No power play? Poor penalty killing? No goals from defensemen? No matter when you are still the number one team in the NHL with a 13-3-1 record.
The Anaheim Ducks resolved a couple of those nagging issues in their latest victory, a 5-2 defeat of the formidable Phoenix Coyotes, who came in with a five game winning streak.
If you look on paper, there have been injuries galore and stats that should have you scraping the bottom of the barrel. But the Ducks apparently aren't looking at paper. They are finding ways to win every single night and have so far been perfect on home ice this season.
Shane Doan got the scoring started at 4:25 for the Coyotes, who came in playing the second of back to back games.
Then a rare thing happened. A defenseman scored for Anaheim. Rookie Swede, Hampus Lindholm, got his first career goal at the 15:00 mark of the first period, giving the Ducks plenty of life. Lindholm came in late on a 2 on 1 and Mathieu Perreault presented him with the perfect pass.
"Very good feeling," said the elated Lindholm.
Lindholm's father, Jonas, was in the building to witness the event, perhaps adding to the 19 year old's enthusiasm.
"It’s nice to see anybody get their first goal," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "He was jumping up into the play which is what we’ve been trying to get the D to do, to get more offense from them. So, him doing that and getting that first goal is always pretty nice for a coach to see."
The Coyotes took advantage of a second period power play that saw Ryan Getzlaf lose his stick. Instead of the puck clearing the zone, it bounced off Getzlaf's stick to stay in the zone and Michael Stone put it behind Jonas Hiller at 12:40 to give Phoenix the lead once more.
Getzlaf redeemed himself at 15:26 to tie the game on the power play, only the fifth man advantage goal this season for the Ducks.
Anaheim took a lead into the locker room with a goal from Corey Perry that went behind Mike Smith with a mere 1.1 seconds remaining on the clock. Perry deflected in what would have been Lindholm's second goal. It was the eventual game winner and Perry now leads the league with four of them this season.
The Ducks did not give up the lead after that.
Cam Fowler got his first goal of the season at 10:08 of the third, giving the Ducks a little more breathing room. A defenseman scoring AND on the power play perhaps shows there is hope.
"We knew the type of roll Phoenix was on coming in here, and it seems like nobody seems to be losing in our division right now," said Fowler.. "We understood how important these two points were, and luckily we were able to come out and put a good effort out there."
A valiant empty net goal from iron man Andrew Cogliano at 18:58 sealed the deal for Anaheim. Cogliano, who had been checked violently into the boards by Doan, limped to center ice and aimed and fired the puck at the wide open net. He then hobbled to bench,
The Ducks will meet up with the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in a week on Friday. The Sabres will be playing the second of back to back games after playing the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.