So far, so good for the Ducks, who have won their first two games of the season. That both games were on the road bodes even better for Anaheim.
After a 7-3 victory in Vancouver, the Ducks followed it up with a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames.
While the game started off well, the Ducks need to learn how to maintain momentum and keep playing hard for the full 60 minutes. Stop me if you have heard that before in prior seasons.
The Ducks started off strong with Ryan Getzlaf getting his first of the year by tipping in Toni Lydman's shot at 1:06 of the first period. The third line of Daniel Winnik, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano continued to impress with Koivu making it 2-0 at 7:23. Winnik got his third of the year at 10:53 and it appeared as if the game would be a blow out.
Not so fast…..
The Flames, who were trounced upon in the home opener the day before against the Sharks, were not about to roll over and play dead.
Curtis Glencross got a power play goal at 16:54 and more importantly got his team back in the game. Alex Tanguay pulled the Flames within one goal at 19:36 after the Ducks erred.
A late first period penalty by the Ducks gave Calgary a clean sheet of ice for their power play to start the second. Glencross did it again at 1:13 and the game was tied.
Jonas Hiller, who did not have to be spectacular against Vancouver, had to really earn his keep against Calgary. He made 21 saves in the game, 13 of them coming in the middle frame.
"I thought our second period was god awful so it couldn't get any worse," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "
By the time the third period rolled around, the Ducks had sufficiently recovered their senses and found their game again.
Winnik continued his two goals per game pace by putting the Ducks ahead at 4:02. The puck deflected off his foot and into the net, and was deemed "not a kicking motion" after a brief review. For a guy who only scored eight goals last year, he is halfway there this year. Anaheim is certainly getting more than they could have hoped for in this free agent acquisition.
Unlike Saturday night, the Ducks power play was non-existent against Calgary. But they still managed to get the job done.
Getzlaf got his second goal of the night and the eventual game winner at 11:15, giving the Ducks a 5-3 lead. They needed that insurance marker.
A breakaway by Lee Stempniak, his second breakaway of the game, was successful this time and brought the Flames back within one goal at 14:04. Despite their best attempts and vacating Miikka Kiprusoff from net in the final minute of the game, the Ducks were able to hang on for the victory.
"We want to be known as a third-period team," Boudreau said. "That's how you gain reputations. I thought we outplayed Vancouver in the third period last game and I thought we outplayed Calgary in the third period this game. It's something you build on and you gain confidence at. If you can keep doing that, it'll be pretty good. I'm real happy the way we bounced back."
Anaheim now gets to go home and they have another date with Vancouver on Friday evening at the Honda Center. Hopefully they will stay dominant throughout the game, no bouncing back required.
In other notes: Cam Fowler was back in the line up after a bout with the flu kept him out of the opening game. With 22:05 on ice, the most of any Duck player, he is clearly 100% healthy. Viktor Fasth backed up Jonas Hiller, as expected, after being recalled from Norfolk.