ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Early in his first season with Calgary, Mike Smith is already helping the Flames purge some unwanted history.
Smith made 43 saves and the Flames ended a 25-game skid at Honda Center with a 2-0 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Calgary hadn’t won at Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004. It ended that streak behind a gem from Smith, acquired in a trade with Arizona in the offseason.
“When you play a team that long and you’re not on the winning part of it, I think it gets old pretty fast,” Smith said. “I’ve been on teams when it’s happened to me. I wanted to help this team get over that hump.”
What the first period lacked in scoring, it made up for in animosity.
Ducks forward Corey Perry cross-checked Flames captain Mark Giordano, and hovered over Giordano as he was down on the ice. Travis Hamonic took exception and immediately engaged Perry in a fight.
“He’s one of the better players in the league,” Hamonic said. “If you can get him off (the ice) and sitting on the bench for seven minutes, I’m doing my job.”
The game was scoreless until late in the second period, when Kevin Bieksa’s cross-checking minor gave the Flames their fourth power play. Calgary had been unsuccessful with the man-advantage until Johnny Gaudreau fired a cross-ice pass from above the far-side circle to Kris Versteeg in front of the crease. Versteeg’s initial shot was blocked by Cam Fowler, but the puck rebounded to Sean Monahan, who beat a lunging John Gibson.
Monahan picked up his first goal of the season, and Gaudreau earned his fifth point in three games.
The Ducks continued to carry the play in the third. Midway through the period, Ryan Getzlaf lost a battle along the boards. The puck got through to Michael Frolik, who bolted it up the ice. Frolik sent a pass through the legs of Brandon Montour to an on-rushing Mikael Backlund. Gibson appeared stunned as Backlund roofed the 2-0 goal.
“We weren’t crisp,” Perry said. “Our game is moving the puck, skating, getting in on the forecheck and banging bodies. We haven’t really consistently done that yet. It’s a work in progress.”
Anaheim outshot Calgary 34 to 19 in the second and third periods, and it was Smith who was the difference. The shutout is the 34 of Smith’s career and first with Calgary.
“He’s been unbelievable for us so far, huge for us,” Frolik said.
“We’ve got to clean up and not give up too many shots, but it’s nice to know we have a really solid goaltender back there who will stop a lot of pucks.”
Coach Glen Gulutzan added: “He gives us confidence with just his puck play and the saves he is making. Our team has a real sense of security there.”
As for ending that 25-game losing streak, Gulutzan was quick to downplay the significance.
“I think it’s probably more relieving for Flames fans than ourselves,” Gulutzan said. “We weren’t too caught up in it.”
NOTES: Ducks F Ondrej Kase left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. He will be re-evaluated on Tuesday. … Ryan Getzlaf and Jaycob Megna made their season debuts for Anaheim. … Calgary F Jaromir Jagr did not dress for a third game after signing with the Flames. … The game took place as planned despite the wildfires in surrounding areas.
Flames: Visit Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Ducks: Host New York Islanders on Wednesday night.