Ducks get crucial scoring from unexpected sources
By Jim Peltz
Los Angeles Times
December 20, 2009
The Ducks continue to enjoy unexpected scoring from players who aren’t the usual suspects.
Just as rookie Dan Sexton provided surprise offense earlier this month, newly acquired center Kyle Chipchura and low-scoring forward Mike Brown chipped in with key goals Saturday.
Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan each scored power-play goals, goalie Jonas Hiller had 39 saves and the Ducks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-2, in front of 15,107 at the Honda Center.
It was the Ducks’ third win in their last four games and it evened the team’s record against Phoenix (21-13-2) this season to 2-0-2, although the Ducks (14-14-7) remain last in the Pacific Division.
Chipchura’s goal 12 minutes 46 seconds into the second period was his first since Jan. 3, 2008, when he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens, and it ended a 40-game scoring drought. The Ducks acquired him Dec. 2.
“He’s getting probably much more of an opportunity here in a situation where it’s more comfortable,” Coach Randy Carlyle said.
Chipchura “doesn’t have to score the big goals,” Carlyle said. “He has to be a sound defensive hockey player . . . any of the offense at this point is a bonus.”
Chipchura scored after taking a quick pass from winger Matt Beleskey and slamming it past goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. “Luckily, Mattie took advantage of a [defensive] breakdown of theirs and we were able to capitalize on it,” Chipchura said.
Phoenix outshot the Ducks, 41-33, but Hiller and the rest of the Ducks’ defense didn’t let the Coyotes on the scoreboard until Shane Doan scored 12:12 into the second period.
“Our goalie gave us a chance,” Carlyle said. “Jonas stood tall in the hockey game for us. You need your goalie to pitch you a shutout for a period or so, and then you get your feet underneath you.”
Hiller said the Ducks “did a pretty good job of moving guys out of the way” of his sight line to help him.
“They were throwing everything at the net,” Hiller said of the Coyotes. “It’s fun as a goalie to play these kind of games because you get a lot of shots, you can prove yourself.”
Brown started the Ducks’ scoring 13:14 into the first period. He hadn’t scored since Nov. 7, also against the Coyotes.
Doan’s goal tied the score, 1-1, then the goals by Chipchura and Getzlaf in the second period gave the Ducks a 3-1 advantage.
Defenseman Adrian Aucoin then scored 3:39 into the third period to cut the Ducks’ lead to 3-2.
With less than one minute to play, Ed Jovanovski was penalized for hooking and the Ducks’ Ryan exploited the power-play situation with an insurance goal that slipped by the left side of Bryzgalov.
A month ago, the Ducks ranked only 17th in power plays with an 18.9% success rate (14 for 74) but, before Saturday’s game, the team had jumped to 23.2% (29 for 125), second in the league behind the New York Rangers’ 27.7%. . . . The Ducks play their next three games on the road: Tuesday against the Colorado Avalanche, Wednesday against the Coyotes and Saturday against the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks’ next home game is Dec. 29 against the Minnesota Wild.