With the 2018-19 season in the books, AnaheimDucks.com takes a look back at some of the memorable moments from the 25th Anniversary Season presented by UCI Health. Today concludes the list, with Moments 5-1. | Moments 10-6 | Moments 15-11
5. Boyle Blanks Canucks in First Career NHL Start
A lot happened in the days (and weeks) leading up to Kevin Boyle’s first career NHL start on Feb. 13. The Ducks were mired in a dreadful seven-game losing streak and returned home following a winless six-game road trip. Randy Carlyle was relieved of his duties on Feb. 10 and Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray took over as interim head coach. Boyle was coming off a strong relief appearance on Feb. 9 in Philadelphia, turning aside 24-of-26 shots in his NHL debut. With goaltender John Gibsonsidelined due to injury, Boyle was given the starting role against the Vancouver Canucks – the opener of a three-game homestand.
Boyle was unbeatable that night. His 35-save shutout marked the sixth-most saves in NHL history in a goaltender’s first NHL start (since shots were recorded in 1955), with only one other goaltender after the 2000-2001 season recording as many saves in his first NHL start (Troy Grosenick with San Jose vs. Carolina on Nov. 16, 2014 – 45 saves). At 26 years, 8 months and 14 days, Boyle became the first goaltender age 26-or-older to record a shutout in his first NHL start since 1986 (Sam St. Laurent with New Jersey vs. St. Louis, 27 years old on March 27, 1986.) Gibson is the only other Ducks player to record a shutout in his first NHL start (April 7, 2014 vs. Vancouver – 18 saves).
Overcome with joy while still trying to process what just happened, Boyle threw his arms into the air and put his hands on his head. “It’s something you dream of growing up as a little kid playing street hockey,” he said after the game. “To be able to come out here and get a win in the first game, I can’t even describe it. I definitely imagined what it would be like. I can honestly say it’s exceeded everything I ever dreamt of.”
4. Miller Earns Historic Victory vs. Capitals
Playing his first game since Dec. 9 because of a knee injury, veteran goaltender Ryan Miller etched his name in the record books following a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Feb. 17. With a 23-save performance, Miller earned his 375th career NHL victory to surpass John Vanbiesbrouck (374) and become the all-time leader among U.S.-born goaltenders in wins. Vanbiesbrouck held the record since Jan. 6, 2000, when he passed Tom Barrasso with his 349th career win with the Flyers over the New York Islanders. Both goalies remained active yet Vanbiesbrouck did not relinquish the lead until Miller tied him on Dec. 2, 2018, ironically in a game against the Capitals.
“Very satisfying being able to come off injury and make a difference in the game,” said the 38-year-old Miller. “Pretty emotional for a couple reasons. When you have a knee injury, it’s always uncertain what’s going to happen. It took a lot longer than I hoped. But there was satisfaction tonight. The boys played a great game. I was able to get back in. I had a few clunky moments, but I worked through it. It’s quite a nice feeling to get the win. I was happy I could do it at home with the fans here and my family here – my wife and my son. It’s pretty special to me.”
3. The Comeback
The Ducks have had their share of epic comebacks over the years, but this one was extraordinary. Trailing 5-1 against the Capitals, the Ducks scored five unanswered goals in the second and third periods, including the go-ahead tally late in regulation for an incredible 6-5 victory on Dec. 6 at Capital One Arena. The comeback marked the first time in franchise history the Ducks rallied from four goals down to win on the road (and first such comeback win in regulation). The only other instance came at home in overtime, when the Ducks rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets, 5-4 (March 31, 2014).
The Ducks became the first road team to accomplish the feat in regulation since Colorado on March 9, 1999 at Florida, and the first team to win in regulation after trailing by four since Pittsburgh did so against Atlanta on Oct. 27, 2005. The four-goal comeback victory also marked the first time in which a team (home or road) overcame such a deficit against a defending Stanley Cup champion.
You can read more about the comeback here.
1 (tied). Ducks Raise Niedermayer’s Jersey to the Rafters
A week of celebration, dubbed the Silver Celebration Week in honor of the franchise’s 25th anniversary, culminated on Feb. 17 when the Ducks raised Scott Niedermayer’s No. 27 jersey to the rafters in a special pregame ceremony at Honda Center. Niedermayer became the third former Duck to have his jersey returned, joining Teemu Selanne (No. 8) and Paul Kariya (No. 9).
After the ceremony, Niedermayer shared his thoughts on what it meant to have his jersey retired by the franchise. “Tremendously emotional because there’s so much history and things that have gone on, the work and sacrifices everybody’s made,” he said. “It was enjoyable. It really was. To sit back and reflect a little bit was nice. We made lots of great friends. This really became home for our kids when we came. They were young. We’ve met so many people in the community outside of hockey. People in the organization have all been amazing. Just thankful I had this experience.”
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013, Niedermayer was the first player in hockey history to win a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title. He is also the only player in hockey history to have won a combination of four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. A 2003-04 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman, Niedermayer was named an NHL All-Star six times during his NHL career (1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009).
Niedermayer led the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2007. He played five seasons with the Ducks, scoring 264 points (60g/204a) over 371 contests.
1 (tied). Ducks Raise Kariya’s Jersey to the Rafters
When Ducks owner Henry Samueli hinted at a possible future jersey retirement for Kariya back on Nov. 19, 2017 at Honda Center (on Kariya/Selanne Hall-of-Fame Night), the response was overwhelming. So when it was announced in early July 2018 that Kariya’s No. 9 jersey would be retired (along with Niedermayer’s No. 27) as part of the franchise’s 25th anniversary celebrations, Ducks fans were ecstatic. Kariya joined longtime teammate and friend Teemu Selanne as the first two players in franchise history to have their jerseys retired.
Kariya’s jersey retirement ceremony took place on Oct. 21 prior to the Ducks-Sabres game at Honda Center. It featured a retrospective of his prolific career, as well as speeches from Samueli, former teammates Selanne and Steve Rucchin, longtime Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations David McNab, Niedermayer and Kariya himself. Following the ceremony, each of the Ducks wore the team’s new third jerseys with KARIYA and 9 on the back.
“It’s still very surreal, the moment when the jersey went up into the rafters,” Kariya said. “Just an incredible moment for myself and my family. What a night. I was trying to take it all in. Moments like that, it happens so fast. You’re worried about your speech and you’re trying to enjoy everything at the same time. That’s something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.”
In 606 career games with the Mighty Ducks, Kariya collected 669 points (300g/369a) and remains the all-time franchise leader in points-per-game (1.10). Kariya continues to hold many franchise records, including most single-season goals by a left wing (50 in 1995-96), most single-season points by a left wing (108 in 1995-96) and most single-season assists by a left wing (62 in 1998-99). Among all-time franchise leaders, Kariya co-leads in shorthanded goals (16) and shorthanded points (21), ranks second in power-play goals (107), third in goals and power-play points (263), fourth in points, assists and game-winning goals (44), and sixth in games.
Kariya received numerous awards and honors during his career with the Mighty Ducks. Selected by Anaheim with the fourth overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, Kariya was a two-time Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner (1995-96 & 1996-97), a seven-time NHL All-Star (1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003), a three-time First Team All-Star (1995-96, 1996-97 & 1998-99), a two-time Second Team All-Star (1999-00, 2002-03) and a member of the 1994-95 All-Rookie Team.