Kyle Palmieri didn't get the bounce he needed in the Ducks' 4-3 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night, but the vote of confidence he and the Ducks received earlier in the afternoon could prove to have more impact.
Palmieri, the Ducks forward whose name circulated in trade rumors throughout the week, wasn't offered in any trade-deadline negotiations Wednesday as General Manager Bob Murray failed to acquire a major NHL player for whom many speculated he was angling.
Murray explained afterward he restricted his offers to the Ducks' two first-round and two second-round draft picks this summer, their two top picks in 2015 and prospects, refusing to put anyone on the NHL-leading Ducks' roster on the market.
Murray said he was left "confused" by the unwillingness teams showed in pulling the trigger a day after he acquired defenseman Stephane Robidas from Dallas, trading forward Dustin Penner and goalie Viktor Fasth (for two draft picks).
"Every one of those picks was put in play and I failed to get anything done," Murray said. "But I wasn't going to — and did not — offer any player off this roster, because I strongly believe this team is good enough."
Palmieri, in his first game since being promoted to the first line alongside stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, basked in the vote of confidence, taking six shots in regulation.
The 23-year-old said he had a "positive" feeling he'd remain a Duck after talking to Murray earlier in the week.
In the shootout, he ripped an attempt that appeared to beat Montreal goalie Dustin Tokarski until a review showed the puck hit both posts and never fully crossed the goal line.
"I saw it go off the post and head to the net," Palmieri said. "I looked back ... It didn't go in, not much you can do about it. If the puck hits the ice at a different angle, it might roll in."
Instead of the Ducks taking a lead in the shootout, the Canadiens won in the sixth round when Andrei Markov whipped a shot past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
The Ducks (43-14-6) overcame a 2-0 deficit to briefly lead in the second period.
First, forward Tim Jackman poked in a long-distance shot by defenseman Luca Sbisa.
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin then launched the puck from the defensive end off the glass.
Tokarski vacated the net to gather where he expected the puck to slide. Instead, it careened off the glass where a metal support was positioned and bounced into the net to tie the score.
Hiller had an assist on the goal.
Ducks forward Daniel Winnik then beat Tokarski for the lead with 1:39 left in the second.
The Ducks outshot Montreal 19-9 in the second, but the Canadiens evened the score again by sending a herd of players around Hiller, and Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher banged a shot in the net with 36 seconds remaining.
Wednesday's trade talks were most involved with the Vancouver Canucks for center Ryan Kesler (21 goals, 18 assists).
Hiller said the team appreciates being left intact.
"If you're at the top of the standings, you're doing something right," Hiller said. "It's a group that's found a way to be successful for a long period of time."