The Ducks managed to pull off a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday to keep their home record perfect and extend their winning streak to seven games.
Trailing 3-1 after the first period to a team who had played the night before, it looked like all good things were going to come to an end. But that is why you have a coach and three periods to play.
Things started off positive for Anaheim. Teemu Selanne got his third goal in as many games just 2:38 into the game. No one over 43 has done that since Gordie Howe at the age of 51. What made the goal even more remarkable was that it came on the power play, just the second power play goal of the year. Perhaps there is hope after all.
The first period went downhill after that, with Dallas scoring three unanswered goals from Ryan Garbutt, Brendan Dillon and Shane Horcoff. Jonas Hiller did not look awful, but he wasn't great either.
Coach Bruce Boudreau must have said something motivating between periods, besides telling Hiller to sit on the bench and that Frederik Andersen would get to be in net for his NHL debut. Whatever it was, the team heard and responded.
"Everybody took more responsibilities," said Selanne. "And we started doing the things we need to do to get better. It was a good character win, coming back from two goals. This team never stopped believing we could come back, even last year. That’s the one strength we have right now."
Andersen was perfect in his debut, stopping all 24 shots. At the other end, Jack Campbell was getting his debut in net, too, but 41 saves were not enough to get him his first win.
The last time two goalies made their debut in the same game was October 12, 2005, with Montreal’s Yann Danis getting a 2-0 shutout over Atlanta, who had Michael Garnett in goal.
"(It was) unexpected," said Andersen. "But things settled down a bit and the momentum shifted. As the backup , you have to turn on the switch pretty quick. I wasnt really nervous, but it felt nice to get a first shot. Felt settled, getting my feet wet."
Boy did the momentum change!. Corey Perry scored :54 seconds in and got another at 11:48 on the power play goal to tie up the game.
Dallas, who was in a feisty mood all night, had some life sucked out of them when Emerson Etem got his first of the year shorthanded at 18:55. It was the first Ducks lead of the game and the Stars never recovered from it.
One hopes that Dustin Penner will recover from a nasty hit to the head from Garbutt at 5:28 of the middle period. After being briefly unconscious on the ice in an eerily quiet arena, a very wobbly Penner was helped off the ice and to the team doctor. Penner did not return to the game but was reported to have regained full mobility and was walking on his own. It takes a lot to knock out a guy who is 6'4" and a sold 240 pounds, but Garbutt succeeded in doing just that. And although he was not penalized on the play, he did earn an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety, which is required for any suspension that can exceed five games. The charges include charging and an illegal hit to the head.
"It was tough seeing him groggy getting up," said Boudreau. "You always worry about your players when they’re knocked out, but he seems fine."
Goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Mathieu Perreault in the third period were just icing on the cake, insurance markers for the team and added a free wings at Hooters bonus. Getzlaf also had three assists, giving him a four point night, his first since January 2012. It also earned him the #1 star of the game.
The Ducks now head out on their longest road trip of the season – eight games – that begins in Toronto on Tuesday evening.
"We were talking about it before the game," said Selanne. "Let’s finish the homestand strong. It’s going to carry on on the road. Getting a good start on the road is important, too, but finishing the homestand is always important."