There's no place like home. Just ask the Anaheim Ducks, who have a 12 game winning streak in their building, their longest ever in franchise history.
“We always want this building to be a tough place to come into," said Ryan Getzlaf. "Our fans have shown it this year and we’ve shown it. That’s what we want to do down the stretch here. Keep winning our home games and win as many as you can on the road.”
At one point, it looked like the Ducks were going to have no problem with the Sharks, but in the end they hung on for the 5-3 victory on Monday night.
Francois Beauchemin got his first of two goals at 14:06 of the initial period. There was bad defense by the Sharks that left everything wide open. Beauchemin had no problem getting his shot past Antti Niemi to open the scoring.
Dave Steckel, who nearly got his first goal as a Duck earlier in the period, did get his first point with a nice assist to Beauchemin.
The Sharks got back into the game with a late goal by Jacques Demers that somehow made it past a tangle of bodies in front of the net, hit the crossbar and went in behind Viktor Fasth at 19:02.
In between periods it was announced that Corey Perry had signed an eight year contract extension. Even though Perry was not on the ice (serving game three of his four game suspension), it clearly buoyed his teammates, who poured it on in the second.
Peter Holland got his second of the year from a juicy rebound at 11:09 and :34 seconds later Emerson Etem finally got his first NHL goal. He'd been oh so close for a while now, and it was nice to see him be rewarded at last.
"It’s about time, " said Etem, still clearly on cloud nine. "I’ve been waiting a long time and I know the fans have, too. I knew the goals would come. I’ve been shooting a lot more lately, and I just need to keep that up. It was a great play by [Daniel Winnik], just threading the needle on that pass. I almost ran out of room there. I just hit the panic button a little bit and was able to roof it.”
A couple minutes later, Etem was with Ryan Getzlaf on the penalty kill and had a beautiful assist on Getzlaf's shorthanded goal at 13:55. 4-1 Ducks and things were looking very good.
Then at the end of the second, Patrick Marleau added another late period goal at 19:31 to halve the Ducks lead.
Matt Irwin made it a little scary in the third period with a bounce off of Getzlaf's skate that went into the net at 6:52. The Sharks were within one and considering their propensity to score late period goals, that should have been more than enough to worry the Ducks.
Ducks held on, with Beauchemin adding an empty net goal at 19:14. That sealed the deal at 5-3.
The Ducks now get to see how well they match up against the number one team in the NHL, the Chicaco Blackhawks. They beat them in a shootout earlier in the season. Can they do it in regulation on Wednesday?
“At the end of the day, it’s only two points, but it’s a big two points," said Teemu Selanne. "Every two points are huge. We want to see where we’re at right now. They’re playing well and we’re playing well. It’s pretty much whoever wants to win it more."
Here is hoping that the Ducks want it more.