Saturday, December 21, 2013
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Palmieri tallies game-winner as Ducks defeat Devils in OT

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[December 21, 2013]  NEWARK, N.J.  Anaheim Ducks right wing Kyle Palmieri is a local boy of sorts, having grown up in Montvale and attended Saint Peters Prep in Jersey City. His connections to the area resulted in his purchasing 100 tickets for friends and family for Friday's game against the New Jersey Devils.

"I let my parents handle the whole thing," Palmieri said. "I didn't want any added distraction to it."

Thanks to his goal with 2:23 remaining in overtime, Palmieri sent his cheering section home happy.

The 22-year-old exploded past defenseman Eric Gelinas, dipped behind the net, and scored on a wraparound to give the Ducks a 3-2 victory, the team's seventh win in a row. Palmieri caught a break, as the puck deflected off the stick of defenseman Jon Merrill and past goaltender Cory Schneider.

"I wasn't sure what it hit off; it might have ramped up off his stick and off one of their guys," Palmieri said. "I thought I could beat him to the post. He's a good goaltender and he met me there. It just took a lucky bounce. It was pretty nice.

"It was pretty memorable for me and my family and my friends."

Palmieri also had the primary assist on Mathieu Perreault's goal that put the Ducks ahead 2-1 midway through the third period. He dove to make the pass to the crease, where the puck bounced off the skate of Gelinas and right to Perreault, who quickly stashed it through the legs of Schneider.


"It kind of ping-ponged through (Gelinas') skates there and it throws everyone off for a second and pops right to their guy," Schneider said. "He just buries it. I'd like to seal that off a little better and come up with a big save, but it kind of hit a skate there and threw me off for a half-second. That's all it takes."

The Devils were able to send the game to overtime when defenseman Andy Greene scored on a power play with 5:02 remaining in regulation. He had a gaping net to deposit the puck after right wing Jaromir Jagr made a scintillating cross-ice backhand pass to the left circle.

After jumping to a 1-0 lead on right wing Michael Ryder's goal early in the second period, the Devils were largely overmatched by the Ducks. The Devils generated just eight shots on goal over the final 32 minutes of regulation and overtime.

Still, they found a way to earn a point against one of the NHL's top teams.


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"It was a weird game," Devils center Patrik Elias said. "It seemed like we had a lot of energy but we didn't use it the right way. To me, it seemed kind of ugly. There was not too much passing going on, no clean breakouts. That's when you start feeling good. It just felt like we were chasing the puck for whatever reason. But we'll take the point."

The consolation point moves the Devils (14-15-7) to within one point of the third-place Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division.

The Ducks (25-7-5) have 55 points, second most in the NHL behind the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks (25-7-6), who earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

The Ducks have arguably the NHL's top line with Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, but they were held off the scoresheet by the Devils. That didn't slow the Ducks, who were once again picked up by their depth players and defenseman Cam Fowler, whose second-period goal pulled the team into a 1-1 tie.

"That's what balance does," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When Getzlaf's line hasn't scored in the last couple games, the other lines pick it up. That's a great trait, where you don't have to rely 100 percent on the one line."

Ducks right winger Teemu Selanne had two assists and goaltender Jonas Hiller made 21 saves, including eight when his team was under pressure for the most part.

"We've got something special with this group of guys," Perreault said. "We've been playing very well and everybody seems to be healthy. I think it's looking very good for us."


NOTES: With Ducks RW Teemu Selanne retiring after the season, this is very likely the last time he and Devils RW Jaromir Jagr will play against each other. They could meet in the Olympics, but Finland and the Czech Republic are not in the same group in Sochi. ... Devils RW Damien Brunner left the game in the first period with a right knee injury and did not return. ... Devils D Bryce Salvador, who has been out since Oct. 22 with a fractured foot, took part in the team's morning skate and will travel to Washington for Saturday's game against the Capitals. ... The same can be said for LW Ryane Clowe, who has missed all but six games this season with a concussion.

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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