Despite scoring the game's opening goal, the Ducks faced an uphill climb the rest of the way. Their passes weren't as sharp as usual, and the execution just wasn't there in a 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.
The Ducks entered the game with points in three straight (2-0-1) and an 8-4-1 record in their last 13 games, but couldn't keep the Western Conference-leading Flames down for long. Calgary scored six unanswered goals from Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan (two), James Neal, Derek Ryan and Garnet Hathaway to snap a two-game losing streak and improve its record to 48-23-7 (103 points), including a staggering 26-9-5 mark at home. Monahan led all players with four points (2g/2a) in the game, and pushed his goal total this season to a career-best 33.
A former playoff foe of the Ducks, the Flames inched closer to clinching home ice advantage through the first two rounds of the postseason with a strong performance in goal from 37-year-old Mike Smith, who stopped 21-of-22 shots for his 22nd victory of the season. At the other end, Ryan Miller turned aside 31-of-37, but saw his record this season fall to 7-7-2.
Despite the loss, it was a milestone night for Ducks defenseman Andy Welinski, who scored his first career NHL goal at the 10:09 mark of the first period. The 25-year-old Duluth, Minnesota got every bit of a puck that came way his way, unloading a booming slap shot from the left dot that blew past Smith. A proven scorer at the American Hockey League level with 82 points (24g/57a) in 143 career games with the San Diego Gulls, Welinski leads Gulls defensemen in goals (8) this season.
Video: ANA@CGY: Welinski opens scoring with first NHL goal
His d-partner, Cam Fowler, tonight passed Steve Rucchin (616) for sole possession of fourth on the all-time franchise games played list. The 27-year-old blueliner has 270 points (58g/212a) in 616 games with the Ducks after they selected him with the 12th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft.
Injury Note: Troy Terry suffered a lower-body injury late in the second period when he blocked a shot near the Ducks bench. Terry didn't return to the game.
The Ducks and Flames will meet again next Wednesday at Honda Center to close out the four-game season series. Tomorrow, Anaheim will close out its back-to-back in Edmonton for the final road game of the 2018-19 campaign.