Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell team up to help Ducks get past Flames
ANAHEIM — Rickard Rakell lowered his head and skated purposefully toward the front of the Calgary Flames’ net Wednesday at Honda Center. Moments earlier, the Ducks had surrendered what had been a two-goal lead, but he had no intention of pausing to reflect on what had happened.
Rakell couldn’t convert his highlight-reel caliber move, but teammate Ryan Getzlaf did, depositing the loose puck behind Flames goaltender Mike Smith for the tiebreaking goal in a 3-2 victory that was just the Ducks’ second in their last 10 games.
Mark Jankowski’s short-handed goal pulled the Flames into a short-lived 2-2 tie 6:06 into the third period. Getzlaf then put the Ducks back in front to stay 27 seconds later with a well-placed backhanded shot for a 3-2 lead as the power play came to an end.
The Ducks gave up the first goal of the game in seven consecutive games before Wednesday, which meant they chased the game in seven consecutive contests. The results were less than stellar, with the Ducks dropping six of the seven, including a 4-1 decision to the rival Kings on Tuesday night.
Instead of looking fatigued at the start Wednesday, the Ducks seemed energized.
The mere presence of the Flames at Honda Center should have given the Ducks a reason to feel good about themselves. Honda Center has been a temple of doom for Calgary over the years, with the Ducks holding a 37-9-6 all-time record against the Flames on home ice.
Jakob Silfverberg gave the Ducks their much-coveted lead when he blasted a shot from the right wing past Smith at 8:37 of the first period. It was the first time the Ducks had scored first since they scored the first two goals in a 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 21.
Adam Henrique then extended the Ducks’ lead to 2-0 when he pounced on a rebound and slammed the puck behind Smith at 11:53. Henrique failed to convert on two Grade A scoring chances during the Ducks’ loss Tuesday, but he buried this one in no uncertain terms.
The two-goal lead didn’t last the opening period, though. A questionable tripping call on Ben Street left the Ducks short-handed in the closing minutes of the period. TV replays clearly indicated Calgary’s TJ Brodie was headed for a fall on his own before Street skated near.
However, the Ducks only had themselves to blame for failing to win a faceoff on the ensuing draw. The Flames worked the puck to the right point and Elias Lindholm’s shot was deflected past Ducks goalie Ryan Miller by Matthew Tkachuk, cutting the Ducks lead to 2-1 at 17:10 of the first.
All things considered, it was a dramatic turnaround for the Ducks from Tuesday.
The Ducks didn’t pad their lead in the second period, but they kept the Flames scoreless in the period thanks to some strong work in goal from Miller. A little bit of luck didn’t hurt, either, as Johnny Gaudreau struck the right goal post with a shot from the right wing.
Calgary went into the game with 52 goals, tied with the Colorado Avalanche for the most of any team in the Western Conference. The Flames also had outscored the opposition 28-11 in the third periods of its games this season, so a 2-1 lead for the Ducks was hardly a secure advantage.
More to come on this story.
Author: Elliott Teaford