ANAHEIM - A win over Calgary at home is something Ducks fans once took for granted, but tonight it was desperately needed.
Anaheim's 3-2 victory over the Flames tonight at Honda Center was just the second win in the last nine games for the Ducks, and it came less than 24 hours after a disappointing 4-1 defeat to the Kings in LA.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf got the crucial go-ahead goal in the third period just 27 seconds after Calgary had tied the game, and Anaheim hung on until the final horn with major help from goalie Ryan Miller (37 saves).
"It's a reward for our whole group," Getzlaf said. "The way the guys battled. Millsy made a couple huge saves that don't get unrecognized in our room. That's a reward, definitely, after the work we've put in the last couple weeks."
The Ducks were on their heels in the final minute when Rickard Rakell took slashing penalty with 1:14 left and Calgary sent goalie Mike Smith to the bench for an extra attacker. But the Ducks defense clamped down, and Getzlaf slammed the door when he cleared the puck the length of the ice from behind the Anaheim net with five seconds left.
"We came out prepared," Getzlaf said. "Tough loss last night. It was nice to get back on the ice and forget about that one, and just play hockey again."
The Ducks had once owned one of the more extraordinary streaks in all of pro sports against the Flames, having won 25 consecutive regular season home games over Calgary before the streak was snapped on October 9 of last year. It was the first regular season loss at home to the Flames since Jan. 19, 2004, but the Ducks got revenge with a victory at Honda Center on December 29 and did it again tonight to make it 27 of the last 28.
Calgary came into this one with a little streak of its own, having won four straight to vault into the top of the Pacific Division standings with San Jose and Vancouver. The win tonight was Anaheim's second straight at home, the first coming Sunday evening on the strength of a Cam Fowler hat trick that was sealed with a game-winner in OT.
"I thought we started the right way," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "That was the most important for us to build on our start. We didn't want to sit back and worry about what happened last night. It was more about being in the present. We knew we were going to play a really good hockey club."
Jakob Silfverberg got tonight's first goal 8:37 after the opening faceoff on a snap shot from the right wing that snuck behind Smith. It was Silfverberg's team-leading fifth of the year.
Video: CGY@ANA: Silfverberg slaps in shot that gets by Smith
Anaheim made it 2-0 a few minutes later when Adam Henrique pounced on a rebound off a Josh Manson shot and deposited it under the crossbar. Manson returned to the lineup tonight after missing four games with an upper body injury.
Video: CGY@ANA: Henrique cleans up Manson's rebound in front
Calgary sliced the lead in half four seconds into a power play late in the period when Matthew Tkachuk tipped a puck through on the doorstep.
They tied it shorthanded six minutes into the third when Mark Jankowski swiped the puck from a slow-to-start Ducks power play and sniped a shot top corner for his first of the year (after scoring 17 as a rookie last season).
But Anaheim re-took the lead almost immediately when Getzlaf scooped up a rebound off a Rakell net crash and buried a backhand from in deep.
Video: CGY@ANA: Getzlaf pulls to his backhand, reclaims lead
"It was big for us," Rakell said. "We always try to have a great shift after a goal. Coming right back, it gave us momentum. Getting the lead back was huge for us."
The goal gave Getzlaf eight points (3 goals and 5 assists) in his last six games. He's also second among active NHLers with 60 career points (17 goals and 43 assists) against the Flames.
The Ducks will look to keep it going Friday night vs. Minnesota at Honda Center, part of a stretch in which Anaheim, plays six of its next seven at home.