Bobby Ryan offered up one tangible reason why the Ducks always win at home.
Speaking of himself, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, Ryan said, “we know where we each other are and we play well off the puck. The most important thing is to realize we can’t all have it all the same time and we have to support each other better. We’ve done that here at home. The key is to take it on the road when the matchups are not always going to be what we want.”
There’s more too it than that, of course. But for all the Ducks’ problems to begin the new season, they’re suddenly 4-1-1 at Honda Center after dispatching the Pittsburgh Penguins thanks to three quick second-period goals.
Ryan’s line was transitioning on to the ice when Lubomir Visnovsky earned a difficult assist, holding a hot puck in at the blue line, then dishing to Ryan at the top of the high slot for a backhand goal at 7:35 of the second period.
The trio was cycling effectively to set up another goal at 12:22. Looking to wrap the puck inside the goal post from behind the Penguins’ net, Corey Perry drew in the defense before dishing to Getzlaf for an easy goal that gave the Ducks the 2-0 lead.
Visnovsky picked up his second assist at 14:26 when Saku Koivu collected a rebound of the defenseman’s shot and fired it past Marc-Andre Fleury. That was enough to withstand a pair of Sidney Crosby goals, and a third period in which the Ducks were outshot 12-4. Jonas Hiller (30 saves) made some key stops late to improve to 4-2-0 with a 1.99 goals-against average in his last six games.
Teemu Selanne hit a pair of career milestones. Playing his 1,200th career NHL game, he got the second assist on Visnovsky’s goal to gain sole possession of 33rd all-time in points (612-663=1,275), moving past Al MacInnis. The “Finnish Flash” became the 87th player all-time and the 10th European-born player to reach 1,200 games.
At 6-7-1, the Ducks can climb back to .500 by beating the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
“Hopefully it’s a stepping stone and we can get some confidence,” head coach Randy Carlyle said of Friday’s win. “We’ll feel a lot better about ourselves tomorrow morning again. That is what we’re trying to do, something to build on here. We want this building specifically to be a tough place to come into and play. We’ve accomplished that in these last two games.”