Ducks handle Flames for 5th straight win
Ryan Kesler tallies 2 goals, assist for Anaheim
When the Anaheim Ducks returned from their longest road trip of the season, they never even broke stride in their skate toward the top of the standings.
Ryan Kesler had two goals and an assist, John Gibson made 22 saves and the Ducks maintained their remarkable roll with their fifth consecutive victory, 5-2 over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to eight games with a third-period goal for the Ducks, who have won 12 of 14 to improve to 19-4-2 since Christmas.
In their first game back from a 5-1-1 road trip, Anaheim took charge early and put it away late with three consecutive goals in the third period.
"There's always usually a funk in the first game when you come back from a long road trip, but it didn't seem that way for us," said Kesler, who had his first three-point game of the season.
"We knew they were going to have a push in the third, and we shut the door."
Patrick Maroon and Kevin Bieksa also had power-play goals as Anaheim beat the Flames at home for the 22nd consecutive time. The Ducks also trimmed Los Angeles' lead to two points atop the Pacific Division, adding another comfortable win to their post-holiday surge.
"We're playing good hockey and we're on a roll right now," Bieksa said. "We don't want to see it slide. We want to play the right way. When we play teams like Calgary, where there's a little bit of a rivalry, it doesn't take much to get up for it. This team thrives in situations like that."
Anaheim even scored five goals for the fourth consecutive game, continuing the offence's sharp turnaround after being the league's lowest-scoring team for most of the season.
"It's been fun," Kesler said. "Every night, we go into the game thinking — not thinking, but knowing — we're going to win, and going out there with that attitude."
Captain Mark Giordano scored his career-best 15th goal and Jonas Hiller stopped 28 shots for the Flames, who have lost four of five — including a 6-4 loss to the Ducks in Calgary six days ago.
Hiller, the longtime Anaheim goalie, yielded nine of the 11 goals in those two games.
Flames have struggled in Anaheim
Mikael Backlund added a last-minute goal for Calgary, which hasn't won a regular-season game at Honda Center since Jan. 19, 2004.
"It's no secret that we've had a good lack of success in this building," Calgary forward Brandon Bollig said. "We had a good attitude about this game and came out with that mindset (to end the streak) and we had a good first period.
"We got in on the forecheck and created some turnovers, but we weren't able to take advantage a couple of them and put it in the net and change the game. And once they got a few, we weren't able to answer."
Kesler ended a 10-game goal drought with a wrist shot early in the second, and the Ducks seized control in the third. Getzlaf scored his 19th point in 13 games on a pass from David Perron just 16 seconds in, and Kesler made it 4-1 shortly afterward when he ripped the puck away from Deryk Engelland for an unassisted goal.
"They're one of the best teams in the league right now, there's no doubt about it," Giordano said of the Ducks. "They obviously had a tough start, but we all know what kind of depth they have on their team, and confidence is going a long way for them now.
"Tonight I thought we were right there with them, but in the third period, we gave them goals that we usually don't give up, and that was the end of it."