By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – The Ducks have found a way to cure their ills on home ice a number of times this season, and they did it once more this afternoon against the Calgary Flames.
Coming off the sting of a 6-3 loss in Dallas on Tuesday, the Ducks were back to their normal selves at Honda Center, taking down the Flames 5-2 to remain the only NHL team without a regulation home loss (10-0-1). Not only that, but Anaheim won its 18th straight regular season home game over Calgary, dating back to January 19, 2004.
Dustin Penner had two goals and was part of a six-point game for the top line of him, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, thrilling a sellout crowd of 17,174 during the club’s traditional day-after-Thanksgiving matinee.
"Obviously, playing with Getzlaf and Perry, and the way we read off of each other, we’re opportunistic," Penner said. "It’s not like I’ve been doing anything different. I still have the same mindset I’ve had the past two years. Now I’m getting more of an opportunity now."
Anaheim broke the ice 12:20 into the game on a goal from rookie d-man Sami Vatanen, as Andrew Cogliano sent the puck from the bottom of the right wing circle to the top, where Vatanen hammered a one-timer top corner.
Less than a minute later, Anaheim made it 2-0 when another defenseman, Ben Lovejoy, fired a slap shot along the ice that Perry tipped through for his 14th of the season (tied for third in the NHL).
The Ducks kept it coming a few minutes into the second, this time on the power play, as Getzlaf made a gorgeous feed past the outstretched leg pad of goalie Reto Berra that Penner easily tipped home.
Calgary clawed back less than six minutes into the session, as former Duck defenseman Ladislav Smid sent a seemingly benign shot on net from the point that went in and out of the glove of goalie Frederik Andersen and snuck over the stripe.
Anaheim made it a three-goal lead again at 8:21, when Dan Winnik made a cross-ice feed on the rush to Cogliano, who backhanded the puck inside the left post. Saku Koivu, playing his first game after missing the last 15 with a concussion, got his second assist of the night on the play.
"Physically, I felt surprisingly good," Koivu said. "Coming back from a concussion, which is a first for me, I was a little hesitant in the first period, and then in the second half I felt a little more comfortable. You can only get so much contact in practice. You need a couple games to really see how you feel. But, tonight I felt fine."
Koivu was reunited with wingers Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik on a unit that clicked again for Anaheim. "They have great chemistry," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "They’ve had it for over a year. I think they like playing together, and it shows in their enthusiasm they have when they’re out there. They were the catalysts tonight. They were the ones who got it going and kept it going."
Calgary again got within two goals with 7:43 left in the second, as David Jones took the puck away from Koivu behind the net, then skated into the right wing circle before sending the puck past a Matt Stajan screen just inside the near post.
Penner made it 5-2 Ducks with 8 1/2 minutes left in the game, as the Flames lost the puck in their own end, and Perry dropped it to Getzlaf, whose cross-ice feed was one-timed into the twine by Penner for his second of the afternoon.
That’s how it ended, as the Ducks earned a point in the fourth game in their last five. They’ll look to do it again tomorrow night in San Jose, the start of a four-game stretch that includes top conference competition in LA, Chicago and St. Lous.
"It’s going to let us know where we are in the next four games," Boudreau said. "San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Louis are the top-four teams in the league. It’ll give us a real good barometer of where we’re at. In that sense, we’re looking forward to seeing where we’re at."
Added Penner, "We want to get some confidence to take into next week because we’ve got some pretty stiff competition. We’re going to need the team feeling as confident as possible."
The Anaheim Ducks improved to 10-0-1 at Honda Center this season, marking the club’s best home start in franchise history. Anaheim remains the only NHL club to remain undefeated in regulation this season. The Ducks are now 9-4-4 all-time in day-after-Thanksgiving games, including a 7-3-3 mark at Honda Center. Anaheim is 2-0-0 vs. Calgary in such games (also a 5-3 Ducks win on Nov. 26, 2006).
The Ducks have won 18 consecutive home games over the Flames, the longest home win streak vs. one opponent in club history. Anaheim has not lost at home to Calgary since Jan. 19, 2004 and is 18-6-1 vs. their new Pacific Division rival dating to Nov. 29, 2007.
With two assists today (0-2=2), Ryan Getzlaf owns an official seven-game point streak (3-5=8). Including the two games he played prior to a three-game absence due to injury, Getzlaf has points in the last nine games he has played in (7-7=14). While the nine-game streak is not an official point streak because he missed three games, this still marks the first time since Oct. 21-Nov. 14, 2009 (11-game streak) that he has points in nine consecutive games that he has played in.
Dustin Penner is riding a three-game goal streak (five goals in three games), his longest since a three-gamer from Oct. 10-16, 2010. His two goals mark his 13th career multi-goal game and second of the season (last: Nov. 23 @ PHX).
Frederik Andersen stopped 19-of-21 shots to improve to 7-1-0 in eight career NHL starts with the Ducks.
Tonight’s attendance was 17,174.
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