The Anaheim Ducks opened their season last weekend in Helsinki, Finland with a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The following day they played in Stockholm, Sweden and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers. It’d been six days since the Ducks had played a game, but when they took to the ice for their home opener against the San Jose Sharks Friday night, they were ready go and looking to build momentum off their win.
As every member of the roster was introduced for the first time in front of the home crowd, the fans roared and welcomed their team home with open arms. And the Ducks got fired up.
The Ducks got off to a slow start in the first, not even getting their first shot on goal until about eleven minutes in and taking a couple of penalties in that time as well. However, things started to click for the Ducks after that. At 13:59, the Ducks’ fourth line came up big when Maxime Macenauer scored his first ever career NHL goal off a beautiful feed from George Parros from behind the net.
“He’s just keeping it simple,” Parros said of Macenauer. “He’s a fast player, he can get around guys, get in on the forecheck, and he’s got touch around the net.”
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle added, “It’s always a lift when those guys can contribute.”
The Ducks’ momentum carried over into the second period. They had been outshot eleven to four in the first and by the end of the second had narrowed it down to a three shot difference. Even so, there was no change on the scoreboard.
The third period also brought no change in score and the Ducks won in a 1-0 shut out victory. Goaltender Jonas Hiller, who suffered from a severe case of vertigo during the second half of last season, came up big for the Ducks with 31 saves to aide the win.
“I want to make a statement every night, no matter what happened last year,” Hiller declared. “But it’s obviously nice to get these kind of games.”
Carlyle commented of Hiller, “You don’t have a chance in the NHL without solid goaltending, and Jonas tonight provided a little bit more than solid.”
The Ducks will host the St. Louis Blues on Sunday evening on what is being called Corey Perry night as team plans to celebrate the reigning NHL MVP.