By Jen D’Amico
After 16 days on the road, the Ducks came home to 14,045 fans that welcomed them back from their eight-game road trip; rested and eager to take on the Coyotes, and former Duck Kyle Chipchura, on home ice. They entered the game as the league’s only remaining team undefeated at home.
“It ended up pretty good,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau, regarding the team’s road trip. “We were a little worried when you start the trip off 0-2 and you’ve got six more games. I think it says a lot about the character of the group. The Ottawa game was very tough, and we hung in and we just kept getting better and better after that. And then you start to believe you can win, and then they do.
It was also the return of favorite Teemu Selanne, the league’s oldest active player, who missed the previous 3 games due to a mouth injury. He skated back on the ice with four less teeth than he had prior to October 29th when he took a high stick to the kisser from Philadelphia defenseman Luke Schenn. He was expected to be out 2 weeks after having oral surgery that required 40 stitches, but returned much sooner than expected.
“I was lucky,” said Selanne on his recovery at Tuesday practice. “All of the four teeth I lost were fake ones. I already have all new ones. I was very lucky. My mouth guard really saved me in this case. I’m feeling good now. I’ve been skating a couple days, and today was the third day already. I’m anxious to get back.”
Rookie defenseman Hampus Lindholm scored his first NHL goal with a wrist shot that eluded Phoenix Goalie Mike Smith. Lindholm was the 6th pick of the 2012 draft, and pulled off his first with his Dad in the crowd. And as if your first NHL goal isn’t enough, he assisted on the game-winning goal late in the second.
“It’s nice to see anybody get their first goal, “said Coach Bruce Boudreau. “He was jumping up into the play which is what we’ve been trying to get the D to do, to get more offense from them. So, him doing that and getting that first goal is always pretty nice for a coach to see.”
Anaheim’s seven game streak of at least a point (6-0-1) is the longest current streak in the NHL and has landed them in the top spot in the Pacific Division, the Western Conference and the league with a 13-3-1 record. This win broke the Coyotes five-game winning streak and they are now 0-2 this season against the Ducks. They will face each other 3 more times this season.
The Ducks look ahead to their rematch against the Sabres tomorrow at 7:00 PM and hope to have another 7 game winning streak under their belts.