Rookies Sam Steel and Max Jones scored first-period goals and the Anaheim Ducks continued their strong finish to a lost season with a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf also scored and Ryan Miller made 25 saves in his first victory since March 5 for the Ducks, who responded to a 6-1 loss to first-place Calgary last week with their 10th win in 16 games overall. Anaheim’s streak of six straight playoff appearances will end next week thanks to its disastrous 5-21-4 midseason slump.
Derek Ryan scored and David Rittich stopped 29 shots for the Pacific Division champion Flames, who will start the postseason next week as the top seed in the Western Conference. With nothing to gain from a win, the Flames rested several healthy regulars, including 82-point scorer Sean Monahan and 78-point scorer Elias Lindholm.
Johnny Gaudreau got his 98th point with an assist on Ryan’s first-period goal, extending his scoring streak to five games and getting close to his first 100-point season.
The Flames’ three-game winning streak ended, and they lost at Honda Center for the 32nd time in their last 33 games in Orange County. Calgary had lost 29 straight games in Anaheim since 2006 before a win early last season.
The Flames have won their division for the first time since 2006, but they’ve won just one playoff series since 2004. The Ducks’ run of five straight Pacific titles ended last season, and they’re missing the playoffs this spring for only the third time since 2004.
The Ducks jumped ahead 2-0 just seven minutes in with goals from two of their several promising rookies. Steel scored for the first time since his hat trick March 26 in Vancouver, while Jones got his second NHL goal to end an 11-game scoring drought.
Getzlaf, who missed the Ducks’ previous four games with an injury, pushed the lead to 3-1 in the second period with a masterful hesitation shot.
NOTES: Ducks F Carter Rowney had two assists in his first multi-point game since Jan. 13. … Lindholm missed his first game of the season, while Monahan sat out for only the third time. Calgary D Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin sat out their second straight games. C Sam Bennett sat for the eighth time in 10 games. He took a big hit Monday night in Los Angeles, but isn’t thought to be seriously injured. … Anaheim D Josh Manson missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. C Ryan Kesler remained out since March 6 with a career-threatening hip problem.
Flames: Host Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Ducks: Host Los Angeles Kings on Friday night.