It started off as an Oscar winning performance by the Ducks against the Carolina Hurricanes, but they the end, they had slipped off the podium.
The 5-3 victory did not seem nearly as dominant as it was when the score was 5-0 against a team who had played (and lost) the day before to the Kings. Lesson for the Ducks? Don't take your foot off the brake.
The Hurricanes, who have lost four games in six days, including a make up game in Buffalo just two days after the Olympics ended, looked tired. Anaheim took advantage.
Corey Perry put the Ducks on the board at 6:39 then earned an assist on Francois Beauchemin's goal at 13:38. Perry made it 3-0 at 16:26 of the first period, and you almost had to feel sorry for Cam Ward, who made 29 saves for Carolina.
"That was as well as we’ve played in the last little while," said Ryan Getzlaf about the strong first period. "We were buzzing all over the place. Our defense was moving the puck up so quickly and everything was transitioning back the other way."
The Ducks did not let off the gas pedal in the second period, with Andrew Cogliano taking advantage of a turnover and getting his third short handed goal of the year at 3:31.
Jakob Silfverberg, who was playing center due to the injury to Mathieu Perreault in the last game, made it 5-0 at 8:47. Hooters had three weeks to restock their chicken wings. Time to be giving them out again.
Andrej Sekera denied Andersen the shutout at 15:20 of the middle frame, giving Carolina a little life.
"It was a beautiful individual effort," praised Canes coach Kirk Muller. "I think that showed a group of guys that did not want to quit. Everyone saw that as nice as it was, it was pure effort and hard work, and he got a goal. That is the stuff that we have to build on. No one quitting, battling through this, put pieces together and get a little break, get one win and who knows? Then we can get on a nice little roll the other way."
While the Canes started to gain momentum, the Ducks seemed to be cruising and not continuing to push. And for a team that only allowed 18 shots on goal in the prior game, Carolina managed to get 52 to the net. Frederik Andersen did a formidable job holding the fort, especially in the third when Carolina had half their shot total.
"He was fabulous tonight," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "He did what he had to do, and he kept the team in the game. He won the game for us."
Patrick Dwyer made it 5-2 at 11:29 with Alexander Semin pulling Carolina within two goals at 18:55.
The Ducks (or more specifically, Andersen) were able to hang on for the win, their third in a row. Through 62 games, the Ducks are now 43-14-5 with 91 points.
"We’re just building now," said Getzlaf. "Last game, we didn’t execute that well, but we played well. It was nice to see us rebound like that and come out in this first period. We just need to keep building and getting better along the way."
The Ducks have three more games at home before heading out on the road, including Montreal on Wednesday and Pittsburgh on Friday.