CALGARY — The Anaheim Ducks‘ machine is perfectly tuned right now.
“We’re having fun,” said Perry. “Everybody knows their role, everybody’s playing their role and everyone’s doing the right things. It’s working out right now.”
Thanks to a 9-1-1 record in their last 11, Anaheim has passed San Jose and climbed into second place in the Pacific Division.
The Ducks went right back to the man advantage and needed only 11 seconds to take the lead for good with the puck going in off the skate of Sami Vatanen.
“All of us, we’ve got to get down, we’ve got to block some shots and not let them get to our net,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “There’s way too many pucks around our crease. You’re going to get burnt if you keep allowing that.”
Jiri Hudler had two goals and an assist to lead Calgary (25-27-3). Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and two assists and Sean Monahan had three assists as the Flames’ top line combined for nine points. Dougie Hamilton also scored.
“They made it tough. They’re a big team so they keep you on the outside and they push you back but I felt that scoring four goals at home should be plenty enough to leave the building with two points,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley.
Hiller was pulled after Vatanen’s goal, leaving with 13 saves on 17 shots. Joni Ortio, in his first NHL action since October, didn’t fare much better. He was beaten on the second shot he faced, as Rakell’s goal at 12:18 of the second period put Anaheim ahead 5-3.
Ortio finished with nine saves.
Calgary got back to within one on Hudler’s goal with seven seconds left in the second but the Ducks regained their two-goal cushion 51 seconds into the third on Santorelli’s second of the game.
“It’s always nice when you have a couple goal lead on a team. It takes off a little bit of the pressure off,” Santorelli said.
From that point forward with momentum gone for the Flames, the Ducks didn’t give Calgary very many chances.
“I said in between periods, the only way I think we can lose is if we get into a track meet with these guys and you go chance for chance or take dumb penalties,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “In the first period we took four and the last period we took none. It’s a big difference between winning and losing, doing the right little things.”
The Flames’ short-handed struggles continued. Calgary has surrendered three power-play goals in three consecutive games and the Flames are now last in the NHL at 73.4 per cent. At home, they’ve yielded 20 goals on 68 opportunities.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Flames centre Mikael Backlund. “We were doing so much better after Christmas and we were trying to build on it. It’s tough to have so many penalties the last two games and today and not be able to kill them.”
Andersen finished with 33 saves to improve to 13-8-6.
NOTES: Calgary scratched were Kris Russell (lower body), David Jones (lower body) and Matt Stajan (maintenance)… Anton Khudobin dressed as the Ducks back-up with John Gibson (upper body) unable to play… Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, who was placed on IR after hurting his leg on Thursday, will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. He was spotted entering the arena on Monday with a walking cane.