It was a bottom-four night in the Honda West as each of the teams which came into the night out of the playoffs was playing one of the other similar teams. Respectively, they were Arizona, on 37 points; LA, with 34; San Jose, also 34; and Anaheim, resting at 27.
The matchups were one versus four, and the two teams tied at 34 playing each other. So that meant that should Anaheim pull off a win, the whole bunch of these squads would compress so that the highest of them had 37 points, then one with 36, another with 34, and Anaheim with 29. Tight-ish.
It was not to happen, though for a while it looked like it might. In the end, the Coyotes overtook the Ducks after twice trailing by a goal, and they vaulted themselves into the playoffs with 39 points. Now amongst the bottom four sits St. Louis, with 38 points, one back of the Coyotes.
But enought with the numbers. What follows are some things I noticed in the Ducks-Coyotes game, which was a night of firsts and bizarrities (yes, I just made that up) that just proves that you never know what’s going to happen, so you’d better watch. (Yes, I’m talking to you, East-Coast hockey fans.)
How so? For the Coyotes, a player making his NHL debut, Lane Pederson, scored his first NHL goal. His path to the league has been through a slog in Tuscon, playing there the last four seasons in the AHL. His breakout year was his fourth in the WHL, where he was more than a point a game for Swift Current, his third team in that league. He is 23.
For the Ducks, a player newly acquired, Alexander Volkov, scored his first with the club. For his career, he has four goals in 29 regular-season NHL games. His previous experience was with Tampa Bay, and he had asked for a trade because he wasn’t getting much ice time under Cooper.
He did play one playoff game with the Florida club, but the right one—a Stanley Cup final game. That gets him his name on the Cup. Funny that with that kind of luck, he looks so pissed off in his hockeydb.com photo. No really—go look and tell me what you see on twitter @growinguphockey.
Anyway, he’s in California now, with his former teammate Shattenkirk, whose name is also on the Cup, and he’s gotten a goal, the fourth in a 29-game NHL career so far. Volkov was also involved in one of the absurd moments of the game, slidng back towards the net on defense and pushing the puck over the goal line past netminder Anthony Stolarz to give Arizona its eventual winning goal, making it 3-2.
It was at first confusing to the referee, because the net slid off at the same time the puck went in, or just a bit later. That latter is the key, because replay showed all was intact until after the puck had crossed the goal line.
Also bizarre in this game—two other goals aside from this one were video reviewed. Oh, and Ryan Getzlaf got hurt and did not return. He played just 8:13 before departing. He has an upper body injury suffered midway through the second period.
Jacob Silfverberg was on the fourth line with Nick Deslauriers and Derek Grant. That’s odd. But Silfverberg scored a goal, the one that put the Ducks up 2-1. Grant and Fowler assisted.
OK, more weird stuff. Remember in A Christmas Story when the old man comes home and Mrs. Parker reports on the day: “Well, Ralphie had a fight”? And the old man says, “What kind of fight?” to which Ralph’s mother says, “Oh, you know how boys are.”
Well, here’s one for you, “Henrique had a fight.”
What? No kidding. Or at least he tried to have one. He had the good sense to pick someone in his own weight class, Johan Larsson, who also had a goal, and it was not one of those tussels that should get someone only a roughing minor. It was gloves off, though not really much for punching. It seemed like each one was trying to figure out how to land something, so basically nobody did.
But Henrique’s box score looks like Nick Deslauriers’, five minutes recorded for scrapping. I’ll bet Mrs. Henrique (spouse or mom) is as proud as Mrs. Parker was, though let’s remember than Ralphie went ape-stool crazy and beat the daylights out of Scutt Farcas. He probably deserved it more than Larsson did, though. Anyway, fun to see, and nobody got hurt. Or even touched.
That about wraps up a night that to you Canadian Scotia North fans would otherwise be forgotten. Same goes for the two other Divisions, I’m thinking—nobody’s got time for the West’s bottom dwellers. But I just showed you that even in a forgotten night there can be some memorable, or at least notable, goings-on.
Trevor Zegras, back after being out a couple of games, tallied six shots on goal.
Brian Kennedy is a credentialed NHL reporter. He got his first shot last week, but he’s still reporting from home using NHL- and team-supplied media materials. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.