jet lag following their season openers over the weekend in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.

They spent about 60 minutes practicing before finishing up with an off-ice workout.

“They are tired,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “You can see it.”

The Ducks came away with a split against the Sabres and Rangers. They lost to Buffalo, 4-1, in Finland on Friday night, took the half-hour flight to Stockholm, opening their hotel room doors about 3 a.m., Carlyle said.

That evening, they beat the Rangers in a shootout, 2-1, and promptly boarded another plane for the 15-hour trek back to Los Angeles, landing about 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

When he originally drew up the practice schedule last summer, Carlyle penciled in Monday as a practice day, but then changed his mind after looking closer at the European leg of the schedule.

He changed his mind again after conferring with Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

“He thought it was better if we skated today and then took tomorrow off,” Carlyle said. “We made the adjustment, we have that ability in this building and I thought it was probably a better move than taking today off. It was good to get them back out there.”

The Ducks don’t play again until Friday, when they host San Jose in their home opener. The game against the Sharks will be the first of three games in four days, however.

“The schedule is not doing us any favors right now, but that’s part of the NHL,” Carlyle said. “When you make those commitments to participate in Europe, that’s what you deal with.”

Lydman getting close to return

Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman, who has yet to play this season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, could be ready as soon as this weekend, Carlyle said.

Lydman was scheduled to see a specialist in Los Angeles later Monday, and that would likely set the timeline for his return. Lydman was originally given a 16-week recovery period, Carlyle said. He had the surgery 18 weeks ago.

Lydman would be a valuable addition to a defensive unit that’s already off to a good start. He finished tied for second in the league last season with a plus-32 rating and was sixth in blocked shots (178).

Another veteran defenseman, Kurtis Foster, who underwent a surgical procedure during training camp to remove a piece of wire left in his thigh from a previous surgery, is “very close to being ready to play some games,” Carlyle said.

The Ducks acquired Foster from the Edmonton Oilers over the summer in a trade for defenseman Andy Sutton.

Over the weekend, the Ducks further added to the organization’s depth on the blue line by trading for Kyle Cumiskey of the Avalanche. The Ducks sent defenseman Jake Newton to Colorado, as well as rights to their seventh-round pick in 2013. Two years ago, Cumiskey led the Avalanche defensemen with seven goals.

Cumiskey, described by Carlyle as a "very quick, puck-moving defenseman,” will be sent to Anaheim’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse once he passes a physical. The 24-year-old from British Columbia figures to have a higher upside in his offensive game than Newton, who grew up in San Jacinto in Riverside County. Whether he'll ever get an opportunity to display his skills for the Ducks is difficult to determine.

“Right now, we’ve got lots of defensemen so, it’s tough,” Carlyle said.

European power-play shortage

It’s only two games into the season, but the top two lines for the Ducks, considered the strength of the team, have yet to register a point.

Just as noticeable, the Ducks are 0-for-11 on the power play, an area where they had the third-best success rate in the league last season.

“That’s not a very good stat and our guys know it,” Carlyle said. “We did a lot of good things with it but we weren’t rewarded and the pressure does come when you don’t deliver.”