By Will Martin
If one could parlay a schedule set up for a given hockey team then how about reprising an old Tupac Shakur classic to the worlds of ‘California-Western Wear!’
This is not to promote a style of clothing but rather to describe what playing against the Pacific Conference is going to be like with five teams within four points of one another and first place.
That, and having been absolutely dominated on the scoreboard on the road to the tune of 11-5 with newbie goalie Jack Campbell in the pipes while Kari Lehtenon is on the mend.
First we go back to last Thursday October 17th in what was to be an exciting overtime and shootout affair.
The game would begin in an ominous manner as Tyler Kennedy would stake the San Jose Sharks to a quick 1-0 lead nine seconds in.
The fastest goal ever scored against the Dallas Stars. The second fastest since Stephane Mateau in January 2000 nailed one in a 5-2 defeat to the St. Louis Blues.
The other Tyler-Mr. Seguin-would knot things up at one all at 16:44 in the first frame with a wrister past Antti Niemi. Assisted by Jamie Benn and Stephane Robidas.
San Jose would take leads of 2-1 and 3-2 when Matt Nieto would fire a lamp lighter from the slot past Dan Ellis and Patrick Marleau would sneak a wraparound into the net at 17:52 of period 1 and 12:30 of period two. Still, Dallas bounced back with scores by Trevor Daley and Cody Eakin at 1:52 and 12:58 of the second period. Ray Whitney credited with two assists.
Period three saw the Stars go over 14 minutes without so much as a shot on goal. It took the shootout and Alex Chiasson getting the lone goal to deny the Sharks their 7th win of 2013 while Dallas took home a 4-3 win.
On to a back-to-back weekend in Los Angeles and Anaheim on the 19th and 20th Saturday night the theme that also carried over into Sunday’s game was giveaways leading to third period breakdowns, losing by scores of 5-2 and 6-3.
Friday night in L.A. newly acquired Daniel Carcillo got the start over Matt Fratin with the hope of getting the Kings ability to score at full strength in a better place. As it was all that was needed was a slight buffer from Justin Williams and Drew Doughty. Williams would light the lamp twice in the first period within three minutes assisted by Drew Doughty after a Tyler Seguin goal at 8:49 gave the Stars a temporary 1-0 lead.
Seguin and Jamie Benn continued to rack up points when setting up Rich Peverley with a tap in after a failed wraparound goal by Jamie Benn at 8:13 of the second period.
The Stars hurt themselves with six giveaways in the final period in Los Angeles as Drew Doughty got a nice feed from Justin Williams and a five hole goal on Dan Ellis for a 3-2 lead. Kyle Clifford would make his his first goal of the season eight minutes later before Matt Greene struck an empty netter for a 5-2 Kings win.
Tyler Seguin on the third period play of late.
“It’s getting pretty sickening to all of us,” Stars forward Tyler Seguin said. “We’re just kind of giving teams wins, and the last 20 minutes there has got to be a lot better than it was tonight. But credit to them. They’re a good, physical team and they competed well tonight.”
Dan Ellis would stop stop 29 of 33 shots while Jamie Quick would seal off 27 of 29 shots for the Kings (6-3). Anze Kopitar had a three assist night. Justin Williams with two goals and an assist. For the Stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have combined for 13 points on the assist side through Saturday.
Sunday night it was off to Anaheim and a six game winning streak. If there is a pattern to be leery of this game may be a telling one.
Jack Campbell had not started a game at goal since October 6th in the AHL. This night he would face off against one of the toughest offensive teams in the Ducks. Two and a half minutes in the ageless wonder Teemu Selanne (43) would get the scoring started on a Ryan Getzlaf feed for a 1-0 lead. Dallas would storm back with Ryan Garbutt knotting the game at 1 at 10:15 and a Vernon Fiddler assist.
It then went in favor of the Stars 2-1 at 14:38 when Brendan Dillon caught a deflection and rifled it past Jonas Hiller. Hiller would then allow a power play goal at 18:55 to Shawn Horcoff with assists to Erik Cole and Jamie Benn for a 3-1 deficit after one period.
Jack Campbell would be joined by another newbie goalie when Frederik Anderson took over for Hiller in the second period. Campbell would then deal with a barrage of shots on goal. 47 in total.
Corey Perry would knock in two second period goals via the power play and also by deflection 54 seconds in and at 11:48 to knot things up at three. A shorty by Emerson Etem and two subsequent third period scores by Ryan Getlaf and Perrault gave Anaheim a 6-3 victory.
Once again Dallas allows the third period to get away from them. While Frederik Anderson was a perfect for 24 for 24 in relief of Jason Hiller (9 for 12) Jack Campbell wound stopping 41 of 47 shots.
What was it like to play in your first pro game?
“It’s my favorite; a big challenge,” Campbell said. “I was really happy I got to play against Anaheim. I just wish I could have played a little better and helped the team win. But it was a lot of fun, and it’s great to play against some of the best players in the game on Anaheim.”
Teemu Selanne would get his 252nd power play goal to start the action Sunday night and also find the record books. How?
He has a three-game goal-scoring streak, his longest goal streak since Mar. 20-24, 2011. He is the first player age 43 or older to score in three consecutive games since Gordie Howe, who did so at age 51 from Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 1979, his final NHL season.
“I never want to give one up, but he’s a heck of a player,” Campbell said. “I finally got to see it in person how good he actually is. It was fun to be out there, but not the result we wanted.”
A sentiment echoed by Brendan Dillon.
“It’s frustrating,” Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon said. “We wanted to be better for him. It’s his first NHL game. Not just that, but for us, and the way we played last night. We wanted to rebound. He played a great game. Those are some of the best players in the world out there – Perry and Getzlaf. We kind of left him hung out to dry.”
It was the first time two goaltenders have debuted in the same game since Yann Danis of the Montreal Canadiens and Michael Garnett of the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 12, 2005. Also noteworthy were the 23 second period shots attempted by the Ducks on Dallas.
For Dallas Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Garbutt got their first goals of the season while Valeri Nichushkin got his first point of the year.
Sunday night’s 6-3 win over the Stars marked the second straight come from behind win for the Anaheim Ducks (7-1-0) and seventh straight win since March of 1999. They chose their 1,500th career game to do all of this in the land of Disney and Magic. Like Tupac might say, ‘That’s the way it is!’