Ducks hope to continue hot start as Flames visit
The Anaheim Ducks' revival has taken place primarily at home, which is where the team will be for a Sunday night matchup against the Calgary Flames.
After a disappointing 2018-19 season that was marked by a coaching change, the Ducks are in the midst of one of their best starts in franchise history. Their 6-2-0 start is the best since the 2014-15 team opened 7-1-0. And their 4-0-0 record in their own building matches the best four-game start in franchise history.
It remains far too early to anoint the Ducks a Stanley Cup contender, but an aggressive style on offense, an ability to protect leads and a tendency to win puck battles has served the Ducks well.
"We know we have a strong team, and we know we can play this kind of hockey with a lot speed and a lot of puck management," said Jakob Silfverberg, who scored a goal in Friday's victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, the 500th career NHL game for the right wing.
"Obviously, it gives us confidence, but at the same time, we need to stay humble. We can't get too comfortable here. We're always looking to improve."
While the Flames have played well at home in the early going, games on the road have been a different story. The latest road defeat came Saturday night at Los Angeles, when the Kings scored 75 seconds into the game and rolled to a 4-1 victory.
The Flames are 3-0-1 at home, but are just 1-4-0 on the road and saw a two-game winning streak come to an end against a Kings team that won for just the third time in eight games. The Flames did manage to restore some order in the third period Saturday when they switched goalies from David Rittich to Cam Talbot, but it was far too late.
The back-to-back games in Southern California are the entire road trip, which leads into home games against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday and the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Calgary already has road defeats at Colorado, Vegas and San Jose, in addition to the one against the Kings, and will have to find the energy Sunday to give the Ducks a stern test in their own building.
The Flames are struggling to get a group effort, but a solid showing against a revived Ducks team will have them feeling optimistic heading back home.
"You look at the teams that finish at the top of the standings every single year, it's (because) of contributions throughout," new Flames left wing Milan Lucic said, according to nhl.com. "You look at the Stanley Cup winner at the end of the year, it's not just one guy or two or three lines carrying the load -- it's different guys stepping up at different times. You need that contribution throughout the lineup if you want to have success."
Lucic, who was traded to the Flames this summer after back-to-back disappointing seasons in Edmonton, played well while earning his first point with his new team Thursday with an assist in a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at home.
The Ducks and Flames split the head-to-head matchups last season, with each team winning their two home games. The Flames scored 11 goals, and the Ducks scored eight.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 20, 2019