Everybody needs a dose of the Calgary Flames once in a while.
Feeling down? Spinning your wheels? Working hard, but getting nowhere fast?
The struggling Mighty Ducks welcomed the winless Flames to The Pond on Sunday, whipped them soundly and managed to boost the confidence of two players in particular.
Patrik Carnback, freed from the press box for the second consecutive game, scored one goal and set up another.
"I'm just happy I'm playing," Carnback said. "I've been in the doghouse a long time now."
Shaun Van Allen, goal-less in 10 games before Sunday, scored twice.
"It feels great," Van Allen said. "You don't want to go a long while into the season without getting one. You start squeezing the stick too tight."
Carnback and Van Allen played with Paul Kariya for much of Sunday's 7-2 rout of Calgary and it paid off right from the start.
Van Allen took a pass from Kariya, wound up and scored on a shot that went between the legs of Calgary defenseman Trent Yawney and goaltender Trevor Kidd, 1:27 into the game.
Kariya scored at 8:32. Peter Douris scored less than a minute later. Kariya added another at 13:51. Douris again at 14:45. And the rout was on.
Five goals in one period marked a Duck record.
In the final minutes of the second period, Carnback scored on a breakaway and Van Allen added a goal from point-blank range.
Seven goals in a game tied a team record.
"I think it's great for Shaun Van Allen," Coach Ron Wilson said. "It helps those guys [Van Allen and Carnback] feel good about themselves."
There are others--notably Bob Corkum and Joe Sacco--Wilson would like to see snap out of their scoring slumps soon, but Sunday he settled for Carnback and Van Allen.
Carnback has been hot and cold during his tenure as a Duck, and that inconsistency helped land him a seat on the sidelines for all but three games before Sunday.
Now, he's playing with the greatest motivation of all--fear.
"If we win, I don't think he'll change the lineup," Carnback said of Wilson. "[But] I know if I have a bad game, I'm out again. If I keep producing, they've got to play me. I know one bad game and I'm out again."
Carnback also scored in the Ducks' 4-2 loss to St. Louis Friday, so he's keeping up his end of the bargain.
"Nobody wants to be in the press box," he said. "It's been tough, very tough."
Van Allen has played well enough this season. He simply hadn't scored a goal. Joining Kariya and Carnback seemed to help remedy the situation, however.
Kariya's lead pass set up Van Allen's first goal and Carnback stick-handled through the flimsy Calgary defense, spotted Van Allen at the right post and slipped him the puck for Goal No. 2.
"We haven't been playing well the first little while," Van Allen said of the Ducks' 2-8 start. "But all the lines clicked tonight."
Moments before Van Allen's second goal, Carnback popped out of the penalty box ahead of the defense and in time to receive a pass from Douris. Carnback went one-on-one with Rick Tabaracci, who replaced Kidd midway through the first period, deked once and slid the puck neatly into the net.
"It's not often that I shoot the puck on a breakaway," Carnback said of his move. "I almost always make that kind of a move. I know what I'm going to do beforehand."