Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/22/13
CALGARY, Alberta -- Anaheim Ducks winger Daniel Winnik is making an early case that he was the NHL's best free-agent signing in the offseason. Winnik scored just eight goals between the Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks in 2011-12, but the rugged forward already has four in two games for the Ducks, including two in Monday night's 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in the Scotiabank Saddledome. Center Ryan Getzlaf, who played junior hockey for the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen, also scored twice as the Ducks started the season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2006-07. "I think we've got a little more balanced scoring this year than we've had in years past obviously with the third line playing the way they are right now chipping in," Getzlaf said. "We don't want to have to score that many goals to win, but we'll take whatever we can on the road right now." Monday's clash featured some wild swings of momentum. The Ducks scored three times on their first six shots against Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, and the Flames evened it with three straight goals. Getzlaf scored the winner with 8:45 remaining in the third period, grabbing a loose puck in the slot and ripping it past a screened Kiprusoff. Lee Stempniak trimmed the lead to one with a breakaway goal, but the Flames couldn't complete the comeback in front of a sellout crowd of 19,289 as they lost for the second time in as many nights at home. "I thought we played hard enough to win both games, but we didn't play well enough to win both games," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. Getzlaf opened the scoring for the visitors, deflecting Toni Lydman's point shot past Kiprusoff just 1:06 after the opening faceoff. Kiprusoff didn't have much hope on the next goal, either, a nifty redirect by Ducks center Saku Koivu after a sharp pass from linemate Andrew Cogliano. Anaheim made it a three-goal lead just past the midway mark of the first period, with Winnik's shot hitting Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman and changing directions. The Flames showed signs of life with 3:06 remaining in the first period. Winger Curtis Glencross got his stick on Wideman's slap shot on a power play and it fooled Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller on Calgary's third shot of the game. Flames center Alex Tanguay trimmed the lead before the first intermission, grabbing a loose puck in the slot and going top shelf. The hosts opened the second period on a power play, and Glencross tied it before half the fans had even made it to the front of the popcorn line, deflecting Michael Cammalleri's shot into the bottom corner on what turned out to be the only goal of the second period. Winnik and Cogliano teamed up again on Anaheim's fourth goal, both crashing the crease on an offensive rush early in the third period. Winnik got his stick on the puck and slid it underneath Kiprusoff to break a 3-3 tie. For those keeping track at home, Winnik now has two goals in both of his appearances with the Ducks. "I told you he's on a 96-goal pace," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's done nothing to stop it, so keep him going." After Getzlaf gave the Ducks a bit of insurance, Stempniak snapped a puck past Hiller on a breakaway with 5:56 remaining, but that's as close as the Flames would get. "We got ourselves behind, but I think we showed some good character -- especially early in the season -- to battle back to even," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "Guys are working hard, but we're making some mistakes that are costing us. We have things to work on and tighten up defensively. The effort is there, but we've got to be smarter." NOTES: Both teams made goalie moves before the game. The Ducks recalled Viktor Fasth from the AHL and assigned Frederik Andersen to their farm club. The Flames traded Henrik Karlsson, who was third on their depth chart, to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. ... Cam Fowler made his season debut for the Ducks after missing the opener because of the flu. Blair Jones and T.J. Brodie both stepped into the Flames' lineup after being healthy scratches in the first game of the season. ... The Flames are still without left winger Jiri Hudler (personal), center Roman Cervenka (blood issue) and defenseman Anton Babchuk (shoulder). ... After starting the season with two games in Canada, the Ducks head back to Anaheim for Friday's home opener against the Vancouver Canucks.
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