Ducks don't hold back in 5-2 victory over Flames

Ryan Kesler made it clear early on that nothing was going to rattle him and the Ducks.

First, he made a mock crying gesture to Calgary's Brandon Bollig when both were in the penalty box after a testy exchange after a whistle. Then, after his first goal of the game, Kesler spun around and held up his arms.

He later stripped the puck from Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland in front of the Calgary net and scored in the Ducks' 5-2 victory Sunday at Honda Center.

Kesler's two goals and assist marked his first multipoint game this season, and it helped the Ducks improve to 19-4-2 since Christmas and 12-1-1 in their last 14 games. The Ducks have won five games in a row.

"It's been fun," Kesler said. "Every night we go into the game not thinking, but knowing we're going to win and going out with that attitude. I thought we won a lot of different ways on the road trip, and we continued here."

The Ducks beat the Flames at home for the 22nd consecutive time to take sole possession of the second-longest such run in NHL history.

Kesler and linemates Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano held Calgary's top line without a goal.

"He's been a beast," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Kesler. "Just because he doesn't score, some people don't think he's playing as good as he has in the past. I think he's been phenomenal, checking the other team's top line all the time, whether home or on the road, and he's done a great job with it."

Kesler's theatrics to Bollig stemmed from a Feb. 22 game at Calgary in which Bollig tried to fight Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, who reportedly declined because of an injured hand.

"I just know he cried to the media about Manse not fighting him, so I was kind of giving it to him about that," Kesler said. "I think they were trying to target me tonight, and obviously it didn't work."

The Ducks have been aggressive against the Flames since their playoff series last season, apparently prompting Calgary to take a hard approach that included Sam Bennett making a knee-on-knee hit on Corey Perry in the first period.

Boudreau said they can adapt to such a style and still win.

"We're a big physical team, if people want to play that way against us, but at the same time, what we talked about in between periods was playing between the whistles," Boudreau said. "We felt the only way we weren't going to have success tonight was if we let ourselves get out of control."

Any fears of a letdown in the first game after a seven-game trip were extinguished as the Ducks got goals from Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf in the first five minutes of the third period.

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa made it 5-1 with a power-play goal off Hampus Lindholm's pass.

"It was probably the third pass I've got from Hampus all season, so I know I had to make it count," Bieksa said, jokingly.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on February 22, 2016, in the Sports section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Ducks, and especially Kesler, don't hold back - He has two goals and an assist, along with the time to mock the Flames' Bollig. - DUCKS 5 CALGARY 2" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe