The Ducks have been playing at a fast and furious clip to start the season, with no sign of letting up. They continue to rack up wins and points and remain at the top of the NHL with a 15-3-1 record.
Their most recent win was a 3-1 defeat of the Vancouver Canucks, who are newly in the Pacific Division this year, thanks to realignment.
The Ducks remain perfect at home, going 8-0-0 and don't show signs of yielding that advantage any time soon. Despite a lousy power play, so-so penalty kill and seemingly new injuries every week. Does not matter – they are finding ways to win.
Jonas Hiller has the flu? No problem. Let's use Frederik Andersen again, who is 6-0 in his first six NHL starts. Andersen did not even practice full out the day before the game because Viktor Fasth was taking over the other net, clearly close to recovering from the lower body injury that required Andersen's recall.
Pretty soon Bruce Boudreau is going have goalie options of 1A, 1B and 1C. The question is, how do you send Andersen, who has been so good he was named the NHL second star of the week, back down? Do the Ducks do the crazy thing and have three goalies on their roster for a while?
"I'm not the GM," said Boudreau after the game. "It's a tough decision. We've got three good goalies right now."
Insert the Edmonton Oilers grumbling right now, as they have yearning for even a single decent netminder. Anaheim has an embarrassment of riches, including John Gibson up and coming in the system.
Anaheim was also without their captain on Sunday night. Ryan Getzlaf apparently tweaked something in the upper body range during the morning skate on Friday. Clearly it did not stop him from getting his first hat trick against Buffalo later that evening, but the discomfort lingered long enough for him to tell his coach he needed push the pause button and sit out on Sunday.
Getzlaf has 10 goals and 22 points, one of the top three players in the league, and he is easily on pace to beat his best season of 25 goals. The Ducks did not need him.
"When you’re missing the second leading scorer in the league, your captain, and arguably one of the best players in the world, you’re always going to miss him," said Boudreau. "But I thought we did a good job of battling. The team wanted to show we can survive injuries because we have good depth. It gave others guys a chance to play and I think they stepped up to the plate."
Corey Perry stepped up to the plate at 8:30 of the second period. It was an odd goal, to say the least. Francois Beauchemin's shot from the blue line deflected off a Vancouver defender's skate, it then bounced off of goaltender Eddie Lack to Perry, who used his noggin to head it back to the ice and tapped it in the net.
"We’ve been playing without some guys for a little while now," said Perry. "Guys have stepped up and played different roles, and played some big minutes for us in key situations. You look around this room and there are a lot of new faces, but there are a lot of guys in here with a lot of character who want to win, who want to prove they go out there each and every night and work as hard as they can."
Even though Tom Sestito tied up the game at 14:09, one of those hard working Ducks, Nick Bonino, regained the lead for Anaheim late in the period. With less than a minute remaining Bonino got his fifth of the year thanks to a beautiful pass from Emerson Etem.
Despite having played the night before and losing to the Kings, Vancouver still had plenty of jump left in their step and Andersen had to be very good, making 35 saves and keeping the Canucks at bay.
Andrew Cogliano gave the Ducks the insurance marker at 19:39 making sure the puck got into the empty net, his second such goal in the past three games.
"That’s definitely one of the things Bruce stressed when he came here, was getting off to a good start, and getting as far above .500 as you can get," said Bonino. "He always says there are going to be points in the year where you slump. If you can set yourself up like we are, you’re going to be able to stay at the top of the standings."
The Ducks want to keep their five game winning streak going and rack up those points as they head out on the road for another four game road trip to the East Coast.