ANAHEIM - On a night when Orange County came together as one, the Ducks gave the home fans a night to remember.
Anaheim's 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes came on Angels Night, an evening that took on a somber tone as Honda Center honored those who lost their lives in Sunday's terrible tragedy in Calabasas.
Included among the festivities were the players wearing Ducks/Angels co-branded jerseys during pregame warmups. New Angels manager Joe Maddon got the troops going by reading the starting lineup in the Ducks locker room, then he and players Griffin Canning, David Fletcher, Ty Buttrey, Patrick Sandoval took part in a ceremonial puck drop at center ice.
In an emotional moment, the Angels, Ducks and Coyotes players gathered on the ice in a 24-second-long moment of silence for Kobe Bryant and the other victims of Sunday's crash: Kobe's daughter Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, their daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; basketball coach Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.
On the ice, Adam Henrique got things going in a hurry with two first period goals to stake Anaheim to a 2-1 lead. The first came 5 1/2 minutes into the game, a deflection off a Troy Terry shot after Terry had stolen the puck to start an Anaheim rush. It was just Terry's second game back after missing more than a month with a leg injury.
Video: ARI@ANA: Henrique tips puck by Raanta
Henrique struck again with four minutes left in the frame, punching in a beautiful spinning backhand pass from linemate Ondrej Kase for his team-leading 17th of the season.
Video: ARI@ANA: Henrique scores off Kase's amazing pass
Hampus Lindholm made it a 3-0 game five minutes into the second period with a hammered slap shot from the point that found the corner.
Video: ARI@ANA: Lindholm blasts puck past Raanta
That came mere minutes after John Gibson kept the Ducks in front with an acrobat glove save on a Derek Stepan breakaway that may have been his best stop of the season.
Video: ARI@ANA: Gibson robs Stepan with marvelous stop
Arizona got one back when Lawson Crouse beat Carter Rowney to the puck and buried a backhand to make it 3-2 Anaheim late in the second.
Things got chippy near the end of the period, causing a louder-than-normal roar when Carter Rowney gave the Ducks a two-goal lead again on a shorthanded goal, punching one in off a rebound. On a night when they honored Kobe, the Ducks' own No. 24 scored on the team's 24th shot of the 24th home game of the season.
Video: ARI@ANA: Rowney buries SHG after turnover
It was a third win in four games for the Ducks, not insignicant for a team that has had trouble stringing wins together in a difficult season. But that was mostly forgotten on a poignant night at Honda Center that captured the best of Orange County uniting to honor those we lost.
Video: ARI@ANA: Ducks honor Kobe Bryant before game