PHILADELPHIA -- All it took was a gritty goal and several timely saves for the Anaheim Ducks to finally claim their first road win of the season on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center.
Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf made it possible when he jammed home his own rebound right on the doorstep with 1:46 remaining in the third period while goalie Curtis McElhinney made it stand up with an inspiring 40-save performance to lead the Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
The victory was the first for the Ducks (3-4-1) on the road in five chances. They are currently on a four-game road swing that will take them to Detroit on Saturday before concluding in Dallas next Tuesday. The Flyers (2-3-1), meanwhile, fell to 1-3-0 on their season-long five-game home stand, which concludes Saturday against the red hot Toronto Maple Leafs.
"When you score with 1:45 left, it doesn't matter how it goes in, it went in," Ducks coach Randy Carlye said. "I don't care if it was an end-to-end rush, if it was a fluke from center, whatever it is; we are desperate for wins here. We played a pretty good game (on Wednesday) in Columbus and came away with nothing. We battled hard (on Thursday) playing against an energized Philadelphia team, a real good hockey club. The shot count (Flyers 42-22) was not what we would like to do but again we found a way to get the job done and that's the most important thing."
The Ducks yield a League-high average of 39.9 shots per game.
The Flyers pulled goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to gain the extra attacker following Getzlaf's goal, but couldn't solve McElhinney, the fourth-season goalie who was acquired from Calgary in exchange for Vesa Toskala last March. Prior to getting the start in Philadelphia, his only appearance this season was on Oct. 11 in mop-up duty during a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, when he stopped 18 of 19 shots in 24:09 of ice time.
"Curt brings that work ethic every day," Ducks wing Bobby Ryan said. "It's tough to be a backup and wait for your shot when Jonas (Hiller) is playing so well. He doesn't get in as often as he probably should, but we had faith in him going in and he showed why we keep that faith."
Getzlaf's winner came after taking an outlet pass from Matt Beleskey before storming down the middle of the ice. His initial shot hit the blade of Bobrovsky, but Getzlaf quickly stabbed at the rebound before the rookie goalie could cover up and the puck trickled over the goal line at the right post. A video review confirmed Getzlaf's third of the season.
"He kind of stopped the initial shot with his stick and I hit it again and, well, you saw my reaction," Getzlaf said. "We caught a break there in the end and it was a big relief for us. We were working really hard to finally get those bounces. We haven't gotten those bounces on the road, so it was good to get it."
The bounces were one thing, but the Ducks were also thanking their lucky stars that McElhinney was on top of his game in his first start of the season.
"It feels great … there were nerves early on and there were a couple of rebounds that got away from me, but that's all part of getting in there, feeling the puck and getting used to things," McElhinney said. "After Ryan scored that goal, I took a look at the clock and we knew their goalie would be coming out. We wanted to just chip pucks out, try to get it down and we had a couple of icings in there that killed a little bit of time. It was a great job by our centers and the wingers working the draws in our end."
Claude Giroux had pulled the Flyers into a 2-2 tie at 13:50 of the second on a great individual effort, breaking into the Anaheim zone uncontested before slamming home his own rebound off the backhand for his third goal of the season.
"I don't think it's quality shots we're having right now," Giroux said. "We're just kind of shooting the puck with no traffic and the last few practices we've been practicing like that, to go to the net and screen the goalie. But at one point in the second period we were doing that, but we should have been doing it the whole game."
The Flyers' power play failed miserably once again, going scoreless on five opportunities. The Flyers' power play, which has finished no lower than sixth in the League the previous three seasons, is now 2-for-27 in 2010-11.
"We've got to find a rhythm out there," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've got the right guys. I'm confident of that, those are the players that belong there. I believe the units are good, I like the role of what we've got out there. It's not as smooth as we need it to be right now. We're not getting the results we're looking for -- shots seem to be getting blocked or we miss the net. A power-play goal makes a difference (against Anaheim)."
The Ducks were credited with 28 blocked shots against Philadelphia, including six by defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky.
Anaheim opened a 2-1 lead in the first. Jason Blake snapped a 1-1 tie with his first goal of the season at 10:32, connecting from the slot off a neat feed from Teemu Selanne. Selanne's assist, his fourth of the season, was his 1,267th career point -- tying him with Jean Ratelle for 34th on the all-time NHL list.
The Flyers had pulled even 4:16 into the first on Scott Hartnell's first of the season off a jam at the right post.
Visnovsky scored his first of the season 35 seconds into the game when he snapped a shot home from between the circles that beat Bobrovsky (19 saves) over the right shoulder.
Bobrovsky, who was making his second straight start and fourth of the season, was disappointed with the team's effort.
"The team lost and I feel that it's my fault also," he said through an interpreter. "We could've been better. The team must win all the time."
1 - 0 ANA
1 - 1 Tie
2 - 1 ANA
2 - 2 Tie
3 - 2 ANA
Interference on goalkeeper