VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Betting Tools

Ducks eager to build on rare fast start

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Bruce Boudreau and Daniel Winnik both think it's pretty silly to get excited about the Ducks' 2-0 start to the season.

That's only because the coach and his improbably prolific goal-scorer are still new around Anaheim.

Ever since they raised the Stanley Cup a half-decade ago, the Ducks have made a tradition of getting buried in the standings just a few games into every season. The malaise from those starts usually lingered, forcing them to make desperate late-season pushes that sometimes fell short and never led to much playoff success.

So a 2-0 start - just the second in club history - really is something to celebrate in Orange County. The Ducks are determined to keep rolling when they finally play the NHL's last home opener on Friday night against Vancouver, followed by a visit from Nashville on Saturday.

``If we don't continue to move forward, we're waking up Sunday morning and going, `Now we're at .500,''' Boudreau said Thursday after the Ducks' workout at Honda Center. ``In a short season like this, every point, every goal is so vital.''

Indeed, in a 48-game season, every game is worth roughly double its usual importance in the standings - and the Ducks are capitalizing so far. Anaheim opened with 12 goals during two road victories in western Canada and returned for two valuable days of practice before the sold-out opener.

``We set a goal to get out to a good start, and we're happy about it,'' said captain Ryan Getzlaf, who has two goals in two games after getting a career-low 11 in 82 games last season. ``There's still a lot of work for us to do, because we didn't play solid, solid hockey up there. We just scored a lot. We all know we've got a lot of things we still need to improve.''

The Ducks have started 3-0-0 just once in franchise history: In the 2006-07 season, when they won their only Stanley Cup championship. Ever since that surge, slow starts have become a tradition in Anaheim.

The list is daunting: Anaheim started 4-7-2 in the autumn after its title run, and they went 1-5-0 to kick off the 2008-09 season. The Ducks started 6-10-3 in the 2009-10 season, went 4-7-1 to begin the 2010-11 campaign, and then got off to a horrific 6-13-4 start last season, leading to coach Randy Carlyle's firing and Boudreau's arrival shortly after Thanksgiving.

Anaheim was the NHL's fifth-best team after Jan. 1 last year, going 24-15-6, but missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons after falling into that huge hole. The Ducks entered this lockout-shortened season determined not to repeat their slow start, but the extra pressure hasn't hurt so far.

``I'm not really surprised, because I think we knew we had a really good team,'' said goalie Jonas Hiller, who has allowed just three even-strength goals in two games. ``Last year, we were one of the league's best teams in the second half. Now we've just got to show it all year long.''

While 42-year-old Teemu Selanne already has added two more goals to the 12th-biggest total in NHL history, Anaheim's real scoring star is Winnik, the first player in Ducks history to start a season with multigoal games, getting two apiece in Vancouver and Calgary.

``I don't think any player really scripts it that way,'' Winnik said.

Winnik entered Thursday tied with Marian Hossa and Patrick Marleau for the NHL goal-scoring lead. He was even with those two stars, along with Thomas Vanek and Martin St. Louis, with five points atop the league scoring race. It's unlikely territory for a former ninth-round draft pick who never scored more than 11 goals in any of his first five NHL seasons with Phoenix, Colorado and San Jose.

Winnik and his third-line teammates, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano, also began the day leading the league with plus-5 ratings. Winnik and Cogliano have the same agent, and they train together in their native Toronto in the offseason, but Boudreau put them together because he thought their games would mesh well.

``It's been a really easy group to gel with,'' Winnik said. ``It's a very welcoming room. We've got a good mix of younger guys and older guys, and we're just looking to build on what we've done so far.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

News: Grand Salami - March
Fans want Senators owner out
Larry Kwong, Asian pioneer in NHL, dies
Penguins G Matt Murray close to return
Bruins sign US Olympic star Donato
Blues F Tarasenko sidelined by injury
Why Buy Picks From
NHL Pro Hockey Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NHL Hot Streaks
7-1 +895 L8, +2,652 This Year
3-0 +331 L3, 9-2 +746 G-Play Run
10-4 +615 L9 Days, +2,599 Overall
2-0 +280 LN, 13-5 +1,087 Streak
10-4 G-Plays, +2,303 This Season
30-13 L43 Picks, 23-11 L34 G-Plays
3-1 Last 4 NHL Picks
NHL Pro Hockey Expert Sports Picks
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bill Marzano + 2652
Stephen Nover + 2599
Matt Fargo + 2303
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 557
Gary Bart + 531
Bill Marzano + 335
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 2371
Bruce Marshall + 914
ASA + 104
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 2777
Kevin Rogers + 1142
Scott Rickenbach + 1023
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Matt Fargo + 1706
Ben Burns + 1602
Kevin Rogers + 1421
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
ASA + 688
Scott Rickenbach + 528
Stephen Nover + 473
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership