Ryan Miller

No one was safe in Kings’ wild comeback against Ducks


Every now and then, a game just sort of leaves you bleary eyed and confused, like you just watched an intense movie with an insane twist ending.

In the case of the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-3 OT win against the Anaheim Ducks, even M. Night Shyamalan would agree that these teams threw out an almost incomprehensible wave of swerves.

Mere hours after learning that captain Ryan Getzlaf will miss two months thanks to the unlucky bounce of a puck, the Ducks showed serious heart in taking on the red-hot Kings. They built leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but the Kings were just relentless in coming back.

This game seemed to have a bit of everything.

There was controversy in goal reviews, from a negated tally thanks to John Gibson‘s masked being knocked off to a clearer instance where a would-be Kings goal was ruled offside. Los Angeles just would not be denied, with shockingly rejuvenated forward Dustin Brown shaking off those near-goals in OT, ultimately setting up Nick Shore for the game-winner.

The game featured heaping portions of violence, with this medley being an appetizer that’s the size of a buffet:

(Click here for more of the violence … but somehow not all, because this game was bursting at the seams with bad blood.)

Ryan Miller was forced into duty as Gibson left the ice either because he was hurt, due to concussion protocols, or both. Here’s a GIF of Gibson getting his lid lifted:

Gibson isn’t the only injury situation to watch, as a low hit left Anze Kopitar shaken. The red-hot Kings star did manage to return to the game despite that event taking place in the third period, yet it’s still a situation to watch. We’ve seen players return from painful moments with the adrenaline firing, only to miss serious time once that passion levels out.

As the announce team mentioned, both teams will deploy ice packs thanks to this game (or extra ones, maybe one should say). The Ducks will also need to monitor Ondrej Kase because of this hit that got Kurtis MacDermid ejected, as another example:

Phew. Here’s a good rule of thumb for a wild game: if Jonathan Quick going after Corey Perry is a spicy subplot rather than the driving narrative, you’ve witnessed something zany.

All things considered, both teams deserved a standings point in this one. Tonight’s game is one of those rare moments in which the “loser point” feels more like an acknowledgment that no one should go home totally empty-handed.

Granted, the Ducks probably aren’t happy about squandering a lead to the hated Kings on the same day that they got bad injury news about Getzlaf, but they probably would admit that they worked hard in this one.

Now both teams’ medical staffs will need to work overtime, too.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Puck to face lands Getzlaf on IR as Ducks’ bad luck continues

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The Anaheim Ducks have already been dealing with injury issues this season, and now an errant puck to the face lands Ryan Getzlaf on injured reserve.

He’ll be reevaluated on Monday, according to the team, which means that Getzlaf will miss at least the next three games for the Ducks. They host the Maple Leafs on Wednesday, the Predators on Friday, and then face the Sharks in San Jose on Saturday. After that, they’ll begin a five-game homestand on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Here’s that unfortunate moment from the Ducks’ eventual 4-3 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes:

Give the Ducks credit; they won that game, and head coach Randy Carlyle is taking a matter-of-fact approach:

True, but it’s understandable if the Ducks are a little frustrated.

They finally got Ryan Miller into the mix on Sunday. Sami Vatanen is back to some extent, as he played on the weekend but didn’t suit up for back-to-back games. Cam Fowler‘s knee injury looks foreboding, and it remains to be seen when Ryan Kesler can return (and how long it will take the hard-working two-way center to approach full health). Kevin Bieksa is banged-up, while Patrick Eaves deals with a legitimately frightening ailment.

Speaking of frightening aliments, John Gibson seemed to avoid anything, um, too severe:

Despite these injuries, the Ducks have won four of their last five games to improve to 6-4-1. That’s resilient work, yet you wonder if they’ll cave under the pressure with their captain sidelined for at least the next three contests.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Wheeler dealing, Miller time

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Player of the Night: Blake Wheeler

The second hat trick of Blake Wheeler’s sorely underrated career is also the fastest trio in the history of the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets. It’s fitting to mention the Thrashers, as it might be tough to believe that Wheeler actually suited up for that woebegotten rendition of the franchise.

