By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – A sluggish start turned out to be merely a bump in the road in the Ducks' 5-2 victory over the struggling Islanders at Honda Center, a win that maintained Anaheim's success in their own building.
The Ducks came roaring back after a lackluster opening to the game by erupting for three goals in the second, including two in the final 33 seconds of the period, to roll to a third straight win. The Ducks remained the only team in the league to have not lost in regulation at home (11-0-2), while handing the Islanders a 10th straight loss (8-18-5 overall). Anaheim improved its season record to 21-7-5 for 47 points, tied for the overall NHL lead with Chicago.
Corey Perry had two goals in the game, including a highlight-reel score with seconds left in that pivotal second period, to give him 20 on the season, good enough for second in the NHL.
"There was a lot said about our composure and playing a hockey game," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said about the locker room following that mediocre opening period. "We didn’t come out and play hockey. We weren’t ready to go. We weren’t making the plays we normally make. It was very uncharacteristic. Our goaltender played well and we got timely goals."
Jonas Hiller stopped 35 of 37 Islanders shots to improve to 11-4-4 in 20 starts this season. "I thought Hiller was great," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreai. "He was probably the difference in the whole scheme of things."
A Thomas Vanek goal from the slot 4:17 into the second gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead that lasted until Andrew Cogliano tied the game with 7:19 left in the stanza. Cogliano was the beneficiary of a spectacular pass from Dan Winnik, who got the puck with his back to the net in the left wing circle and made a pinpoint feed to his linemate right on the doorstep for the tap-in.
The Ducks were in danger of going down a goal again when the Isles went on the power play late in the period after a scuffle behind the NYI net. But the Ducks turned the tables with a shorthanded 3-on-1 rush in which Matt Beleskey’s shot from the wing caromed hard off goalie Anders Nilsson, and Cam Fowler punched in the rebound.
Not long after, the Ducks went on the rush again, as Perry was knocked down in the slot, got up on his knees and beautifully wristed a shot past Nilsson, who was blocked by his own defenseman, Travis Hamonic. It was the sixth straight game with a goal for Perry, a career high and tied for longest in the league this year.
"'Winnie' [Daniel Winnik] just dropped it to me and I knew there were only seconds left, so I had to make a move," Perry said. "The guy tripped me, and as I was falling on my knees, I got it and found a way to squeak it in."
Perry got his second of the game on the power play 7:40 into the third, as Fowler’s shot rebounded to Nick Bonino, whose follow hit the post and Perry put in the loose puck.
Previously, the Ducks and Islanders traded goals during a first period in which Anaheim didn’t get out of the gates well. About halfway through the period, John Tavares cashed in on the power play to score the game’s first goal. The Ducks ultimately tied it with four minutes left when a Fowler shot bounced hard off Nilsson, and Koivu reached ahead to backhand it in just before the net was knocked off its supports.
"You’re always pleased when you get two points," Boudreau said. "Whether you play good or not, the two points are important. They came out and played really hard. We weren’t ready for them. But it seemed like every time they were outplaying us, we got a goal. We just hung around long enough to get our legs, and once we got to 3-2 and 4-2 on the same shift, I think it took the heart out of them a little bit."
The Ducks will look to keep it going on Wednesday night against the Wild at Honda Center.
Anaheim has picked up points in six straight games (4-0-2, 10 points) and in eight of their last nine (6-1-2, 14 points). The Ducks also pushed their home record to 11-0-2, marking the club’s best home start in franchise history. Anaheim remains the only NHL club to remain undefeated in regulation this season. In addition, this marks just the second time since the implementation of the shootout (2005-06) that an NHL club has gone at least 13 games without a regulation loss at home to start a season (San Jose, 20-0-2 in 2008-09).
Anaheim has won four consecutive home games vs. the New York Islanders dating back to a 5-4 overtime victory on Mar. 19, 2010 (Koivu OT goal).
Corey Perry extended his goal streak to a career-high six consecutive games (7-2=9), besting his previous mark of five games set Mar. 19-26, 2011 (8-2=10). Perry’s goal streak matches the longest goal streak of the season with St. Louis’ Alexander Steen and Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos. Perry is now tied for second among league leaders with 20 goals this season (also Steen).
With one assist tonight (0-1=1), Ryan Getzlaf owns an official 12-game point streak (6-9=15), the longest active streak in the league and one game shy of matching the NHL’s longest this season (Alexander Steen, 13 games from Oct. 17-Nov. 16). Including the two games he played prior to a three-game absence due to injury, Getzlaf has points in the last 14 games he has appeared in (10-21=21). While the 14-game streak is not an official point streak because he missed three games, this still marks the first time since Dec. 22, 2007-Jan. 23, 2008 (15-game streak, 6-16=22) that he has points in 14 consecutive games that he has played in.
The line of Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have combined for 21-19=40 points over the last 12 games (since Nov. 15). The trio has scored 45 goals this season, the highest goal total among any three teammates in the league. Their 95 combined points ranks second in the NHL only to Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (112). In addition, Getzlaf and Perry lead the league in goals scored by a duo on the same team (36). They are second in combined points (72) behind only Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (81).
Cam Fowler tied his career high with 1-2=3 points for the third time (last: Nov. 1, 2011 @ WSH). It marked his fourth multi-point game of the season and 15th of his career.
Daniel Winnik set a career-high with three assists (0-3=3).
Tonight’s attendance was 14,830.
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