By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – The Ducks’ 3-2 dousing of the Flames tonight at Honda Center had a streaky feel to it.
It was not only the fifth straight win for the Ducks after an opening night loss two weeks ago, but it was a remarkable 17th straight regular season home win over the Flames for Anaheim. The Ducks' win streak over the Flames dates back to January 19, 2004 – so long ago that no players remain on the Anaheim and Calgary rosters from those teams.
The Ducks did it tonight by scoring three times over the first two periods, then holding on for dear life in the third. Dustin Penner, Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne each found the net for Anaheim, while Viktor Fasth was very strong with 33 saves. Yet, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't overly pleased with the performance.
"I didn’t think we had much flow at all," Boudreau said. "We won, and we’re grateful we won. When you’re used to seeing what you saw in the previous few games, it’s hard to take."
Nevertheless, Anaheim improved its 2013-14 record to 5-1-0, the first time in club history the team has won five of its first six contests. The club’s 10 points through six games equals the best start in club history (4-0-2 in 2006-07).
The Ducks struck first 3:27 into the game when Ryan Getzlaf cruised along the right wing wall and let go of a pinpoint cross-ice pass that Penner one-timed home.
Almost 10 minutes later, Palmieri made it 2-0 Anaheim virtually all by himself. He knocked down a clearing attempt by Chris Butler, kept the puck inside the blue line and sniped in a shot from the slot.
A Ducks power play that has been struggling all season haunted them even more with 3:29 left in the first. Calgary was trying to kill off a five-minute major after a butt-ending penalty on Tim Jackman that also resulted in a game misconduct. The Ducks not only didn’t convert, but gave up a shorthanded goal to Lee Stempniak when Palmieri mishandled the puck at the blue line and Stempniak beat Fasth on a breakaway the other way.
Anaheim got back its two-goal lead with 3:25 left in the period after Selanne seemingly got away with a slashing penalty on the defensive end. The Ducks headed the other way with the puck, and Jakob Silfverberg made a nice feed to Selanne, who was wide open for the top-shelf wrister from the slot.
"It was a race between me and their other defenseman," Silfverberg said. "I got to it before him, and I saw 'T' in the middle, and I just tried to get the puck in there. He made a nice shot."
It was the first goal of the farewell season for the 43-year-old Selanne. "I broke two sticks for the first time in my career," Selanne said. "I got the breakaway. Sometimes, you’ve got to be lucky."
Calgary got within a goal again 3:15 into the third when a Kris Russell point shot deflected off the thigh of Jiri Hudler and snuck past Fasth.
But that was as close as the Flames would get, as the Ducks locked it down over the closing stretch, blocking a number of Calgary shots and relying on the sharpness of Fasth.
The Ducks look to make it six straight Friday night against Phoenix at Honda Center as their five-game homestand rolls on.
Tonight’s win also marks the first time in club history the Ducks have gone 3-0-0 at HOME to start a season.
The Ducks have won five straight games, the third-longest streak in the NHL this season. The last time Anaheim won five straight was Mar. 6-14, 2013 (5-0-0).
Tonight marked the 108th game-winning goal of Teemu Selanne’s career, just one shy of matching Brendan Shanahan at fifth in all-time GWG.
Jakob Silfverberg has points in five of six contests this season (4-2=6).
Francois Beauchemin is a +11 over the last five games. His +8 rating on the season ranks tied for third in the NHL (many players).
The Ducks have now won 17 consecutive home games over the Flames, the longest home win streak vs. one opponent in franchise history. Anaheim has not lost at home to Calgary since Jan. 19, 2004.
The club’s opening five-game homestand closes with contests vs. Phoenix (Friday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.) and Dallas (Sunday, Oct. 20, 5 p.m.) this weekend.
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