The Anaheim Ducks aren't winning pretty, but they are winning regularly.
The Ducks made it six wins in a row on Friday night when Ryan Getzlaf scored the tie-breaking goal 1:53 into the third period and Bobby Ryan scored twice in a 4-2 victory against the Dallas Stars. After an up-and-down October, the Ducks are now 6-0-0 in November. The first five were all by one goal; this one was a one-goal game until Ryan's empty-netter with 13.7 seconds left.
"It was a huge night," Ryan said. "Tonight we didn’t give them a whole lot of momentum swings, which we’ve done in the past few games. The guys played hard in front of (Jonas Hiller). He earned the win tonight for us."
Anaheim outshot Dallas 37-29, but the game was even at 1-1 until Corey Perry controlled the puck behind the Stars' net and threw a blind backhand pass between the skates of defenseman Nicklas Grossman and into the crease. Getzlaf, crashing the net, slammed the puck behind goaltender Kari Lehtonen for his seventh of the season.
"When Getzy buried that goal, it was huge," Ryan said. "The three of us (Ryan Getzlaf and Perry) fought the puck a little bit early in the game, so it was nice to get rewarded for sticking with it. We’ve figured each other out and we’re rolling right now. It’s evident. It just needs to stick.
"It was huge. It took the wind right out of them."
Ryan made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 9:36, firing a straightaway 50-footer that deflected off defenseman Trevor Daley and into the net. It was his sixth of the season but first on the power play after he had 11 with the extra man last season.
Jonas Hiller made the biggest of his 27 saves just 28 seconds later when he denied Jamie Benn on a penalty shot, sprawling to get his left pad on Benn's shot after a deke. Benn was awarded the penalty shot after getting behind defenseman Paul Mara, who grabbed and spun him.
"That was huge," Koivu said. "It was a big lift for our team."
But Brad Richards made it a one-goal game at 16:22, capitalizing on an odd bounce. Loui Eriksson rimmed the puck around the board from the left wing, but it hit a stanchion behind the net and bounced right to Richards, who snapped a quick shot from the lower right circle into the top far corner.
Hiller preserved the win with just over a minute left when he robbed Eriksson from his doorstep. Benn had a wide-open shot from inside the left circle but fired high, and Ryan put it away when he hit the empty net.
"Once again, we found a way to lose a game," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said.
"It's been special teams. Tonight it was blown coverage against a line that we know is strong around the net. It's frustrating -- we started the season with four wins, had a homestand with three losses, then won three games and now we've got three (consecutive) losses."
The Stars, who lost 3-1 at Los Angeles on Thursday, finished 0-3-0 on their road trip and were outscored 12-3 in the three losses. They are off until the Ducks come to the American Airlines Center on Tuesday. Anaheim starts a road trip Sunday at Chicago.
"We'd like to think we're better than a .500 hockey club," Morrow said. "But we're not -- we're not finding ways to win games."
The Ducks came out flying, outshooting Dallas 18-5 in the opening period. But the teams went off the ice tied 1-1 on goals 56 seconds apart.
Saku Koivu put Anaheim in front at 13:56 when Teemu Selanne's pass from the left corner hit his skate and went into the net. Koivu's seventh of the season goal survived a brief video review.
"Teemu made a great pass and it hit my skate and went in," Koivu said after scoring for the fifth time in five games. "Luckily it was called a goal."
The goal had barely been announced when Dallas tied the game at 14:52. Brandon Segal took a quick passout from Daley and fired a 10-footer from below the hash marks that hit Hiller but slithered past him and made it over the goal line by a couple of inches for his second of the season.