From Stefan Noesen’s first NHL goal to Corey Perry’s 335th. The Ducks left no story line unturned.
They climbed back from an impending loss against the Carolina Hurricanes and pulled out a 6-5 shootout win Wednesday to end a losing streak at two games.
They faced deficits of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 before Perry’s first goal since Oct. 26 to tie it, 5-5, with 2 minutes 28 seconds to go in regulation. Ryan Getzlaf and Ondrej Kase scored in the shootout, and goalie John Gibson stopped Jeff Skinner to end it and cause an eruption at Honda Center by a crowd that might have still been shocked to see Perry score.
A loose puck skidded to him at the right circle and he wound up high and fired it into the left side of the net past goalie Cam Ward.
“It’s nice to see it hit the back of the net for once, and not the goalie,” Perry said. “Like I’ve said before, I’ve had chances and it was nice to see it sneak through.”
The goal ended the second-longest slump of the former Hart Trophy winner’s career, and the joy he exhibited was similar to that of Noesen, who was recalled Wednesday with second-leading goal scorer Rickard Rakell out because of an injury.
Noesen scored in the second period in a terrific story of perseverance for a 23-year-old who overcame two major injuries earlier in his career and whose NHL experience consisted of two games in each of the last two seasons.
“At first I really didn’t know if it went in or not,” Noesen said. “I saw the red lights and threw my hands up. It was all emotions from two long years coming though me at once.”
Even that threatened to be a footnote, but the Ducks stayed in it on three third-period goals. Ryan Kesler put in a rebound from the left side and Nick Ritchie tipped Cam Fowler’s shot to precede Perry’s score-tying heroics.
Carolina had kept the Ducks at arm’s length with two third-period goals in a second straight disconcerting game for Anaheim’s defense, which has given up 16 goals in three games. That number is skewed by an 8-3 throwaway loss to the Calgary Flames, but five goals are still unacceptable for a team that typically has a strong defensive identity.
Offensively, the Ducks played three forwards with a combined 26 games of NHL experience with Noesen, Kase and Joseph Cramarossa. Kase spotted Noesen with a pass in the high slot that Noesen snapped past Ward to bring the Ducks to within 3-2.
The goal lifted the Ducks in a second period that had gotten away from them.
Carolina went into the game with the second-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference but took a 3-1 lead halfway through the game because of a two-minute spell by Anaheim’s defense that yielded breakaway goals by Jay McClement and Sebastian Aho.
The Ducks had to kill four penalties in the opening 32 minutes to stunt offensive energy sparked by Andrew Cogliano’s goal three minutes into the game. Cogliano let loose a big fist pump after his second-effort hustle play to bat the puck through Ward’s pads.
But Carolina got it back with a goal on the Ducks’ leaky penalty kill, which has given up four goals in the last three games, when Teuvo Teravainen beat Gibson cleanly on the glove side from the right circle.