ANAHEIM - Derek Grant had gone 91 games in his NHL career without scoring a goal, a drought he finally ended tonight - with two in the same game.
It was that kind of night at Honda Center, one in which the Ducks got out to a three-goal lead in the first, almost lost it in a brutal second, then scored three unanswered in quick succession in the third on the way to a 6-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Grant, the 27-year-old center who made the Ducks his fifth NHL team when he signed a one-year deal last July, got his long-awaited first goal in a three-goal first period and added another in the third as Anaheim scored three times in rapid succession.
Having almost surrendered an early three-goal cushion with a tumultuous second period, the Ducks scored that trio of goals in a whirlwind span of 1:37 to go up four.
It all started when Anaheim made it 4-2 with 14 minutes left in the third period on what amounted to a double one-timer. Kevin Bieksa's attempt at a one-timer broke his stick in half, sending the puck squirting to fellow defenseman Brandon Montour, who hammered a slapshot home from the left wing circle.
Video: MTL@ANA: Montour buries a sharp-angle slap shot
A little more than a minute later, Anaheim went back in front by three after Ondrej Kase made a beautiful blind drop pass to Grant, who dumped it into the wide open net.
Video: MTL@ANA: Grant taps home his second goal of the game
"Kaser made a great play on the second one to get me an easy one," Grant said. "All the credit to him."
Just 23 seconds after that, Corey Perry swung toward the back the of the net before marking a pretty feed across the crease to Chris Wagner, whose shot deflected off a Canadiens defenseman and darted over the stripe.
Video: MTL@ANA: Wagner buries a one-timer from Perry
The Ducks were once again without the services of ailing forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Eaves to go along with injured defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen and goalie Ryan Miller, who have yet to play this season but are eyeing impending returns.
To make matters worse, defenseman Cam Fowler fell awkwardly near the boards early in the first period and appeared to twist his knee, getting helped off the ice and into the locker room. He wouldn't return, and his status is yet to be determined as he will undergo further assessments Saturday. "Hopefully, it isn't too long," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle.
Anaheim took the game's first lead just 1:46 into it, as Jaycob Megna's point shot was tipped out of mid-air by Dennis Rasmussen, his first goal as a Duck after signing with the team last summer.
Video: MTL@ANA: Rasmussen deflects Megna's shot past Price
The Ducks made it a two-goal lead just as quickly when Grant punched in a rebound on the power play for his milestone goal. Grant appeared to get that first goal two games ago vs. the Islanders, but a replay review determined he was offside just prior to the play.
Video: MTL@ANA: Grant punches rebound in for first NHL goal
"It was a good feeling," Grant said. "It's nice for the team to get one on the power play, as well. Hopefully we can get that one going a little more."
Antoine Vermette made it a 3-0 game with just over six minutes left in the opening frame, one-timing a Chris Wagner feed that somehow got under Habs goalie Carey Price.
Video: MTL@ANA: Vermette rips one-timer home from the circle
"We're going to try and take the positives out of it because that was the best start we've had this year," Carlyle said.
As good as Anaheim looked in the opening period, they were just as frustrated in the second, getting outshot 30-10 and outscored 2-0.
Paul Byron got the Habs within two goals 2:47 into the second frame, and with 2:36 remaining in the period, Brendan Gallagher got them within one by batting a floating puck under goalie John Gibson's arm.
Gibson did all he could to stop 28 of Montreal's shots, a Ducks club record for saves in one period (previously 24 by Jonas Hiller and Frederik Andersen). He ended up with 49 saves for the game, two short of the franchise record of 51 he tied last January 1 vs. Philadelphia.
"We found a way to win," Gibson said. "It was a big win for us. They needed a win, too, so it was a desperate hockey game. Just a lot of different pushes. It wasn't the prettiest, but a win is a win."
After the flurry of goals gave the Ducks a four-goal lead, they were forced to play with four defensemen the rest of the way thanks to a donnybrook that broke out near the midway point of the third. Bieksa threw punches unimpeded at a misbehaving Andrew Shaw, receiving a four-minute double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct (Shaw also got a 10-minute misconduct).
It didn't hurt the Ducks, who held the Canadiens without a goal the rest of the way in improving to 3-3-1. Montreal went winless on its California road trip and fell to 1-6-1.
"We're going to have to start more games like that," Carlyle said. "I'm not suspecting we're scoring three goals in the first period every time, but we have to show that energy, that spark and that grittiness to go out and compete. Tonight was hopefully a sign of things to come."
After playing six of the season's first seven games at Honda Center, the Ducks embark on a four-game road trip to finish the month of October, starting Tuesday night in Philadelphia.