Facing an immediate future that doesn’t include talented veterans Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, the Anaheim Ducks now more than ever need everyone to contribute.
Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan scored third-period goals Sunday night, and the Ducks got goals from five different sources in rallying past the Calgary Flames for a 5-4 victory at the Honda Center.
"Guys stepped up in the absence of pretty big players for us and it’s nice to get two points at home, that’s for sure," Ryan said.
The Ducks trailed by a goal entering the final 20 minutes, but after Perry drew them even at the 7:10 mark, Ryan took a drop pass from Dan Sexton, skated into the right circle and ripped a shot from near the faceoff dot that beat Flames goalie Curtis McElhinney under the crossbar to the top left corner.
Perry was penalized for hooking with one minute left and Anaheim survived a frantic scrum in front of Jonas Hiller as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Hiller finished with 33 saves.
"He’s been incredible," Ryan said. "He’s given us a chance to win every night and carried us to a few wins himself. It’s been nice for him. It’s nice to see him step in there and play well."
Sexton, Evgeny Artyukhin and Troy Bodie all scored in the first period for the Ducks, who have won six of their last seven games overall, seven in a row on home ice and 11 straight over the Flames at the Honda Center.
Olli Jokinen, Jamie Lundmark, Mark Giordano and Curtis Glencross scored for the Flames, whose slumping offense came alive and helped rally them from an early 3-1 deficit. Giordano and Glencross beat Hiller on breakaways in the second to give them a 4-3 lead that ultimately slipped away. They’ve lost four straight and six of seven.
"It’s a tough stretch for us, there’s no question," said captain Jarome Iginla, who has gone eight games without a goal. "It’s the hardest one of the year because every night it’s so close and we’re doing a lot of good things, but we still have a couple breakdowns. We had a lead in the third period, we have to win that game."
Calgary missed an opportunity to tie idle Colorado for first place in the Northwest Division, while Anaheim moved into a three-way tie for 10th in the Western Conference with Dallas and Minnesota.
"We knew we didn’t play very well the other night in L.A.," Perry said of a 4-0 loss Thursday that snapped a five-game winning streak for the Ducks. "Things kind of got out of control for us and we didn’t play very well as a team. We knew we had to come into today and put up that fight we needed, the energy right from the start of the game. We got a big first lead in the first period and that kind of carried us through the game."
Jokinen actually got the Flames on the board first, beating Hiller at the 7:05 mark, but the Ducks responded quickly and often. Sexton scored on a power play at 8:40 for his eighth goal in 22 games as a rookie, then Artyukhin and Bodie got pucks past McElhinney 32 seconds apart late in the period for a 3-1 advantage.
Artyukhin’s third of the season came with 3:01 left in the first and Bodie followed with his first NHL goal in his 15th career game.
"Everybody’s got to play hard, all four lines, and if you get a chance try and score," Artyukhin said.
Just like the Ducks bounced back after falling behind, so did the Flames. Lundmark cut their deficit to one with 16 seconds left in the first and they took the lead back in the middle period. Giordano got out of the box after serving a slashing penalty, took a lead pass from Conroy and tied the score at the 3:56 mark. Glencross blocked a pass in his defensive zone and took off the other way for another breakaway goal at 9:19.
"After they got off to a 3-1 lead we were able to stay with it, stay positive after not scoring a lot of goals for a while," Iginla said. "We were able to find them tonight. We’re not winning but guys are working hard and we want to win. It’s going to break for us. It’s going to go the other way and we’re going to get ourselves on a roll."
Material from team broadcast media was used in this report.