The new players on the Ducks seemed a lot more at home in Anaheim tonight. Nokelainen got his first goal of the season, Whitney & Christensen got 2 assists each and Christensen got a goal that was questionably called off by the ref, due to goaltender interference by Getzlaf. As a Kings fan, I wanted the Ducks to lose tonight’s game in regulation. However, I think the call by the ref taking away Christensen’s goal was one of those calls that could go either way and would normally go the other way. Clearly, when Vancouver scored their third goal, the goal that got called back was very important. Fortunately for the Ducks and their fans, Scott Niedermayer scored 3 on 3 (after the Ducks had taken a penalty to remove their power play advantage) in overtime to win the game.
Perhaps the Ducks did a better job at the trade deadline than most seem to think. I thought their first trade was probably the best trade they made this season and I’ve talked to many people who think the Penguins or the Ducks didn’t do well with that trade. I still think both teams got what they needed a bit in their first trade of the trade deadline time.
I was curious how it felt for a player to go from Pittsburgh where the arena is full every night to the home crowd in Anaheim where there are a lot of empty seats – even on the nights when they have standing room only sellouts. Tonight’s announced attendance was 16,967; however, there were a lot fewer fans at the Honda Center than that. Whitney said that the Honda Center is “pretty loud” and that the three games he’s played in Anaheim have had a “really good atmosphere.” That it’s “not like going to the Islanders or Atlanta where you really feel an empty building.” He went on to say that the fans are great here and clearly he seems to be comfortable with his new teammates, he’s getting used to playing with Pronger. Obviously, it was also nice to get the first home win (he was traded early enough that he had won a game with the Ducks in Dallas against the Stars on February 28th) and experience the Anaheim crowd when the team wins.
Needless to say, Erik Christensen didn’t agree with the call made when he got the puck in the net, but it all worked out in the end and the Ducks won the game. He never got an explanation from the refs, since he doesn’t have a letter on his jersey. The ref refused to talk to him about the call, since he’s not the captain or an alternate. Christensen said, “Nothing you can do about it now, so, I mean, I disagree with the call, I guess.” He saw the replay and didn’t really see Getzlaf push anyone into Luongo, but at least it didn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game.
The games at this time of the season are so important to everyone (especially with the tight competition in the western conference) and all three games today were decided after regulation, giving out 3 points in each game. This frustrates players and fans alike when their teams are relying on other teams failing as much as their team doing well for the rest of the season. Every point matters and the teams are competing strongly to get as many points as they can down the stretch to the playoffs.