Consistency has not been the Ducks strong suit of late, and a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Sunday showed the team where they still need to work. With 11 games left in the season, now is the time to clean up the messy spots, because playoff time is show time.
Anaheim got the win, but it could have gone either way in the second period.
After three goals, three different ways, by three different players, things slipped a bit. Patrick Maroon got his first career power play goal at 11:57 of the first period. Teemu Selanne added an even strength goal just :15 seconds into the middle frame. Jakob Silfverberg put the punctuation point with a short handed goal at 4:08.
The Ducks were easily up 3-0, two of those from specialty teams (which had appeared locked in a vault somewhere for a long time). Then they sat back a little, thinking this would be an easy two points.
Coach Bruce Boudreau decided to use his time out at that point and remind his team what they needed to do (and what they did not.)
"It wasn't yelling, screaming at the timeout," said Boudreau. "It was just start playing the right way. We were so loose. It was like a shinny game for a while."
Whatever was said was sufficient, because Florida did not get any closer and the Ducks pulled back away.
Kyle Palmieri made it 4-2 just :55 seconds after Fleischmann's goal and Corey Perry got #37 1:01 after that. Three goal lead restored.
Ryan Getzlaf's first goal since the Olympic break at 6:32 of the third period was the final injustice against former Ducks goaltender, Dan Ellis.
Ellis, who was acquired by the Panthers at the trade deadline from Dallas, made 34 saves and was frequently left high and dry by his teammates. In two prior outings against the Ducks this year, Ellis had been on the victorious end of things, including a 2-0 shutout.
The Panthers, who were playing the second of back to back games, just did not have it in them to counter Anaheim.
"It was big," said Getzlaf, who had his 600th career point. "These are the tough games, when you’re playing teams in the East that you don’t see very often. Our guys did a great job rebounding after that timeout. We played the way we wanted to."
The victory gives the Ducks 99 points, just one behind San Jose. It also ended a two game losing streak and four game winless streak at the Honda Center. The sold out crowd was more than happy about that.
"Tonight, things were clicking better," said Getzlaf about his new (old?) linemate. "We played with the puck more and that was the big thing. The biggest thing for me, when I have Teemu on my line, is I want to get him the puck all the time instead of holding on to it a little bit at first."
Selanne himself seems rejuvenated after having been inserted up on the top line.
"Absolutely," Selanne affirmed. "Its totally different when you get solid shifts and you're out there all the time. It's a different game. That's how I have always played —all 20 years pretty much."
The Ducks now head out of town for a stretch of three games north of the border.
"If we keep playing, it’s not going to be over until Game 82," said Perry. "We know as a group how good we can be. If we play the style we have to play to be successful, we’re going to be all right. We just need to keep pushing forward."
In other notes: Patrick Maroon left the game after the second period with a lower body injury, although Boudreau felt it was more cautionary than serious. He is day to day.