The Ducks sure know how to throw a home-opening party.
A red carpet, a comeback and a thrilling game-winner all went into the Ducks’ 2-1 victory over Minnesota on Friday in front of a standing-room-only, sellout crowd of 17,306 at the Honda Center.
The party started slow, but it ended in celebratory fashion for the Ducks and their fans, with winger Corey Perry scoring the game-winner. They’ve seen Perry making the clutch play all too often, and that never gets old. Perry scored his 51st career game-winner for the streaking Ducks at 11:35 in the third period.
Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen took it from there. Andersen, who is 4-0 in goal for the Ducks, made 27 of 28 saves.
The Ducks (4-1) won their fourth-consecutive game and started their home schedule with a win, which they made a habit of on the road as well. They lost their season opener at Pittsburgh, but they haven’t lost since.
The Ducks trailed 1-0 in the first period after a Jason Zucker goal but scored two third-period goals, one short-handed goal by Andrew Cogliano to tie it at 4:02. That went over well in the building.
"The short-handed goal livened up the bench and the crowd," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It propelled us for the rest of the game. Before that, we weren’t very good. We were getting dominated."
The Ducks sure looked like jetlag was very much in effect after the long road trip to start the season.
Andersen’s fine play in goal kept the Ducks in the game, and Cogliano’s tying goal was just what the Ducks needed.
"Freddie kept us in it," Cogliano said. "He played a great game and made some top-end saves that put us in a spot to win."
Cogliano did that as well. He has an unusual knack for scoring short-handed goals. This was his ninth career shorthanded goal and his sixth with the Ducks.
The Ducks’ have won in many ways, and a resilient victory proved to be another highlight on the resume of this young season.
"It’s huge. It shows at any time we can come back and keep the game going and turn in our favor at any time," Perry said. "It’s not the way we drew it up, but we’ll take it."
It wasn’t pretty. The Ducks didn’t generate much and were 0-for-4 on the power play. They have scored at least four or more goals in three of their five games. They didn’t find a rhythm until the third period.
And after Perry knocked home a rebound after a Minnesota turnover, he stood in part-celebration, part-relief.
"He stopped me early in third," Perry said of Niklas Backstrom. "It was nice to get one in."
And nice to start the home opener with a victory party.
"It’s not what we planned. It was nice to come out and battle back in third period," Perry said. "I thought in the last half we started showing a little bit of emotion. Kind of turned into our favor. We got some big saves early, and that helped us."