Heading into Sunday evening, the Anaheim Ducks had won their last ten straight on home ice and had the best record to a start of the season in franchise history. Their record of 17-3-3 was also the second best in the entire NHL. With the “undefeated in regulation” Chicago Blackhawks falling to the Colorado Avalanche last Friday night, and the Edmonton Oilers earlier on Sunday, the Ducks were looking bring the gap that much closer. In fact, when the Oilers/Blackhawks results were shown on the jumbotron, the crowd at the Ducks game roared.
The key component to the Ducks success so far this season is their goal scoring ability. With 77 goals through their first 23 games, also second best in the NHL, and a record of 19-for-65 (29.2%) on power play conversions, first in the NHL, it was clear that Ducks on-ice offense was red-hot.
And their offense isn’t just coming from one or two players, or even one or two lines. The Ducks have 11 players on their roster with at least 5 goals so far this season, including Andrew Cogliano, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry and captain Ryan Getzlaf, who signed an eight-year contract extension for $66 million on Friday.
“We do have some guys that can put the puck in the net, “ Coach Bruce Boudreau stated. “If you look down the list, I think we’re in the top three of teams scoring goals. It’s quietly done by committee.”
Their opponent for Sunday’s contest was the St. Louis Blues, who sat sixth in the Western conference. However, the Blues impressive road record of 8-4-1 did pose a potential threat to the Ducks winning their eleventh straight home game.
“When you are playing well, you try to stick with that confidence that you have the ability to do it. Stick with your system that works,” Getzlaf said of the Ducks improved outlook.
Boudreau added, “When you believe you can win, when you’ve been in all situations, it really helps.”
The Blues struck first just over six minutes into the first on a shot from Ryan Reaves, his first goal of the season. However, this did not fluster the Ducks as it might’ve in the past. The Ducks have a 8-2-1 record when their opponents score first so far this season, as opposed to last year’s 0-10-2 record 23 games into last season.
No other goals were scored in the period and the first ended with a 1-0 Blues lead.
The second was also a one-goal period. This one coming on a great attack from Cogliano even though the Ducks were shorthanded and so this game was to be decided in the final twenty minutes.
Less than two minutes into the third, the Blues reclaimed the lead with a power play goal from Patrik Berglund, but the lead did not last long as Ryan tied it up exactly ninety seconds later. Only a couple minutes later, the Ducks obtained their first lead of the night on a Getzlaf shot from the point that was tipped in by Perry.
Perry then ensured the win with an empty-netter with forty seconds remaining.
With the 4-2 victory, the Ducks continue to keep their home win streak alive (11) and improve their overall record to 18-3-3 halfway through the shortened season.
“We just take it one game at a time,” Perry declared. “We’re at the halfway point and we’ve still got a lot of hockey left. If we keep continuing to play the way we are, we’re going to put ourselves in good shape.”
Up next for the Ducks is a three game road trip starting in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Bobby Ryan is riding a seven game point streak (3-5=8), while Ryan Getzlaf is on a four game streak (3-6=9).
Corey Perry first goal of the night was his fifth game-winning goal of the season so far.