The Ducks turned in one of their most complete performances of the season to top the Pacific Division rival Calgary Flames 2-1 on Friday. Rickard Rakell extended his goal-scoring streak to four games, and Ryan Getzlaf continued to pile up assists.
Here's what we learned:
Ryan Kesler showed what the Ducks were missing
The No. 2 center started the contest with a fight against fellow agitator Matthew Tkachuk, and sent the 20-year-old's mouthpiece flying with a huge right hand. Kesler was all over the ice, shadowing the dangerous Sean Monahan and sacrificing his body to block shots in a physical game. Kesler also won 50% of his faceoffs, and after missing 37 contests following hip surgery, he's slowly finding his game.
The power play is a force with the team nearly at full strength
Cam Fowler, Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell created a bevy of chances on the man advantage, and the Ducks generated 11 shots on goal in eight-plus minutes of power play time. Rakell's wrister on a power-play dish from Getzlaf was the game-winning goal, and suddenly the once dormant unit is alive.
Rakell, who led the Ducks with 33 goals a season ago, once again is the top goal scorer with 12, and he's hot.
"I’m just trying to stay calm during the games," he said. "Trying to find different areas to find space to put the puck in the net. Just trying to stick with it
The Ducks' blue-liners kept one of the league's best lines in check
Sure, the Flames' first unit featuring Johnny Gaudreau (41 points), Sean Monahan (32 points) and Michael Ferland (20 points) jumped on the scoresheet after Ferland scored a rebound goal, but other than that, the Ducks shut them down. They limited the Flames to just 23 shots, and the mobile back end was a big reason why.
"Those guys, specifically, you have to be aware when they're on the ice," Fowler said. "Gaudreau is obviously extremely slippery. Monaghan's one of the best in the league around the net. But I thought our guys, collectively, did a good job against them and kind of held them at bay."