By Kyle Shohara
Photos from Practice
It appears no one can stop Corey Perry’s torrid start to the season, not even his own teammates. Perry was weaving through players and finding the back of the net this afternoon in practice, drawing loud cheers from his comrades.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau says that’s indicative of a player who’s feeling good about himself. “Right now, everything he’s touching is going in,” Boudreau said. “He put that first goal off the inside of the post. That was a really difficult shot to make coming in like that. But right now, he sees it. Great players have these moments in the sun. The net looks huge to him.”
Indeed it does, as Perry became the fastest player in franchise history to score eight goals (in seven games) with his second hat trick of the season and seventh of his career last night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Perry became just the sixth player in the past 29 years to record multiple hat tricks in his team’s first seven games of season. The five others include Ilya Kovalchuk (2003), Brian Savage (1999), Mario Lemieux (1988), Glenn Anderson (1987) and Charlie Simmer (1985). Perry co-leads the NHL in goals (with Rangers forward Rick Nash) courtesy of the 45th hat trick in franchise history.
Boudreau says the only player he knows of – or who he's coached in the past – who compares to Perry when it comes to working magic in tight quarters is Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. “Corey puts it in his feet and somehow it comes out the other side, and no one knows why or how. That’s what makes the better players the better players.”
Dany Heatley is ramping up the intensity on the ice, and the 33-year-old said today was another step in the right direction.
“It’s progressing, though a little slower than I’d like, but I keep taking a step forward,” he said.
“Today was a really good day. I got a little more contact and a little more work in the corners. I’m feeling better.”
Though he’s improving, Heatley says he doesn’t want to mark a specific date for his return. “It really is day to day,” he said. “I’ll have a really good [day], and then it levels off for a day or two. It’s pretty much wait and see. I don’t want to put a timeline on it, but it’s been really good this past week.”
One thing is for certain – he wants to be fully healed before he returns to the lineup. “I have to be offensive and I have to be strong with the puck,” he said. “I have to be able to shoot it wherever I want. You have to be 100 percent when you come back.”
After reeling off six consecutive victories, Anaheim’s season-opening loss at Pittsburgh seems like a distant memory. The Ducks are finding ways to win even in games when they aren’t at their best, due in large part to the human wall that is Frederik Andersen. With last night’s win, the big Dane extended his winning streak to a career-tying six games (6-0-0) and continues to pace all NHL goaltenders in wins this season (6). During the winning streak, Andersen posted a career-high scoreless streak of 152 minutes and 46 seconds (spanning three games).
Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano says the team wanted to respond after losing at Pittsburgh. “We’ve been playing to our strengths,” he said. “Guys are doing their jobs. At the end of the day, we’ve been playing well and gotten really good goaltending. Freddie has been really good, our special teams has been really good, and we’re on home ice.”
The Ducks are 3-0 at Honda Center in their current five-game homestand, and, like in years past, are establishing home dominance early in the season.
“You want [Honda Center] to be a place where teams don’t want to play, and a place that’s tough for the opposition,” said Cogliano. “It’s an advantage for us. Lately it’s been like that. You want to continue that because it pays dividends in the playoffs. When you play in the playoffs, you want your home building to be something that’s feared.”
“We just try to make it tough,” said Devante Smith-Pelly. “The crowd gets pretty loud and into it. We know we have to win our games on home ice, and defend our ice. That’s something we focus on, and something we’ve done pretty well so far.”