ANAHEIM - It didn't take too long for Daniel Sprong to make himself welcome in Anaheim.
The newly acquired winger scored his first goal as a Duck on just his second shift in helping Anaheim stay hot against the struggling Chicago Blackhawks at Honda Center. The Ducks' 4-2 victory was their fifth straight (the first four of which came on the road) and seventh of the last eight, as they dealt the Chicago its fifth straight defeat.
The speedy Sprong was acquired just two days ago from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Marcus Pettersson. "I felt good out there," Sprong said. "Rico [Adam Henrique] and [Nick] Ritchie really helped me along the way, shift by shift by talking a lot. All the guys really helped me out to make me feel comfortable. I just tried to play my game. I'm glad we won."
His first goal of the season was part of a quick two-goal barrage in the early part of the game, but the Ducks still needed an Ondrej Kase third period strike to take the lead and an empty netter by Jakob Silfverberg to seal it.
"We were playing with a lot of confidence," Silfverberg said. "That comes from building off earlier games knowing we're playing really good right now. That's a big boost for the whole team. We need to keep it going."
Kase gave Anaheim the lead four minutes into the third, and the Ducks held that lead with the help of some Chicago shots off the post. The Blackhawks sent goalie Corey Crawford to the bench for an extra attacker with under two minutes left in search of the tying goal. But Silfverberg made them pay with a steal at center ice that led to him skating the puck into the open net to put the game away.
Video: CHI@ANA: Silfverberg seals win with empty-net goal
Two goals in a 20-second window gave the Ducks a lead in the first period. Brandon Montour got on the board first with a shot from the point that sailed past a Rickard Rakell screen and beat Crawford.
Video: CHI@ANA: Montour whips shot past screened Crawford
Soon afterward, Sprong threw a shot on net from a bad angle at the bottom of the right wing circle that he somehow tucked under the crossbar to make it 2-0.
Video: CHI@ANA: Sprong scores in first game with Ducks
"I've scored many goals like that in juniors and in the American Hockey League," Sprong said. "I saw the hole and decided to let it go. It was a great play by Rico chipping it off the wall to give me that space."
But two Blackhawks goals in the second period tied it up, first from Erik Gustafsson, whose one-timer caught goalie John Gibson out of position. Then Alex DeBrincat punched in a bouncing puck with just 27.7 seconds left in the period to knot it up at 2-2.
Not long after the DeBrincat rang the post with a chance to take the lead, Kase cashed in at the other end with a wrist shot that landed top corner on the rush, which held up as the game-winner.
Video: CHI@ANA: Kase picks the corner on Crawford
Anaheim's four-game homestand rolls on Friday night vs. Carolina at Honda Center, and coach Randy Carlyle said his team right now is, "Just finding ways. We're feeling good about ourselves. We're not proclaiming we're anything more than a work in progress. We're a hockey club that has confidence [we] can go in and have success in any building. We're not intimidated by the buildings we go in. That's an important mindset."