Proof that miracles do happen – the Ducks defeating the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 on the road. In the regular season.
For Anaheim it has been 20 years of futility at Joe Louis Arena. Nearly 40 games played there in the regular season and previous Tuesday evening's game there had been four wins.
I don't care if the Red Wings are a banged up team with a lot of rookies in their line up. Anaheim has had the same difficulties all season long, including one spell with four of their top six defenseman on the injury list. You can still find ways to win.
In this case, it was a rare display of complete dominance over the Wings, from start to finish, and it sure felt good. Especially with a little revenge exacted upon the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last spring.
There is still unfinished business, but this checks one off the list indeed.
With their latest victory, their sixth straight, the Ducks continue to show why they remain on the top of the Pacific Division and second overall in the NHL.
Things started off shaky for Anaheim, with Detroit scoring early. Tomas Jurco, playing in just his second NHL game after being called up due to an injury to Justin Abdelkader, put the Red Wings on the board at 3:15 of the first period.
After that, it was all Ducks.
On the next shift, a mere :25 seconds later, while the goal to Jurco was being announced, Jakob Silfverberg tied up the game. Silfverberg had missed 24 games due to a broken hand, but looked like he was in top form.
"I was a little nervous before the game," said Silfverberg. "It was like the first game of the season. You’re not sure what to expect, but as the game went on, I felt more comfortable. It’s always fun to score goals, and it brings a lot of confidence. To be able to get a goal so early in the game always helps me throughout the rest of the game. It was a great feeling."
The Ducks had only just begun to score.
Nick Bonino got his 10th of the year at 5:29 and the usually rowdy and sold out Joe got pretty quiet.
"We knew they were going to come out with a lot of emotion and play hard," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "When Silfverberg scored, it deflated them a little bit. Then the next goal, when Bones scored, it really was a deflator and allowed us to get that 4-1 lead after the first period."
Corey Perry got the third goal of the period at 18:17, which chased Jonas Gustavsson out of the net. Defenseman Sami Vatanen launched a slapshot towards the net as time was winding down, and got his fourth of the year with a buzzer beater, a mere 1.2 seconds remaining in the period.
Taking a 3-1 lead to the locker room would have been pretty darn good. A 4-1 lead was enough to make a Ducks fan giddy.
Detroit just never recovered.
"We played a great game," said Silfverberg. "We played good for 60 minutes and didn’t give up too many chances. (Jonas Hiller) played great. We got the bounces and that always helps."
Hiller only had to make 16 saves for the win. The Ducks actually outshot the Red Wings, 30-18, another rare feat.
Saku Koivu made it 5-1 at 12:26 of the second period and the scored remained that way until late in the third period. Dan Cleary put one in the net behind Hiller with 1:58 left in the game, clearly too little, too late.
"It was important to start this road trip off on the right foot," said Hiller. "It wasn’t our best period, but we found a way to score. Then, I think we played pretty solid second and third periods. We didn’t give them too much. We just kept playing forward and didn’t just sit back."
The Ducks continue their road trip in New Jersey on Friday evening.
In other notes: Andrew Cogliano had three assists in the game, and earned the first star of the game for his efforts.
Ryan Getzlaf ended his point scoring streak at 14 games after being thrown into the boards face first midway through the first period by Kyle Quincey.
Getzlaf missed a good portion of the game getting stitched up, which certainly hampered his efforts of earning more points. More importantly, he was able to finish the game.
After the game, Getzlaf did not blame Quincey fully.
"I've got to take some of the responsibility in putting myself (in a bad position)," said Getzlaf. "I don't think he needed to cross-check me in that kind of a position, and obviously I went into the boards pretty hard. That's why it ended up the way it did."