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Ducks continue upward trend

by Brian Hunter /
The Anaheim Ducks have come a long way since their 1-5 start. So have Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne.

Each member of the trio extended his points streak to seven games, with Getzlaf recording a goal and an assist, while Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 34 saves as the Ducks held off the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Sunday at the Honda Center.

Chris Pronger and Ryan Carter scored 45 seconds apart early in the second period for Anaheim, which improved to 6-0-1 in its last seven games since the rough season-opening stretch.

"We're not there yet, but we're creeping up," Pronger said, "and that's a testament to the guys in the room and how hard we've worked over the last 7-8 games to kind of turn things around here. It was getting grim there for a while, but it just shows the heart and character in the locker room."

After the Ducks built a 3-0 lead just 2:08 into the second, the Flames worked their way back into the game on scores by Curtis Glencross and Todd Bertuzzi. They got strong goaltending of their own from Miikka Kiprusoff, who also stopped 34 shots, but saw their six-game winning streak come to an end.

It was also the eighth straight regular-season win for the Ducks over the Flames dating back to the 2003-04 season.

"It's tough to see our streak end, but we've got to be sharper off the start," said captain Jarome Iginla, who had two assists. "I thought we made a game of it, but we wanted to win. We'll get back to it next game."

Getzlaf got the scoring started at 1:46 of the first, starting and finishing the play. He skated the puck into the Calgary zone and wristed a shot from the right boards that Kiprusoff stopped. Perry's close-range shot on the rebound bounced off the goalie and into the crease. Getzlaf, cutting across the slot, flicked the puck into the net for a 1-0 lead.

"It was nice to get a jump, especially when you come out on a Sunday game, this afternoon, it's not always easy to get up for," Getzlaf said. "It was nice for us to get that jump right away."

Getzlaf and Perry have each had five-point games for the Ducks in the past week. Chris Kunitz, who picked up the secondary assist on the goal, has also enjoyed a resurgence with eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) in his last eight games.

"Some of the guys got their confidence back, which is a key to play in this League," Giguere said. "Our power play seems to be much more comfortable together. We're moving the puck much better. And then we're pressuring the net. You know you can't score in this League anymore if you don't crash the net."

Selanne and Getzlaf set up Pronger for a blast from the slot that beat Kiprusoff 1:23 into the second, then Carter poked a shot between the goalie's pads to extend the cushion.

"I was just waiting, waiting, kind of waiting for him to make a move," Pronger said of his goal, which sailed in over Kiprusoff's outstretched leg. "I've seen a couple goals go there on him before, and that's kind of 18 inches off the ice, below the blocker, above the pad. I was just able to hit my spot."

The Ducks might have been cruising at that point, but things got more difficult. Glencross got the Flames on the board at 10:28 and then Anaheim lost a goal with 20 seconds left in the period when Perry was called for interference on Kiprusoff. He was also assessed a second minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Bertuzzi struck on the power play 1:40 into the third, his seventh of the season.

The Ducks went from carrying play with a three-goal cushion to hanging on and having to kill off a penalty to Francois Beauchemin with 6:33 remaining, providing for a few tense moments and plenty of work for their goalie.

"A little bit, but this is my job to do," said Giguere, who made 11 saves in the third. "I've got to give the team a chance to win and tonight I thought we played much better defensively -- even though they had a lot of shots, the rebounds weren't there, we did just a much better job tonight."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.

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