Anaheim Ducks eager to build on rare fast start

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013
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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.