Too bad it can't be throwback night every night. On Sunday evening, the Ducks lived up to their original Mighty name and defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1.
From honoring fifteen players from the original Ducks team that took the ice on October 8, 1993, to the retro uniforms, to the $0.93 sodas, popcorn and cupcakes, everything felt fun and festive. Watching the Ducks manhandle the Senators made the evening that much more enjoyable.
"They’re nice," said Corey Perry about the original logo uniforms in eggplant and jade. "This is what I was drafted in, and this is what I wore in my first year. It’s nice and exciting to come back to your roots."
The Ducks came back to their roots and then shot right of the gate like a bat out of hell, minus the flames. Perry scored :27 seconds into the game. Ryan Getzlaf made it 2-0 at 4:06 after several excellent scoring chances by the team.
Already being outshot 9 - 3, Ottawa took their timeout and switched out goaltenders. Craig Anderson got the boot and Robin Lehner, who had played the night before in San Jose, got the nod. It wasn't that Anderson was so horrible, as much as the Senators needed a desperate wake up call.
They woke up and settled down. A little. But not enough to make any difference in the outcome of the game.
Bobby Ryan, returning to the Honda Center for the first time since being traded in the summer, was the sole scorer for Ottawa at 19:12 of the first period.
The 2-1 score was deceiving. For once, the shots on goal gave a clearer picture, with the Ducks setting a first period record of 24 shots on net.
"I was really worried after the first," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "We could’ve had eight goals, and it was only a 2-1 game. It took a lot of character for them to keep playing. Sometimes most teams have one really good period, then you have a sag. But, we didn’t have that."
They did not sag. They kept pushing forward. Corey Perry got his second of the game at 3:18 of the third period, with the perfect pass from Hampus Lindholm, who at 19 wasn't even born when the Mighty Ducks first stepped on the ice. Perry had a couple good chances later at the hat trick, but was denied.
Nick Bonino got his second of the year at 15:28, making it 4-1. Those fans in the audience who were hoping to get free wings at Hooters instead had to pay for their chicken, but after that good a game, who cared?
In the end, the Ducks had 56 shots on goal, a record. Lehner saved 45 of those shots, or else the score would have been double digits against the Senators.
"That’s the way we want to play," said Perry, who came close to having another hat trick on several occasions. "We want to shoot as many pucks on the net as we can. Good things are going to happen when you start doing that. You can see it in the last couple of games."
Even Jonas Hiller, wearing a retro designed helmet that included the original third jersey logo of Wild Wing bursting out of the ice, was busy in net. He made 30 saves on the evening and now has three wins in the season with a 1.30 goals against average and .959 save percentage.
"It was fun," said Hiller. "I was super excited about the retro gear. I think the mask turned out pretty cool. If it’s up to me, we could play the whole season like that. It was cool. To honor all the guys and fly them all in was a pretty special event. It’s fun to be a part of this organization."
The Ducks, who are now 4-1-0 to start the season, will next take on the Calgary Flames on Wednesday evening.
In other notes: The Ducks recalled Devante Smith-Pelly from Norfolk on Monday, which likely means that Dustin Penner will be out the line up longer than anticipated.