ANAHEIM - Some things never change, and that's just fine for the Anaheim Ducks right now.
Anaheim's all-too-familiar win over the Flames was the 25th straight regular season victory at Honda Center over Calgary, an NHL record for the longest home winning streak against one opponent. The Ducks have not lost at home to the Flames since Jan. 19, 2004 and are 28-8-2 overall vs. Calgary dating back to Nov. 29, 2007.
That included a 4-3 win for the Ducks over Calgary in Scotiabank Saddledome just two nights ago, part of a reign of dominance by Anaheim that could have led to some frustration by the Flames in the middle of the third period tonight. A knee-to-knee hit on Cam Fowler by Flames captain Mark Giordano knocked Fowler from the game and gave way to a flurry of hostility between the two teams, leading to more than 100 combined minutes of penalties and two ejections for Calgary. (Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had no update on Fowler's condition immediately following the game.)
Once the dust had settled and the final horn sounded, the Ducks had picked up their ninth win in the last 12 games (9-0-3) and increased their lead atop the Pacific Division to four points over the Sharks (who beat Vancouver tonight) and the Oilers (who lost in LA). The Ducks (44-23-13, 101 points) have now recorded 100+ points in the last four consecutive seasons, joining Chicago as the only teams to have done so
"We know they're a good team, but we played well," said Kevin Bieksa, who had his third goal of the year tonight. "If we're playing the way we can play, we're a tough team to beat. We beat them in their rink and beat them in our rink. Going into the playoffs, we know if we find ourselves playing them, it'll be a tough series, but we know, right now, how to beat them."
While Fowler's injury was significant for a Ducks team already missing injured d-men Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm, Calgary goalie Chad Johnson left the game 5:19 into the first period with a lower-body ailment and was replaced by Brian Elliott.
Calgary actually took the game's first lead when Mikael Backlund banged in a rebound from just outside the right post.
Anaheim got even as the hot Patrick Eaves stayed hot, getting the puck right in front of the net off a Ryan Getzlaf faceoff win and banging home a rebound off Elliott for his 31st of the year, 10 since joining the Ducks on February 24.
Video: CGY@ANA: Eaves finishes Getzlaf's crafty faceoff shot
"We made a decision we would have to change the way we were playing if we had a chance for success," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who pointed to the Eaves goal as turning the tide. "You have to credit your team for going out and finding a way."
The Ducks took their first lead with 6:58 left in the period when Bieksa hammered a shot from the right wing that tied up Elliott and trickled in behind him. A lengthy replay review to determine if Nick Ritchie was offside on the play was ruled inconclusive.
Video: CGY@ANA: Bieksa cranks a slapper past Elliott
Anaheim's fourth line made it a 3-1 lead when Logan Shaw hit a cutting Chris Wagner for the bang-bang goal.
Video: CGY@ANA: Wagner chips home Shaw's centering feed
Soon afterward, things started getting out of hand. Giordano went knee-to-knee on Fowler, knocking him out of the game as he had to be assisted off the ice. Soon after that, Ducks defenseman Josh Manson obliterated Giordano with a hit, sparking a fight seconds later.
Not long after that, Flames winger Micheal Ferland went after Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer after the whistle, earning two roughing penalties and a misconduct while Ryan Kesler was fighting Calgary's Sean Monahan.
"You saw our reaction," Bieksa said. "Obviously we weren't happy with the hit. He's one of our best players. Who knows the severity of the injury, but it looked like he was in a lot of pain. We weren't happy with it. We responded the way we did."
Several infractions followed, leaving both penalty boxes overflowing with players at one point, and Calgary's Matt Bartkowski and Deryk Engelland each earned game misconducts a few minutes before the game's merciful end.
"We're a team that sticks up for each other," Bieksa continued. "That's always been one of our M.O.s. We're a physical team. We care about each other and we care about Cam. We don't want to see a teammate on the ice and getting helped carried off."
Anaheim's two remaining regular season games include Thursday vs. Chicago and Sunday vs. LA (both at Honda Center) in which the Ducks can lock up their fifth straight division title and home ice for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.