Forget the long-simmering dislike between the Ducks and Calgary Flames. The bad blood is already at full boil.
What was another win by the short-handed Ducks against Calgary was badly marred late Tuesday when Flames defenseman Mark Giordano knocked Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler out of the game with a dangerous-looking knee-on-knee hit in the third period of a 3-1 result at Honda Center.
Fowler drove to the net after a shot and Giordano slammed into him, and that left the Ducks’ top defender and ice-time leader prone behind the goal before he was helped to the trainer’s room. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle had no update on Fowler except for calling it a lower-body injury.
“He’s one of our best players, and who knows the severity of the injury?” Kevin Bieksa said. “But it looked like he was in a lot of pain, so we weren’t happy with it, so we responded the way we did.”
Bieksa said he didn’t get a good live view at the play but said, “It didn’t look clean. It didn’t sound clean.
“We’re a team that sticks up for each other. That’s always been one of our MOs. We’re a physical team. But you know what? We care about each other. We care about Cam. We don’t want to see a teammate on the ice, getting helped carried off, so we’re going to respond the way we did.”
From there, the game descended into animosity and retaliation, starting with Ducks defenseman Josh Manson’s fighting Giordano to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Manson actually credited Giordano for taking him on.
“One of our guys had to do something,” Manson said. “Hockey’s a fast game and things happen, but hats off to him. You got to respect the class he had signing [that] up for himself like that.”
Five Ducks players were in the penalty box at one point. Ducks defenseman Kor-binian Holzer tried to hip check Matthew Tkachuk into oblivion, and the Flames’ Deryk Engelland was the third man into a fight between Ryan Kesler and Michael Frolik.
Lost in the madness was the Ducks’ second straight win against the Flames without one-third of their defense. Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm missed a second straight game with upper-body injuries but are believed to be day to day.
Bieksa scored his first goal in 47 games, Patrick Eaves his eighth goal in his past nine games, and goalie John Gibson made 26 saves in his second game back from a March 10 injury.
The Ducks won their 25th consecutive regular-season home game against the Flames to extend the record for the longest such run against one opponent in NHL history, a streak that began 13 years ago to the day Tuesday. The Ducks extended their point streak to 12 games (9-0-3) and reached the 100-point mark for the fourth straight season.
Chris Wagner capped the scoring with a pretty finish of Logan Shaw’s feed for a 3-1 lead in the third. But all that fell deep into the minutiae category considering the potential loss of Fowler.
“It hurts our hockey club, for sure,” Manson said. “Obviously, he’s an exceptional player and he adds a lot to our team, but we’ll find a way to pull through, no matter what the case is. But hopefully, it’s [not serious].”