ANAHEIM >> Officially, it was the start of the post-Ryan Getzlaf Era for the Ducks and kicked off with a visit from the second-year Seattle Kraken on Wednesday night at Honda Center.
The first minute went according to plan with the Ducks’ Troy Terry scoring just 51 seconds into the season, picking up from where he left off from last season’s breakthrough campaign.
And Terry finished it off with a highlight reel goal in overtime, just 55 seconds into it, giving the Ducks a 5-4 victory against the Kraken in what was the season opener for both teams. Terry scored twice and added an assist.
The stage for his game-winner was set up with a big save by Ducks goaltender John Gibson, who faced 48 shots.
The Ducks rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the last 10 minutes on goals from Frank Vatrano and Trevor Zegras to push it to overtime.
The Ducks survived a rough middle section of the game as the Kraken broke down and exposed the Ducks’ penalty kill, going three for four on the man advantage at one point.
But it was the newcomers acquired on the first day of free agency in the summer making a significant impact for the Ducks in the season opener. Ryan Strome factored in three of the four goals, scoring once and adding two assists, and Vatrano cut the Kraken’s lead to 4-3 with his goal mid-way through the third, beating goaltender Philipp Grubauer up high on the stick side, at 9:56.
Scoring for the Kraken were Jared McCann, Andre Burakovsky, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Matty Beniers.
Last season, the Kraken were ranked 29th on the power play in the NHL, Only Arizona, Montreal and Philadelphia were worse. But new faces like Burakovsky and Bjorkstrand – both coming off career highs at their former homes, Colorado and Columbus, respectively – made an immediate impact.
Seattle defenseman Justin Schultz added two assists. Side note: The one-time Ducks draft pick Schultz used to be booed with abandon by Ducks fans for once snubbing them by taking advantage of unrestricted free agency. Not so on Wednesday.
This was the first meeting between two of the top Calder Trophy candidates in the Ducks’ Mason McTavish and Kraken first-liner Beniers. Beniers centered a line of McCann and Burakovsky, while McTavish, who will likely eventually play in the center position down the line, was on the wing on the line with Strome and Terry.
The results of McTavish vs. Beniers: Berniers scored once and added an assist, while McTavish had two assists. McTavish’s second assist came on Strome’s goal with 1:36 remaining in the second period, cutting the Kraken lead to 3-2. Strome finished off a two-on-one with McTavish.
The game also featured the NHL debut of Ducks’ forward Pavol Regenda, who was the surprise of training camp and led Anaheim in preseason scoring with seven points. Regenda took the now-traditional rookie solo spin and ended up playing 10 minutes on a line with Max Jones and center Derek Grant, which was a highly effective unit in the preseason.
Regenda was visibly excited after the morning skate about achieving a life-long goal.
“I can’t even describe it,” he said. “It’s going to be a great feeling on the ice today. I’ll enjoy every second. I worked for it for a long time so hopefully I can stay here for a long time. I got messages from a lot of people from back home. We have great fans, great people back home.” He noted that the start time of the game would be 4 in the morning in Slovakia but also added his countrymen were used to staying up late to watch NHL games.
“It’s going to be a long night for our Slovkian people who like hockey,” Regenda said.
The now-retired Getzlaf – who played all 1,157 games of his NHL career with the Ducks – won’t be replaced as captain by one player. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said on the opening day of training camp that there won’t be a rush to do so, and the Ducks plan to rotate the “A,” signifying alternate captains, through their leadership group.