At the beginning of Friday evening, a mere two points separated first and last place in the challenging Pacific division. The Dallas Stars started the night with 34 points, while the four remaining teams each had 32. The difference between a win and a loss would be the difference between first and last place. Unfortunately for the Ducks, they had played a minimum of three games more than any other team in the division.
However, it’s unlikely that’s what the Anaheim Ducks were thinking about going into their Friday night matchup against the Calgary Flames. It was their first game back in the Honda Center after a mini back-to-back road trip against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks, in which the Ducks earned three of the four possible points. On the other hand, the Calgary Flames had alternated between a win and a loss in their last eight games, and had lost to the Los Angeles Kings the night before. It was bound to be fight to the finish.
The first period was a battle in itself. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky scored the first goal of the game about thirteen minutes in, giving the Ducks an early lead. Unfortunately, while the Ducks were on a power play towards the end of the period, both Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan were called for penalties about forty seconds apart allowing Calgary to begin the second period with a twenty-four second, two-man advantage.
Luckily for the Ducks, the Flames were unable to capitalize with the advantage. Despite being outshot 13-7 in the second period, the Ducks were able to add to their lead, as Dan Sexton was able to throw the puck passed goaltender Henrik Karlsson, giving the Ducks a two-goal lead going into the final twenty minutes.
The Ducks thought they had sealed the deal about five minutes into the third period when Jason Blake put the puck in the net, but the referee waived it off, claiming that Blake knocked the puck out of the air with a high stick. This seemed to be the turning point for the Flames.
Within eight minutes of the Blake no-goal, the Flames tied it up with goals from Olli Jokinen and David Moss, sending the game into overtime.
No winner was decided in overtime, so the Ducks went into their third straight shootout. Fortunately for the Ducks both Getzlaf and Corey Perry scored in the shootout and Jonas Hiller was able to stop two of the three Calgary attempts, earning the Ducks two points and the victory. This moved the Ducks into second place in the Pacific division (the Stars won their game in extra time as well).
Coach Randy Carlyle commented, “We have to continue to get points and get wins, that’s the way the NHL is. You have to get points in as many games as possible and they are not all Picassos that you paint.”
The Ducks hope to hold onto their momentum when they face the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
This game marked milestones for two of the Ducks top forwards. It was Bobby Ryan’s 200th NHL game and Corey Perry’s 400th.