CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — With four goals in back-to-back road wins, Daniel Winnik’s first two games in an Anaheim Ducks uniform have been sensational.
Winnik’s second goal Monday night 4:02 into the third period broke a tie as Anaheim went on to a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames, who have opened the season with consecutive home losses.
Signed as a free agent last summer, Winnik has found instant chemistry playing right wing on a line with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano.
“We were put together that first Sunday at camp,” Winnik said. “We’ve talked a lot and that helps, finding out each other’s tendencies on certain plays.”
The 27-year-old finds himself tied for the league lead with Chicago’s Marian Hossa for most goals in the very young NHL season — and just seven goals off his career high.
“He’ll pull away,” Winnik said of Hossa with a laugh.
The culprit on the go-ahead goal was Calgary center Alex Tanguay, who was 150 feet from where it was scored. His pass into the slot was picked off by Cogliano, who promptly turned and led a rush up ice that was eventually finished off by Winnik.
Ryan Getzlaf added his second goal of the night at 11:15 to make it 5-3, and, although the Flames got back to within one on Lee Stempniak’s breakaway goal three minutes later, Calgary was unable to get it back to even — as it did earlier in the night when the Flames battled back from an early 3-0 hole.
“It might have been exciting for the fans, but it certainly was an ugly game as far as coaches look at it,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “There was a tremendous amount of mistakes. You get a 3-0 lead, you’ve got to shut the door and not allow a team back in, but we did.”
Koivu had the other goal for Anaheim, which is off until the Ducks host Vancouver in their home opener Friday.
Curtis Glencross, with two goals, and Tanguay also scored for Calgary.
“That’s not the way that we wanted to start, that’s for sure,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
The Flames’ first-year coach empathizes with the fans, who after the long lockout were excited about a schedule that saw Calgary play five of its first six games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
“I’ve been in many great buildings and from the bench, to see all those red jerseys, that sea of red,” Hartley said. “There’s nothing more we wanted to do than give them a win and, obviously, we want wins for us, too, because we know 48 games will go quick and you can’t leave any points on the table. We’ve played hard enough to win both games, but we didn’t play well enough to win both games.”
Fans were still making their way to the seats when Anaheim opened the scoring at 1:06 on a nifty deflection by Getzlaf of Toni Lydman’s point shot.
Koivu flicked in Cogliano’s centering pass at 7:23 to make it 2-0, and three minutes later Winnik’s shot deflected off Wideman and behind Miikka Kiprusoff.
With the announced sellout crowd of 19,289 sitting silent in disbelief, the Flames got a big power-play goal from Glencross at 16:15 as he deflected in a point shot from newcomer Dennis Wideman.
Tanguay cut the deficit to 3-2 with 26 seconds left in the period and the Flames pulled even 1:13 into the second on another Glencross deflection on a power play, this time off a shot by Mike Cammalleri.
Calgary outshot the Ducks 14-3 in the second period and could have taken the lead if not for some sharp saves from Hiller, his best being a pad save off Stempniak on a breakaway that would have put Calgary in front.
“We’re getting a lot of chances and for us, it seems like scoring goals isn’t the issue right now. The major issue now is keeping pucks out,” Stempniak said. “We’ll shore things up.”
Hiller finished the game with 21 saves, while Kiprusoff stopped 19 shots.
NOTES: The appointment for Flames C Roman Cervenka (blood clots) to see a specialist in Phoenix about his condition was postponed until Tuesday. … Seven of Winnik’s 40 career goals have come against the Flames. His career high for goals in a season is 11. … Calgary made two lineup changes, inserting center Blair Jones and defenseman T.J. Brodie in place of left wing Steve Begin and defenseman Derek Smith. Jones played in his 100th NHL game. … Anaheim welcomed back defenseman Cam Fowler after he missed Saturday’s opener with the flu. … The Flames have eight more sets of back-to-back games. … Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne is tied with Phil Esposito for third all-time with 249 career power-play goals.