Anaheim's first game after the holiday break proved to be a gift for their exasperated fans. After grounding the Philadelphia Flyers during a pit stop at Honda Center, Corey Perry told reporters, "We have to come out and play at the top of our game every night. We have to play with that edge and emotion."
The postgame broken record still sounds the same from the players, but now with a strong effort to associate with it, maybe it can finally begin to resonate with them. Of course, with win streaks as an uncommon occurrence thus far in the season, it's very reasonable to be skeptical about that idea. However, with the Ducks enjoying a fair amount of success against their next opponent, the year's third string of victories could be on the horizon if the boys bring an effort resembling that from Sunday.
Ducks: Sunday, 12/27 vs. Philadelphia Flyers (W 4-2). "BEST & WORST: Ducks 4 vs PHI 2 - Holiday Double Up"
Ryan Getzlaf scored a goal! On a goalie! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! He said after the game that "That's the first time I really shot a puck like that," and boy howdy, he wasn't kidding.
The Captain's power play goal coupled with his assist on Corey Perry's second period tally allowed Getzy to become just the second Duck in franchise history to hit the 700-point mark (Teemu Selanne - 988). Perry, for his part, added a pair of goals to maintain his lead among his teammates with 13 goals and 23 points. John Gibson continued to justify his appointed role as the team's future in the crease with a 26-save effort. Although it's more of a team statistic, his 1.98 goals against average through 12 games is the second-best in the league behind only early Vezina hopeful Braden Holtby.
Anaheim will be without Cam Fowler, who suffered a sprained knee against the Flyers. Unfortunately, the timetable for his return is still up in the air at the moment. Filling the hole that Fowler left on the depth chart will be Shea Theodore, who was dropped off in Anaheim via bus as his San Diego Gulls were on their way home from Bakersfield on Sunday night. The 20-year-old will presumably be making his NHL debut tonight, much to the delight of eager Ducks fans who are looking forward to seeing how his solid play in the AHL will translate to the big time.
Calgary's been doing all right for themselves within the confines of the Saddledome lately. Their win over Edmonton on Sunday has improved their home win streak to 11 games, which is now a franchise best including the team's time in Atlanta. During this run, they have been averaging just under 4 goals a game at home. They haven't been able to put many of these games out of reach, however, as 7 of these 11 games have been decided by a single goal. Nevertheless, the Flames have been doing a great job out-gunning their opponents in Calgary, and squaring off against an Anaheim offense who's still trying to truly get dialed in is, on paper, a rather favorable matchup for the home team.
Calgary's offense as of late has been paced by Johnny Gaudreau. He was recently named the NHL's first star of the week after netting a hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets and adding two more against the Oilers. His goal total now sits at 17 on the year, 15 of which have been scored at the Saddledome. Gaudreau is tied with Vladimir Tarasenko with 39 points through 35 games, good for sixth best in the NHL. Needless to say, Anaheim will need to keep tabs on Johnny Hockey if they don't want to force their league-worst offense into a firefight.
Two hours before face off we'll have the game thread up, featuring the full Stat Pack, likely with expected lines, and of course your Numbers For Nerds.