Persistence pays off for the Ducks in 4-0 victory against Stars
DALLAS — It didn’t take an advanced course in hockey metrics to explain how the Ducks ended their power-play drought and general offensive struggles in a 4-0 silencing of the Stars at American Airlines Center on Monday, their first shutout at Dallas in 60 regular-season and playoff games.
“We shot,” winger Corey Perry said. “You shoot the puck, you’re going to get chances. We’ve been shooting but we haven’t been getting those second chances and opportunities. That’s what makes the difference.”
Net presence and persistence paid off for the Ducks, who had been in a 1-4-1 slide and had scored only eight goals in that span.
Bobby Ryan’s one-timer from the left circle at 10:13 of the second period was their first man-advantage goal in five games and triggered a scoring spree. Perry, aided by the disruptive company of Ryan in front of Dallas’ net, extended the lead to 2-0 at 12:52, and Matt Beleskey backhanded home his own rebound at 15:02 for his first goal since March 4.
Teemu Selanne scored into an empty net with 28 seconds left for his 672nd career goal, another slump-buster because it ended his personal five-game famine. Combined with 26 saves by Viktor Fasth, this was as complete a performance as the Ducks have staged in a while against anybody besides the Chicago Blackhawks.
“It was good for us as a team to bounce back and get this win the last game of this road trip,” Fasth said after his third NHL shutout. “We played good over the whole ice today and that helped me a whole lot.”
Fasth kept the game scoreless with a late first-period pad save on Jamie Benn and benefited from his teammates’ rediscovered scoring touch. The power-play goal launched it all, as Ryan took a cross-ice feed from Ryan Getzlaf and rifled a quick shot past Kari Lehtonen.
“I think it was huge,” Ryan said. “Guys were gripping sticks a little tight and we weren’t shooting the puck enough…. As soon as I got it there wasn’t anything else I was doing. It was going at the net.”
Perry scored the next goal but Coach Bruce Boudreau gave the greater credit to Ryan. “He took two players to the front and that opened it up for Getzy and he shot it,” Boudreau said. “And Corey did what he’s supposed to do — go to the net, which we hadn’t been doing very much lately, and he got one in.”
Beleskey chipped in later in the period to totally deflate the Stars, who remain outside the top eight in the West.
“We did a lot of good things tonight. Guys were committed to the overall 60-minute effort,” Ryan said.
Not that the rest of the season will be easy. The Kings’ acquisition of defenseman Robyn Regehr from Buffalo and the St. Louis Blues’ acquisition of Jay Bouwmeester from Calgary will make the conference tougher to get through, and Boudreau knows it.
“I didn’t like that. I think it was a really good move by both teams. Willie Mitchell’s back playing, you know what I’m saying?” he said, meaning Regehr plays the same rugged style as the injured Mitchell and, essentially, replaces Mitchell.
“And Bouwmeester and [Alex] Pietrangelo are going to be a formidable duo on the back end. So you just do what you do and keep going. We’ve fought odds all year and we’re still where we are, so we’ll just battle through and see how it goes.”
The Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers traded depth players, with the Ducks acquiring left wing Harry Zolnierczyk for minor league winger Jay Rosehill. Zolnierczyk was assigned to Norfolk (Va.) of the American Hockey League. Zolnierczyk, 25, had one assist in seven games with the Flyers this season and has three goals and seven points in 44 career NHL games.
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