Chris Pronger's second goal of the game snapped a third-period tie and helped the Ducks improve the best start in franchise history with a 5-4 victory over Florida on Tuesday night. "That's the way it has been here all year," Pronger said. "It's not always pretty, but we're finding ways to win." The Ducks, who broke the team record with their sixth consecutive road victory, improved to 24-3-6. Their 54 points are the most by any team through 33 games since the 1979 Philadelphia Flyers had that many.
"They played well, very aggressive," Ducks defenceman Scott Niedermayer said of the Panthers. "They made it tough for us. We probably were lucky getting the win."
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin also scored for the Ducks. Perry had a goal and two assists, and Beauchemin had one of each.
Drew Larman, Nathan Horton, Jay Bouwmeester and former Ducks defenceman Ruslan Salei scored for the Panthers, who rallied to tie after trailing 4-2 in the third period.
"We knew we were playing a good team," Bouwmeester said. "They found a way to get it done, and good teams often do that. They work hard and worked for what they got."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves for Anaheim. Alex Auld stopped 31 shots for the Panthers.
Giguere made his best saves in the final minutes after Pronger gave Anaheim the lead for good.
"Yeah, he made some stops," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said, "but that's what goalies are supposed to do."
Pronger scored the deciding goal after Anaheim won a faceoff in the Florida zone. Pronger's shot went through a crowd and beat Auld low to the stick side with nine minutes left.
"I was just shooting blocker side," Pronger said.
Pronger's first goal, at 3:34 of the third period, gave the Ducks a 4-2 lead. He scored on the power play when he beat Auld with a one-timer from the point.
"The (shots) found a way to get through," Carlyle said. "Some big-time shots from a guy who can shoot the puck really hard."
Bouwmeester cut the deficit to 4-3 at 4:56 with a slap shot from just inside the blue line that got past Giguere's glove.
Salei, in his first game against the Ducks following nine seasons with them, then took a pass from Olli Jokinen and beat Giguere from the slot.
Anaheim outshot Florida 14-6 in the first period and ended up with a 36-31 advantage.
"We had a good start, a good first period," Carlyle said. "In the end we were hanging on, it's as simple as that."
Notes: Florida RW Juraj Kolnik missed his 11th consecutive game because of a pulled groin. ... Florida LW David Booth, recalled from Rochester of the AHL on Monday, recorded his first NHL point when he assisted on Larman's goal. ... Anaheim RW Teemu Selanne, who came in tied for third in NHL in scoring, was held without a point for only the third time in his last 16 games. ... Florida has lost its last seven against Pacific Division opponents, including a 1-0 defeat at Anaheim last season. ... This was the Ducks' first game at Florida since Dec. 27, 2003. ... Florida remained winless when trailing after two periods (0-14-1). ... Anaheim is 18-0-2 when leading after two.