Make it 28-love and counting.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle likened holding home-ice advantage to holding serve in tennis. It’s been well documented that the Ducks have held it for more than a decade against the Calgary Flames, and it didn’t change in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Thursday.
Ryan Getzlaf delivered a captain-esque game with a goal and an assist and the Ducks got a huge penalty kill late to to squash any thoughts of history extinguishing. They have won 28 straight home games against Calgary, dating to the 2006 playoffs.
That was put in Calgary’s face with the “You can’t win here!” chants, and Getzlaf had the exclamation point with a hit on Flames captain Mark Giordano toward the end.
“We’re going to have earn everything. That’s a great hockey team over there,” Getzlaf. “We’re going to have to continue to get better in certain areas, but we found a way to win tonight.”
Silfverberg’s wrist shot from the left circle with 2 minutes 13 seconds to go in the second period was the game-winning goal and the Ducks’ second power-play goal of the game.
Rakell’s goal only tied it, 2-2, but it effectively swayed the game back toward the Ducks. Calgary made an ill-timed line change that allowed Kevin Bieksa to spring Getzlaf with a 150-foot pass to lead a partial three-on-none. Rakell put in Getzlaf’s rebound, and it was back on for the Ducks.
Calgary was up, 2-1, on a whip-around pass by Kris Versteeg that Sam Bennett flicked home midway through the second period, and for a brief window it looked like the streak could see its demise.
The building took on twice as much energy as a regular-season game, with a sea of orange towels waving on the Ducks, who hung 16 numbered banners to represent the 16 wins needed to win the Stanley Cup.
Calgary tamed some of that enthusiasm with a power-play goal in a special-teams heavy opening period that ended in a 1-1 tie. Sean Monahan redirected Versteeg’s shot after a keep-in by TJ Brodie.
The Ducks and their fans were buzzing from a power-play goal by Getzlaf 52 seconds into the game. His slap shot from the left side went in off Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland.
“We talk about home ice and battling for it. It’s only home ice if you use it,” Getzlaf said. “Other than that, we got one win tonight and we’re ready to move on to the next one.”
Said Bieksa: “I thought we looked comfortable from start to finish. There was a little period there in the second where they had some momentum in [our] end, but I thought we got through that pretty well, and we were in control.”
There was some question as to how Ducks goalie John Gibson would respond, back under the postseason lights. The 23-year-old got better as the game went on. He finished with 30 saves and helped kill off a two-man advantage by Calgary in the final minutes.
“I don't think it was my best [game] tonight, but I got better as the game went on,” Gibson said. “The guys helped me out in front.”
KEYS TO GAME 1
1. The Ducks won the special-teams game. They cashed in on two power plays, including the go-ahead score by Jakob Silfverberg. Calgary went one for two and committed seven minor penalties.
2. The captain set the tone. Ryan Getzlaf sparked the Ducks with the game’s first goal 52 seconds in and assisted on the game-tying score. He has 101 points in 105 playoff games.
3. John Gibson was good late. The Ducks goalie kicked out a lot of big rebounds in the first two periods but got sharper. He made a short-handed stop on Mikael Backlund with 11 minutes remaining and got the Ducks through two penalty kills late.