This is what is called celebrating your birthday, in style. Anaheim Ducks' rookie winger Kyle Palmieri turned 22 on Feb 1, 2013. He also played left wing on a new line which was centered by Bobby Ryan, and featured future hall of famer Teemu Selanne on right wing. The result was absolutely splendid.
The Wild scored first, when a rather innocent looking wrist shot from Marco Scandella somehow found it's way through the pads of goaltender Viktor Fasth, at 9:44 of the first period. The score would remain 1-0 as the second period began.
Now came time for the Birthday boy to take Center stage. Ryan took a pass from Selanne at the blueline of the Wild, and skated down the crease. He drew Minnesota defenders to him, made a pretty curl and drag with the puck, and then used the created space to float a pass over to Palmieri who scored to tie the game 1-1 at 6:49 of the Second period.
The third period began with the score still tied, then it was time for Palmieri to go to work again. After Ducks' rookie defenseman Sami Vatanen made a nice effort to hold the puck in the Minnesota zone, Bobby Ryan worked the biscuit down low to Selanne, the Finn curled behind the net, and then found Palmieri waiting on the doorstep. 2-1 Ducks, at 4:29 of the third period. Bobby Ryan would later add an insurance goal on the power play with only 1:34 left to play.
Final score: Ducks 3, Wild 1
Kyle Palmieri scored two goals (including the game-winner) and was named #1 star of the game. His linemates, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne were named #2, and #3 stars respectively.
I can't quite remember how I spent my 22nd birthday, but I doubt it was quite this grandiose.
Ducks are now 4-1-1 on the season, having gained points in every game but one.
Friday night's game also marked the NHL debut of 21 year old Finnish defenseman Sami Vatanen. Sami logged 13:21 of ice time and was a + 1 for the game.
Backup goalie Viktor Fasth got the win. He is now 2-0 on the season
Friday night began a stretch in which the Ducks will play 6 games in 9 days.
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