ANAHEIM, Calif. – For the second time in five days, the Anaheim Ducks beat the Calgary Flames in a tight game and showed the Northwest Division leaders how quickly things can turn around in the NHL.
Scott Niedermayer scored his second goal of the game 55 seconds into overtime, Brendan Morrison got the tying goal early in the third period, and the Ducks rallied twice to beat the Flames 3-2 on Wednesday night.
“It was an intense hockey game right from the opening faceoff, and we had to battle back in a lot of situations,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. “You have to credit our players for having the grit and determination. They stuck with the game plan and found a way to get a win.”
The Ducks, playing for the first time since their 2-1 victory at Calgary on Saturday, won the season series 3-1 for the second straight time. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 21 shots in his third straight start.
“You know you’re going to be in a battle with that team because they play a hard brand of hockey,” Niedermayer said. “They’ve got some good players who compete hard. We needed to do the same thing, and we did the last couple of games against them. They’re all big points for us because of where we are right now. We need every point we can get.”
Curtis Glencross and Todd Bertuzzi scored for the Flames, who have lost nine straight in Anaheim – the longest active road losing streak by any team against a single opponent.
“They have a team that is great in this building,” said Kiprusoff, who made 37 saves, but couldn’t prevent the Flames’ fifth loss in six games and fourth straight on the road following a 12-3-0 stretch.
Niedermayer, who scored on a power play at 10:30 of the second period, took off on a breakaway with about 14 minutes left in regulation and teammate George Parros serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Flames captain Jarome Iginla made a sensational diving poke check from behind, preventing Niedermayer’s short-handed bid.
But the Anaheim captain ended the proceedings with a short backhander past Kiprusoff’s glove after getting a lead pass from Todd Marchant in tight quarters. The goal, which changed direction off the stick of defenceman Dion Phaneuf, came with the teams skating 3-on-3 following coincidental roughing penalties against Chris Kunitz and Calgary’s Cory Sarich at the end of regulation.
“That doesn’t happen too often,” Niedermayer said. “Obviously there was a lot of room to skate, so I tried to take advantage of it and got lucky. I was just trying to get it on net and it got deflected. Kiprusoff did play well, there’s no doubt about it. So it was good that we kept doing the things we needed to do – going to the net and trying to get traffic in front. Eventually it paid off.”
It was Niedermayer’s eighth goal this season and first winner. He has an NHL-record 11 overtime goals in the regular season – one more than Morrison, who is playing his first season with the Ducks.
Calgary’s Rene Bourque fed the puck toward the slot while getting checked hard against the boards, and Glencross snapped the puck over Giguere’s glove at 14:17 of the second period for his ninth goal and a 2-1 lead.
But Anaheim tied it for the second time with 17:55 left in the third on a 15-foot wrist shot by Morrison, who notched his ninth goal after Ryan Getzlaf shook off a check by Matthew Lombardi at the left boards and made a drop pass to Morrison.
“The bad penalties really took the momentum away from us,” Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. “The fact that you give them that much time on the power play makes a difference in the end.”
The Flames escaped the first period with a 1-0 lead despite getting outshot 12-4. Bertuzzi, who spent last season with the Ducks and had 14 goals for them, matched that total at 2:55 of the first period with a one-timer from 45 feet that beat Giguere to the stick side after Mark Giordano’s attempted wrist shot glanced sideways off Rob Niedermayer’s skate.
Scott Niedermayer tied it against the NHL’s third-best penalty-killing unit, banging home a rebound while Phaneuf was off for hooking Bobby Ryan. The Ducks have scored at least once on the power play in 15 of their last 19 games.
“We didn’t take it to them when we had the lead,” Keenan said. “That has been symptomatic of our club. If it wasn’t for Miikka Kiprusoff, who I thought was outstanding throughout the night, it probably wouldn’t have even gone into overtime.”
Notes: Selanne, who surpassed former Ducks linemate Steve Rucchin’s franchise record of 616 regular-season games Jan. 31, was presented with a framed pictorial collage by Rucchin during a pre-game ceremony. … Calgary C Craig Conroy played in his 900th NHL regular-season game. … The Flames are 1-13-1 with three ties in their last 18 visits to Anaheim. The only other win was on Jan. 19, 2004. … Anaheim C Samuel Pahlsson missed his fifth straight game because of a viral infection. … The Ducks’ longest home winning streak against one opponent is 10 games against Phoenix, a stretch that ended in March 2007.