ANAHEIM – So far, 2014 has been one big bundle of joy for Ben Lovejoy and the Anaheim Ducks.
Lovejoy's wife, Avery, gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter, Lila, the morning of a New Year's Eve win against the San Jose Sharks. Three nights later, Lovejoy recorded his first career two-goal game Friday in a 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center.
Lovejoy scored in a span of 2:43 of the first period and Jonas Hiller won a franchise record 10th straight game. Anaheim remains the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss at home (16-0-2).
In a television interview after the first period, Lovejoy jokingly told Avery to “get ready to have No.2, because this is fun."
"I wasn't sure how they would react, but Avery and Lila were watching the game on TV, I'm sure," Lovejoy said. "It was the first game my daughter has seen; they didn't have the TV channel in the hospital. She brought me good luck and we may have to keep pumping them out if I can score two goals a night."
Sami Vatanen retrieved the puck, presumably for Lovejoy, when the horn sounded. Lovejoy could have had a shot at a hat trick when Edmonton pulled goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for a 6-on-3 advantage late in the third period, but Lovejoy said he didn't check to see if Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau would put him in for a shot at the open net.
"Bruce showed some highlights of a power play once when we were playing the [Detroit] Red Wings and there was a clip where I was in the power play from last year," Lovejoy said. "He gave me a warning and a heads up that he might laugh during it."
There were no laughs in Edmonton's dressing room.
The Oilers came out trading scoring chances with Anaheim, but gave the Ducks 15:40 minutes worth of power-play time and were outshot 14-3 in the second period and 37-18 for the game. The top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron was a combined minus-10.
"It doesn't matter what team you're playing, if you're playing in your end most of the game, you're not going to be very effective and you're not going to tilt the game in your favor," forward Sam Gagner said in an otherwise empty dressing room. "That's something we've got to focus on."
Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle did not play after he reportedly hurt his knee Thursday night in a collision with Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks. Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins said it was "nothing major" and precautionary.
Lovejoy's first-period goals were both one-timers off drop passes from the right point on a rush. Kyle Palmieri made an 80-foot pass to Saku Koivu to set up Lovejoy's first goal at 17:12, with Andrew Cogliano screening Bryzgalov (32 saves).
Lovejoy's second goal was a blast that banked in off the left post at 19:55 for a 3-2 lead going into first intermission. It was the fastest two goals by a defenseman in Anaheim history after Tom Kurvers scored two in 2:59 in 1995.
"Same guy, same place," Eakins said of Lovejoy's goals. "On the first one, Bryz was screened. On the second one, I thought we had pretty good coverage. We had five guys below the puck. We were just a split second late getting there. Like always, a goal against during any time during the game, it hurts you. But those ones at the end of the period, that's when you really have to bear down."
Hiller (16 saves) didn't get much work; Edmonton had eight shots on goal in the final 40 minutes. He is the first goalie to win 10 straight starts since Ray Emery early last season.
For the second straight game, Anaheim got a solid game from its fourth line. Tim Jackman was rewarded when he lifted Nick Bonino's pass from behind the goal into the net at 19:16 of the second to make it 4-2.
It was Jackman's first goal as a Duck, and it came after he was scratched in three of the previous four games. It's also a stark contrast for Jackman, who arrived in a trade from the Calgary Flames.
"It's been a great experience," Jackman said. "I can't say enough good things about the organization that I've seen so far in the locker room. The way we play is a testimony to our leadership and our goaltending. Everybody's kind of buying in and believes that we're a good hockey team. A very good hockey team, and we expect to win."
Palmieri scored unassisted off a Nugent-Hopkins turnover 11 seconds after Gordon's goal. Cogliano scored on a breakaway at 11:16 of the third.
Anaheim is the third NHL team in 34 years to start a season with a home standings streak of 18 or more games, after San Jose (20-0-2 in 2008-09 and the Pittsburgh Penguins (19-0-7) in 1979-80.
|Back to top ↑|