The 10th-year defenseman completed his second three-goal game in the NHL on a power play with 3.8 seconds left in overtime after Teemu Selanne(notes) scored the tying goal with 1:03 remaining in the third period, and the Anaheim Ducks pulled out a remarkable 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Friday night.
Visnovsky, the first defenseman in Ducks history to record a hat trick, is third in the NHL in points among defensemen with 51—five more than he had last season in 73 games with Anaheim and Edmonton. He has 21 points in his last 22 games.
“He is so special,” Selanne said of Visnovsky, who also had an assist on Selanne’s 400th goal in a Ducks uniform. “He has no weaknesses really. He can shoot the puck so well and can see the game. He’s the full package. It’s great to see him having success like that.”
Dan Ellis(notes), who made 23 saves, kept the Ducks alive with an acrobatic glove save on a one-timer from short range by Trevor Daley(notes) at the end of a 2-on-1 break with Mike Ribeiro(notes) with 1 1/2 minutes left in OT.
The Ducks were awarded the critical power play when Tom Wandell(notes) was sent off for hooking Ryan Getzlaf(notes) with 24.6 seconds left. Visnovsky ended it with a 35-foot slap shot from the slot that beat Kari Lehtonen(notes) high to the glove side, snapping the Stars’ three-game winning streak.
“Everyone knows he can shoot the puck. And when he does, good things happen,” Getzlaf said. “It’s definitely a huge boost for him to get those goals. And our goalie standing in there and making a huge save in overtime, that changes everything.
“It’s an emotional lift, that’s for sure. We’ve got make sure that we use it in the next game and not have a letdown after a couple of big wins like this. We have no choice. We’re in a dogfight right to the end, and we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Getzlaf had three assists, one of them on Selanne’s 627th career goal and another on Visnovsky’s 12th goal of the season and second winner.
“It’s awesome. It was a lucky night for me,” said Visnovsky, who had a career-high 67 points with Los Angeles in 2005-06. “We were down by two goals and the team showed character. The confidence is going up for everybody.”
With the Ducks trailing 3-1, Visnovsky started the rally at 5:24 on a one-timer from the top of the right circle that beat Lehtonen high to the glove side while Stephane Robidas(notes) was off for holding Brad Winchester(notes). It was Winchester’s second game with Anaheim after a trade from St. Louis.
“You have to believe and get the feeling as a team that you’re going to come back. It doesn’t matter what the score is. That is what happened tonight,” said Selanne, whose 21st goal of the season came after Anaheim pulled Ellis for an extra attacker. “I think everybody got really mad in the third and found a way to win the game.”
Anaheim and Dallas are tied with Nashville for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 75 points, just three points behind fourth-place Chicago.
“There is a lot of pressure in these games,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “There is a real hockey atmosphere being displayed out there and a lot of passion. It’s a very entertaining brand of hockey. Anytime you pull your goalie and score late in the game, you have to feel fortunate. Again, Lady Luck was on our side, but we worked for it.”
Dallas and Anaheim were coming off victories that featured dramatic endings. The Ducks beat Detroit 2-1 Wednesday night when Bobby Ryan(notes) scored on a penalty shot in overtime. The Stars topped Phoenix 3-2 on Tuesday night on Benn’s power-play goal with 5 seconds left.
“It is always a bad feeling when you lose, especially when you lose like this,” Eriksson said. “We were up 3-1 going into the third. Every point is so big right now, like you see in the conference. We have a game tomorrow and we have to go out and win and get two points there.”
With the teams skating 4-on-4 because of coincidental roughing penalties to Jarkko Ruutu(notes) and Dallas’ Jamie Langenbrunner(notes), Anaheim opened the scoring at 9:22 of the first period when Visnovsky got the puck in the slot from Ryan and beat Lehtonen with a 35-foot slap shot just as teammate Dan Sexton(notes) skated in front of the goalie.
Dallas tied it at 2:23 of the second when Benn left a drop pass for newly acquired defenseman Alex Goligoski(notes) at the top of the right circle, headed for the net and redirected Goligoski’s return pass for his 15th goal.
NOTES: The only active player other than Selanne to score at least 400 goals with one club is Calgary’s Jarome Iginla(notes) (468). … Anaheim LW Jason Blake(notes) was scratched because of a laceration on his right hand, which occurred in the third period of Wednesday’s game. … Stars C Brad Richards(notes), who recorded his 200th NHL goal with the winner against the Ducks in the previous meeting back on Nov. 16 at Dallas, missed his eighth straight game because of concussion-like symptoms.