Anaheim has long been a destination for travelers drawn by Angel Stadium and Disneyland. But you can't blame the Calgary Flames if they fail to see the city's charms.
Rather than being the Happiest Place on Earth, the Flames have found Anaheim and its hockey arena to be more like a haunted mansion. And Tuesday was no different, with Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey teaming for a pair of goals, and Kyle Palmieri adding another, lifting the Ducks to a 3-2 win that extended Calgary's losing streak at Honda Center to 19 games.
But at least Calgary made this one interesting, taking advantage of the Ducks' patented third-period fade to score twice in the final 11 minutes, turning a rout into a nailbiter.
"The snowball starts getter bigger and bigger and then you start learning how to win a little bit better," said Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau, whose team is on a streak of its own, having won three in a row while earning points in 11 of 12 games. "Every game we play is close. I was hoping we'd have a little bit of a breather in the last 10 minutes. But those things just don't happen.
"Hopefully it's a learning experience for us that down the road will pay off."
As for Calgary's skid in Anaheim, it's so long the building was still called the Pond when the Flames won their last game there in January 2004. And while a name change couldn't change Calgary's fortunes, it appeared momentum might give them a chance, because the Flames came in having won three straight and four of their last five.
Those hopes began to fade five minutes into the first period when Perry, driving toward the crease, drew a centering pass from Beleskey. But the puck never reached him, deflecting instead off the skate of defenseman Kris Russell and into the net for Beleskey's third goal in four games.
Perry doubled the lead five minutes into the second period, scoring for the first time since Nov. 2. And again it was Beleskey who made the play, wedging himself between two defenders in front of the net.
After Francois Beauchemin sent the puck his way, Beleskey, whose arms were pinned against his body, used his left skate to push it into the slot for Perry, who knocked it home.
The backbreaker for the Flames came during a line change in the waning seconds of the second period, when Palmieri, pushed against the end boards by Deryk Engelland, spun away and pushed the puck just inside the post while tumbling to the ice.
TJ Brodie pulled one of those goals back at 11:02 of the final period and the Flames thought they had another with three minutes left. But after consulting the replay the officials waved the goal off, ruling that Johnny Gaudreau had kicked the puck in.
That prove huge when Jiri Hudler redirected a Mark Giordano slap shot in with 26 seconds left for what would have been the tying goal. Instead it simply cut the Ducks' winning margin to one goal.
"It wasn't the prettiest at the end, but it's two points," Palmieri said. "That's all we can take out of it."