Jonas Hiller

Slumping Ducks hold closed-door meeting

We’ve documented Anaheim’s struggles quite extensively over the last few days. But just in case you aren’t reading every PHT post in detail (and if not, you should totally start), a quick recap: The Ducks are winless in six and nine of their past 10. Their once-lethal powerplay is going at 12.1 percent. They’re 29th in shots per game, 29th in faceoffs and last in goals per game.

Yesterday, the Ducks finally decided to do something about it.

Eric Stephens of the OC Register reports the Ducks “had a heart to heart for nearly an hour in the dressing room at Anaheim Ice [practice facility] as they sought to find a solution.”

What’s unique about the meeting is that it wasn’t a players-only affair. Head coach Randy Carlyle was right in the mix, taking feedback (and heat, you’d assume) from his troops.

“You spend 45 minutes with a group talking to them, there’s always some things that are going to come back,” Carlyle told the LA Times. “You have to understand their perception is their reality. Sometimes if they perceive something, that catches you off-guard.”

It’s fair to suggest a major meeting topic was Anaheim’s sputtering offense. The ‘Big Three’ of Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and reigning league MVP Corey Perry are all off to sluggish starts while blue-line scoring sensation Lubomir Visnovsky — who led all NHL defensemen in points last year — has just four points in 15 games with a ghastly minus-9 rating.

About the only guy that’s playing well is Teemu Selanne (5G-9A-14PTS) — and he thought yesterday’s meeting was a big step.

“Today was good. A lot of guys were talking and giving their opinions how they feel why it doesn’t work, really,” Selanne said. “A lot of times coaches are talking and nobody says a word and you go to the ice and say, ‘Well, I don’t think that’s work[ing].

“It’s important that the players can give their input also about the situation. It was really good. It was really honest conversations. I think it was a huge step forward.”

The Ducks do have a huge opportunity to turn things around this month. The rest of November sees them play seven of nine at home with just one back-to-back: Nov. 16 and 17 against in-state rival Los Angeles.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”