It was not the usual scorers for Anaheim, but the depth stepped up in a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers that kept the Ducks perfect at home with a 16-0-2 record.
In a game where defenseman, Ben Lovejoy is your #1 scorer and star and Tim Jackman also shows up on the scoreboard, you know that on any night, someone is going to get the job done.
Corey Perry? Ryan Getzlaf? Not a single point and each of them were -1 on the night.
"They weren’t going as good as they normally do, and when they’re not going, you need people to pick up the slack," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "I thought Jackman’s goal was a huge goal at the end of the second. Then you get help from everywhere. That’s why we’re a pretty good team."
The Ducks were not great, but they were good enough. They had to be, because Edmonton showed what a dangerous team they can be, despite being at the bottom of the Pacific Division.
Boyd Gordon wasted no time scoring, getting one behind Jonas Hiller a mere :35 seconds into the game.
If you blinked, you might have missed Kyle Palmieri snapping up a turnover and putting it behind form Ducks goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov, :11 seconds later to tie up the game.
One minute gone, 59 to go. Who knew what the score would look like?
Nail Yakupov restored the lead to Edmonton at 11:06, but that was all they could manage behind Hiller, who looked a little iffy in the first period. Hiller regrouped, as did the Ducks, and his 16 saves were enough for his 10th win in a row, a career best.
Two goals from Lovejoy coming 2:43 seconds apart, were the fastest two ever by an Anaheim defenseman. The second one came with only 4.4 seconds left on the clock in the first period.
"It was awesome to get one!" said a very happy Lovejoy, who is having a career season. "To get a second very similar pass from Andrew Cogliano, it has to be perfectly in my wheelhouse. And both Cogliano and Cam Fowler were able to find it. It’s a very small sweet spot. I was lucky it went in."
Lovejoy has already tied a career high of three goals. It has been quite the week for the defenseman, who became a father for the first time on New Year's Eve.
"Great feeling, great win," said Lovejoy. "It’s been an awesome couple of days, and I would love to keep it going. It was pretty special."
By the second period, the Oilers had run out of steam but they had some difficulty putting things completely away. Missing eight power play chances was not a highlight and one power play goal in the last 30 attempts looks vaguely reminiscent of the beginning of the season when they couldn't buy a power play goal.
Jackman, taking a beautiful pass from Nick Bonino, finally gave the Ducks a two goal cushion at 19:16 of the middle frame. It was the first goal as a Duck for Jackman, who known more for his enforcing than for goal scoring prowess.
"When Bonino gets behind the net, he has such good hands and such good vision," said Jackman. "It was a great pass. Our line thought we were going to chip in tonight, with the way we were forechecking, with the way we were getting the pucks behind their defense, and cycling. We were able to play in their end for the majority of the shifts we had."
The final goal of the game that sent fans to Hooters for free wings for the second game in a row came at 11:16 of the third period. Former Edmonton Oiler, Andrew Cogliano stole a puck from defenseman Jeff Petry and had a breakaway you just knew was going to go in the net. Bryzgalov, who made 32 saves, didn't have a chance.
"Whenever you play a team that trades you, and at the end of the day kind of gets rid of you or doesn’t value you as much as you value yourself, it’s nice when you have a good game," said Cogliano. "I definitely don’t want to go anywhere. I love playing here. When you’re on a winning team, everything is good and everything is great. When you’re winning games and have good guys around you, and a good organization, it’s a lot of fun."
Cogliano put his money where his mouth was and signed a four year contract extension on Saturday, worth $12 million. A nice reward for the dependable and consistent Iron Man.
Next up for Anaheim will be another game at home on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks. Already having their best start ever to a season (including the year they won the Stanley Cup) at 30-8-5, Anaheim wants to add one more win to the total and keep the home record going.