On a night when Ryan Getzlaf returned from injury and Hampus Lindholm made his season debut, the Ducks' offense roared in a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night.
Their impacts were felt immediately. Getzlaf finished with a goal and two points and Lindholm earned the primary assist on the eventual game-winning goal to lift the Ducks to their second consecutive victory by a 6-2 score.
With the win, the Ducks improved to 18-8-8 all-time against the Flyers, including a 9-4-3 mark on the road. In addition, the Ducks have not lost to the Flyers in regulation since the 2007-08 season, going 12-0-3 in the process. Tonight's win gave Anaheim seven consecutive road victories in Philadelphia dating to Oct. 20, 2009, a franchise first.
Ondrej Kase scored twice, including his first career penalty shot, while Brandon Montour, Nick Ritchie and Rickard Rakell rounded out the scoring in a complete effort from top to bottom. John Gibson provided another strong start in goal, stopping 31 of 33 shots for his fourth win of the season (4-2-1).
"It's a starting point," said Getzlaf, on starting the road trip with a victory. "That was the first kind of complete game we've played. We spent a little bit too much time in the penalty box, but we did a good job killing those off."
Sean Couturier scored both goals for the Flyers, who came into tonight's game outscoring their opponents, 15-5, in the four games prior (all on home ice). Brian Elliott stopped 19 of 25 shots in the loss.
The Flyers opened the scoring when Couturier snuck behind the Ducks defense and chipped in his own mishandled puck at the 8:51 mark of the opening frame. Though the puck bounced over his blade when he tried to go forehand-to-backhand, he had enough time to settle it and chip it over Gibson's left shoulder. Couturier's goal was his fifth of the season, and fourth in his past five games.
An interesting exchange - and one we've seen before - occurred late in the first period when veteran defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Radko Gudas were sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Both players dropped their gloves in anticipation of a fight, but the officials stepped in before they could grapple. As soon as they exited the box, the two players squared off in what turned out to be a one-punch knockdown for Bieksa, who caught Gudas with a clean right to the jaw. Gudas went straight to the locker room, but would later return.
Anaheim tied the game with 1:38 remaining in the first period when the trio of Ritchie, Kase and Derek Grant pounced all over the Flyers down low. After Flyers forward Travis Konecny received a pass at the far dot, he blindly sent a backhanded pass ahead of him, which landed on Grant's blade. In one sweeping motion, Grant sent a pass to a streaking Kase, who used his blade to redirect the puck over Elliott for his second goal and fifth point in five games. It also marked Grant's third point in the past two games. (He had his first two career NHL goals in Friday's victory over the Montreal Canadiens).
Video: ANA@PHI: Kase tips home Grant's spinning feed
Montour displayed his tremendous skating ability early in the second period when he and rookie Kalle Kossila connected on a nifty exchange to put the Ducks up, 2-1. After Kossila received the puck in the neutral zone, Montour used a burst of speed to find a seam through center ice. Kossila caught Montour in full flight, and the elusive two-way defenseman used a few quick strides to separate himself from two Flyers. From there, Montour walked in on Elliott and beat the veteran netminder shortside. With the assist, Kossila recorded his first career NHL point in his second career NHL game. Furthermore, Francois Beauchemin reached the 200-career assist mark with the secondary helper on Montour's goal.
Video: ANA@PHI: Montour speeds in, rips a shot by Elliott
With Flyers captain Claude Giroux in the penalty box, the Ducks took advantage of the 5-on-4 man advantage when Ritchie used his big frame to jam home a rebound kicked out by Elliott at the 10:03 mark of the middle frame. The point shot came from Lindholm, who, with the assist, recorded his first point of the season, to make it 3-1.
Video: ANA@PHI: Ritchie backhands rebound home for PPG
Anaheim increased its lead to 4-1 when Rakell found time and space to bang home a cross-crease pass from Getzlaf at the 18:17 mark of the second period. The play started when Getzlaf took control of a loose puck behind the net by winning a battle with Flyers forward Jordan Weal. After skating back out to the bottom of the faceoff dot, Getzlaf fired a pass to Rakell, who managed to slip behind young defenseman Ivan Provorov to pot his third goal and fifth point of the season.
Video: ANA@PHI: Rakell finishes off Getzlaf's pretty pass
The Ducks' top line delivered with the club's fifth goal of the game, this time from Getzlaf, who snuck a shot through the five hole from a tough angle. Getzlaf's reaction - one of slight confusion - suggests his shot was actually an intended pass to Perry, who was also crashing the net. Nevertheless, the puck slipped through the wickets, giving Getzlaf his second point of the game (and fourth point in three games this season).
Video: ANA@PHI: Getzlaf goes five-hole for his first goal
Couturier scored his second goal of the night to make it 5-2 with 8:06 remaining in the third period. Couturier buried a nice pass from defenseman Travis Sanheim, who shuttled a pass through the crease for the connection.
Kase put the game out of reach when he scored his second goal of the game on his first career penalty shot with under five minutes to play to make it 6-2. Kase opted for a move that has worked in the past - a forehand-to-backhand move that Elliott bit on early. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Kase (21 years, 350 days) became the youngest player in Ducks franchise history to score a penalty shot goal.
Video: ANA@PHI: Kase scores second goal on penalty shot
Anaheim's four-game road trip continues on Thursday when they take on the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.