ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although nobody on either team can explain it, the Anaheim Ducks haven’t lost at home to the Calgary Flames in 11 years.
After the latest win in that bewildering streak, the Ducks are rolling into the NHL All-Star break on a run that is even more impressive than their weird mastery over the Flames.
Ben Lovejoy had a goal and an assist, Frederik Andersen made 30 saves, and the Ducks beat Calgary in Anaheim for the 20th consecutive time, 6-3 on Wednesday night.
Kyle Palmieri and Patrick Maroon scored in a three-goal first period for the NHL-leading Ducks, who have won five straight and 17 of 22 since Dec. 1. Ryan Getzlaf, Tim Jackman and Ryan Kesler also scored as Anaheim (31-10-6) opened a three-point lead on Nashville atop the overall standings entering the break.
“Tonight was a night we really wanted,” Lovejoy said. “We felt we had to rise to the occasion. We wanted a happy four days (off).”
For some reason, the Ducks have had nothing but happy days against the Flames in Anaheim lately: Calgary hasn’t won at Honda Center since Jan. 19, 2004, and has just one victory in Orange County in this century. The Flames were essentially finished early in the latest chapter, falling behind 4-0 and never catching up.
“It is nice being on the winning side after being on the losing side of that for a long time,” said Jackman, who spent parts of four seasons with Calgary before getting traded to Anaheim last season. “It’s a tough building to play in, and hopefully we can continue to have an edge here.”
Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne scored as the Flames’ four-game winning streak ended in the finale of a five-game Pacific Division trip.
Calgary rookie Joni Ortio yielded four goals on 11 shots before getting yanked midway through the second period. Ortio came up from the minors before this trip and promptly won four straight games before flopping in the finale, allowing Jonas Hiller to finish against his longtime Anaheim teammates.
“We had some bad mental mistakes early, some breakdowns, and they made us pay,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “That’s why they’re in first place. They make you pay when they get their chances. … We sort of waited for bad things to happen, and they happened. They got a couple of pucks to the net and some good bounces.”
Calgary’s losing streak in Anaheim is tied for the fourth-longest in a two-team series in NHL history. The Flames’ five-game, road-winning streak also ended, but Giordano doesn’t blame the Anaheim streak.
“I don’t think so, because there’s been so much turnover with players on our team,” Giordano said. “It’s just that they’re a great team. They had a great run last year at home where they didn’t lose for a long time, and this year again their record speaks for itself.”
After Palmieri put Anaheim ahead in the opening minutes off a sharp pass from Matt Beleskey, Maroon tipped home Lovejoy’s shot for his second goal in three games.
Two minutes later, Lovejoy’s long shot appeared to deflect off Kris Russell on the way past Ortio for the low-scoring defenseman’s first goal of the season.
“It was great execution by them, and they were good enough to get their sticks on those pucks going to the net,” Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. “There’s not much more we could have done.”
Shortly after Jackman’s goal chased Ortio midway through the second period, Backlund scored on a loose puck in the slot.
Getzlaf and fellow All-Star Giordano had to be separated after Getzlaf tripped over Giordano’s outstretched leg in the second period, falling on his head. Getzlaf scored his 15th goal in the slot moments later.
Kesler added an empty-netter in the final minute.
NOTES: Anaheim D Clayton Stoner was a late scratch with a lower-body injury. Colby Robak played for the first time since Dec. 19, earning his first point in a Ducks uniform on Getzlaf’s goal. … Maroon and Lovejoy scored against the Flames for the first time in their respective careers. … Lovejoy hadn’t recorded two points in one period since Jan. 3, 2014, when he scored two goals in three minutes against Edmonton.
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