ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ben Lovejoy realized his newborn daughter would be watching him on television for the first time, and the Anaheim Ducks defenceman promptly had the first multigoal game of his career.
Yep, the Ducks have spectacular timing in just about everything they do these days.
Lovejoy scored two goals in the first period, Jonas Hiller made 16 saves in his 10th consecutive victory and the Ducks beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Friday night for their 12th win in 13 games.
Lovejoy had scored just five goals in his 170-game NHL career, and he had just one goal in 40 games this season before firing two slap shots past Ilya Bryzgalov 2:43 apart late in the first period. With perfect setups from Saku Koivu and Cam Fowler, Lovejoy tied the club record for the most goals scored by a defenceman in one period.
“It has to be perfectly in my wheelhouse, and those guys were able to find it,” Lovejoy said. “It’s a very small sweet spot.”
After scoring the fastest two goals by a defenceman in franchise history, Lovejoy thought about the serendipity: His wife, Avery, and their new daughter, Lila, were at home watching for the first time since Lila was born on New Year’s Eve.
“We may have to keep pumping them out if I can keep scoring two goals a night,” Lovejoy said with a grin.
Kyle Palmieri, Tim Jackman and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Ducks, who improved to 16-0-2 at home this season and remained one point behind Chicago for the overall NHL lead.
After giving up two early goals on broken plays, Hiller extended his franchise-record winning streak as the Ducks followed up their 11-1-1 December with their sixth consecutive win over the Oilers, who haven’t beaten Anaheim since April 2012.
Even with little offensive help from superstars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who have combined for just one goal in the last five games, the Ducks keep steamrolling along.
“They weren’t going as good as they normally do, and when they’re not going, you need people to pick up the slack,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “You get help from everywhere. That’s why I think we’re a pretty good team.”
The Ducks have the NHL’s second-longest points streak at home to open a season in the last quarter-century, trailing only San Jose’s 20-0-2 start five years ago.
Anaheim also won despite another awful effort by its power play, which went 0 for 8. The Ducks have just one man-advantage goal in the last 10 games, yet still rank third in the NHL in total goals.
Boyd Gordon and Nail Yakupov scored in Edmonton’s fourth straight loss. Bryzgalov stopped 32 shots for the Oilers, who have lost 10 of 12 and are stuck at the bottom of the Western Conference.
“We have been hanging around in games, but we always seem to find a way to blow a lead,” Gordon said. “We can’t sit around and hang our heads. We have to find a way to get the job done.”
The Oilers took the lead on their opening shift when Gordon flung a shot at the Ducks’ goal while getting checked facedown into the ice, and the puck deflected off Hiller’s stick 35 seconds in. Just 11 seconds later, Palmieri jumped on a turnover in the Edmonton crease and beat Bryzgalov.
Edmonton capitalized on a mistake by Getzlaf, the Ducks captain, later in the period, with Yakupov getting goals in consecutive games for the first time all season. Lovejoy answered with his two goals, and Anaheim never trailed again.
“Their second and third goals were almost identical,” Edmonton coach Dallas Eakins said. “Same guy, same place. … I thought we had pretty good coverage. We had five guys below the puck, but we were just a split-second late getting there.”
Jackman put the Ducks up 4-2 late in the second period, converting a pass from Nick Bonino in front. The workmanlike forward hadn’t scored since joining Anaheim from Calgary in late November.
Edmonton managed just eight shots in the final two periods.
NOTES: Edmonton D Brad Hunt made his NHL debut, but the Oilers played without high-scoring RW Jordan Eberle, who apparently injured his knee a night earlier in San Jose. Mark Arcobello and Ryan Jones also returned from lengthy injury absences. … D Bryan Allen and F Daniel Winnik were healthy scratches for Anaheim, with Winnik missing his first game of the season.