It must feel a little like the movie "Groundhog Day" for coach Bruce Boudreau. Every game the Ducks come out slow, fall behind on the scoreboard, then pull it together for the win.
All that tension can't be good for your heart, even if you have confidence that your team can pull things off.
Maybe the next game will start off differently, but for now, Anaheim continues the same lather, rinse, repeat type of game plan.
One of these days that bad start is going to come bite them in the behind and they cannot dig themselves out of a hole. For now, they seem to pull it off every single time, almost as if there was a script to do so.
The Ducks took their act on the road and used the same formula against the Nashville Predators for a 4-3 win to remain in first place overall in the NHL with a 33-8-5 record and a whopping 71 points.
Nashville came out of the gate hard and quickly challenged Frederik Andersen, who got the nod in goal. (Jonas Hiller cannot play every single game.) Andersen, who had not seen the net for a game since December 29, got scored on twice in the first 2:30 minutes of the game.
Paul Gaustad got a wrist shot past Andersen at 1:52 of the first period. The Predators fans were still celebrating when Craig Smith made it 2-0 at 2:22. Goals on the first two out of three shots. Uh oh. Here we go again.
Never say die. If Nashville looked at the stats, they would know that Anaheim is 14-5-1 when the opponent scores first. How impressive is that? No other NHL team, none, has a .500-or-better record when allowing the first goal.
"It’s confidence," said Teemu Selanne. "Like tonight, we were down two goals and it didn’t really bother us. We kept coming. Everybody is doing their jobs. That’s the key for us."
Late to clock in to work as always, the Ducks took it upon themselves to make the most of the remaining 40 minutes.
At the beginning of the second period, it was the Ryan Getzlaf show, who scored :55 seconds in and again at 4:36 to tie up the game.
"I've only been around 2 1/2 years but it's the best I've seen from anyone that I've been associated with as far as leadership," said Boudreau about his captain. "It seems like when we're down and we're not playing well [Getzlaf] takes it upon himself to do what he does until the other guys catch up. Corey [Perry] does it too. The both of them are pretty magical out there as far as tough to play against."
After Rich Clune gave Nashville back the lead at 5:31, Perry did his part by tying up the game once more at 6:27. It was Perry's 25th goal of the year from Getzlaf, who got his 30th assist of the season. The breakaway goal went right past Marek Mazanek, who had 24 saves in the loss.
The game winner went to Selanne, who is not the prolific scorer he once was. Against Nashville, he was in top form, though. Selanne got a power play goal at 18:52 of the middle frame, proving the old man still has what it takes. It was goal #680 of his career and the 109th game winner.
"You have to always be ready,” said Selanne. “I was playing with Patty (Patrick Maroon) and I can read him pretty well, what he’s doing. … He looked like a playmaker, pass between the (defender’s) legs. It was pretty cool."
With nothing else changing in the final period beyond the shots on goal, the Ducks were able to hang on and win. Again.
"In that first period it's something we've got to figure out as a team and figure out how to play better in that first 10 minutes," Getzlaf asserted.
Make it so.
The Ducks head to Phoenix for a game against the Coyotes on Saturday evening before returning home to play an all too familiar foe in the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.
In other notes: It was apparently deemed that Andersen needed more playing and less sitting time. He was sent down to Norfolk to spend more time in the net. John Gibson was recalled to act at back up over the weekend.