It took a couple games, but the Ducks finally gave their new coach a win. That it came in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings made it feel even sweeter.
Instead of self imploding when things went wrong, the Ducks played a solid game and were rewarded for their hard work. Hopefully, their confidence will also get a boost and they can continue to build on the positives.
Bobby Ryan put the Ducks on the board thanks, in part, to Jonathan Quick. The Kings goaltender was out of position after making a failed play. Teemu Selanne got the puck and Ryan finished it off while on his back at 7:59 of the first period.
Corey Perry made it 2-0 at 17:37, looking more and more like his Hart trophy winning self. He did not look well early in the second period when he crashed awkwardly to the ice and to add insult to injury, Dustin Penner gave him a cross check for good measure. After a very brief time in the locker room, Perry came back out
The Ducks continued their strong efforts in the second period, but Slava Voynov put the Kings on the board at 19:44. Fortunately the period ended quickly and the Ducks had a break to make sure their focus was where it was supposed to be.
A strange bounce off a stanchion tied up the game at 8:50 of the third period. The puck bounced strangely, right to Dustin Penner, who shot it over to Justin Williams. Jonas Hiller had no chance.
“It was a bad luck play,” said Hiller. “Those things happen. I thought we didn’t panic after that. We played solid and created our chances. We worked really hard. If you work hard, you are going to get bounces. That is what we got on that third goal.”
The third goal came as regulation was winding down. Winning the faceoff in the Kings zone, Ryan did it again with his second goal of the game. With only :49 seconds remaining, the Ducks got a huge boost and fans were ecstatic. No one wanted this to go to overtime or a shootout.
“Had it gone the other way after another lead like that, I was a little worried about it,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “We got a lucky break [on the Ryan goal], but they got a lucky break [on the Williams goal]. So, it sort of evened out.”
And in the end, the Ducks got two points and a win over the Kings.
They can take that momentum on the road, where they will be for the next two games in St. Louis and Nashville and hopefully start putting together more check marks in the win column.
As Boudreau said, it’s not the Stanley Cup, but it’s a start.