Wheeler had been productive in his previous nine games with eight points, but only one of them came via a goal, until Sunday’s explosive stretch. In just 4:20 of time, the Jets scored four goals, and Wheeler scored three of them.

Consider the Wheeler entry as a companion piece to “factoid of the night,” as he helped set some franchise marks during a first period that served as a rude introduction for Casey DeSmith and a short showing from Matt Murray.

Highlight of the Night: Blake Wheeler, again

Really, it’s the third of Wheeler’s three tallies that is the best highlight, as he makes Kris Letang look like an ordinary defenseman (or a guy who’s still fighting back from injury issues?). Still, take a moment to soak in the impressiveness of his hat trick, as he showed some Pavelskian hand-eye coordination on some deflections, too:

(Can we make “Pavelskian” a thing?)

Factoid of the Night, not Wheeler division: After sitting out a month with wrist issues, Ryan Miller helped the Anaheim Ducks eke out a 4-3 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.

That included an impressive nine saves during overtime, but Miller also padded his shootout wins record, which might force us to consider shootouts “Miller Time.”

Scores and more

Ducks 4, Hurricanes 3 [SO] (more)

Jets 7, Penguins 1 (more)

Flames 2, Capitals 1

Added bonus: A Getty Images shot of Wheeler (still with the Jets) and Ryan Miller with the Buffalo Sabres, to remind you that Wheeler’s been at this a long time:

via Getty

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Injury-addled Ducks monitor Getzlaf after puck to face


The Anaheim Ducks already had plenty of injuries to deal with heading into Sunday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Now they must be concerned about captain Ryan Getzlaf after he was clearly shaken up by a puck to the face.

The Ducks used the phrasing that Getzlaf “continues to be evaluated” regarding an upper-body injury. To little surprise, they also noted that he would not return to Sunday’s match against the Hurricanes.

Sportsnet tweeted a GIF of the unfortunate bounce for Getzlaf and the Ducks:

Getzlaf, 32, came into Sunday on a high note. He generated three assists in the Ducks’ somewhat-surprising win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and had seven points in his last four contests.

On the bright side, the Ducks have an opportunity to rest, as their next game doesn’t come until Wednesday. They play nine of 11 games in Anaheim to begin November, so having Getzlaf on hand certainly would help them make the most of that stretch.

Again, this is far from the only issue for Anaheim. Sami Vatanen was believed to be ready to play, but that fell through tonight. Cam Fowler and Ryan Kesler aren’t expected to play again anytime soon, Kevin Bieksa is day-to-day with an issue, and Patrick Eaves is dealing with some frightening health problems. Ryan Miller just made his debut tonight.

The Ducks seemed aware that this might be a tough start to the season thanks in part to injuries, so potentially losing Getzlaf for some time could be a problem. We’ll see if there are any updates tonight, as the game is currently in the third period.

Update: Anaheim managed to fight back for a win in this one, edging Carolina 4-3 via a shootout.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Ducks receive good and bad news on injury front

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First, the good news: Sami Vatanen is expected to make his season debut on the Ducks’ blue line tonight against the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register.

The 26-year-old Vatanen had shoulder surgery in May after his team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Nashville Predators and was initially expected back in the lineup some time around November, along with Hampus Lindholm.

The latter has already returned to game action for the Ducks, making his debut Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. To get Vatanen and Lindholm back is a boost for Anaheim’s blue line, as this team looks to get on a hot streak after a 4-4-1 start to the season.

Another positive development is the fact Ryan Miller has also reportedly been activated from the injured reserve list and is expected to back up John Gibson tonight.

That’s the good news.

The bad news? It once again has to do with another injury to another key member of the Ducks defensive group.

Per the Ducks, Cam Fowler is expected to miss the next three to seven weeks because of a knee injury, which has already kept him out of the lineup for the last week. He initially suffered the injury on Oct. 20 versus the Habs, playing less than two minutes of that game before leaving.

That’s a significant loss for Anaheim considering Fowler leads the team in ice time, averaging just under 23 minutes per game, including duties on the penalty kill and power play.

The club also added that Kevin Bieksa will be re-evaluated for a hand injury he suffered Tuesday in Philadelphia. Bieksa was involved in a quick fight with Radko Gudas, though he caught the Flyers defenseman with a right hand, ending the scrap.


Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.