ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ben Lovejoy listened for pointers when the topic of discussion before the Ducks' game against Edmonton was about how to beat goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.
"Before the game, somebody was asking Sami Vatanen where he was shooting to score today," Lovejoy said. "And Sami told him mid-blocker. And I just tried to hit the net."
Boy, did he ever?
Lovejoy hit the net twice in the first period and the first two-goal game of his career powered the Ducks to another home victory, this one a 5-2 waltz through the Oilers on Friday night.
Before the third consecutive sellout at Honda Center, Lovejoy scored on identical one-time blasts from the point in the first period as the Ducks joined Pittsburgh in being the first NHL teams to reach 30 victories.
It adds to a week that the affable, quotable defenseman will always cherish. Lovejoy and his wife, Avery, welcomed their first child on New Year's Eve.
"Two good shots," Lovejoy said. "A great feeling. Great win. It's been an awesome couple of days. I would love to keep it going. But it's been pretty special."
Lovejoy's two goals in a span of 2 minutes, 43 seconds were the two fastest ever by a Ducks defenseman. It took the veteran 171 games to score twice in a contest and he had just five career goals entering the game.
The goals pulled the Ducks out of a 2-1 first-period hole as they improved to an NHL-best 16-0-2 at home. Tim Jackman got his first goal since joining the club and Andrew Cogliano scored on a breakaway to support goalie Jonas Hiller's 16-save effort.
"Our whole line, we thought we were able to chip in tonight," Jackman said. "We were able to play in their end for the majority of the shifts we had."
But this one was about the new father, who probably hasn't stopped smiling for the last few days.
"It was the first game my daughter has seen," Lovejoy said. "(Lila) brought me good luck. We may have to keep pumping them out if I can keep scoring two goals a night."
PENNER NOT OFFENDED
If this were another team and perhaps a bleaker situation, Dustin Penner might have been rubbed the wrong way with his recent scratches from the lineup.
Press box duty isn't a new thing to Penner, but the big winger is taking a philosophical look at why he wasn't in the Ducks' lineup twice out of a five-game span. There is no sense in being angry on a deep team that is at the top of the NHL.
"Other than maybe a handful of guys, you have a chance of not playing each and every night," Penner said. "That's a slight but not to the extent of what it would be on other teams.
"If you're on a last-place team and you're being sat out, that would hurt exponentially more. Even when guys get sat out (here), they want to play."
If anything, Penner is trying to get himself back to the point where he was on the Ducks' top line and rekindle the natural chemistry that exists with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
Penner was back in Friday night against Edmonton but skating alongside Mathieu Perreault and Teemu Selanne while Jakob Silfverberg was up with Penner's old linemates.
The regular appearances on the scoresheet for Penner have dried up over the last month. He has had just one point -- a Dec. 15 goal against the Oilers -- in his previous nine games entering Friday but still has 10 goals and 14 assists overall.
Penner said there have been some posts he has hit and passes he hasn't been able to convert into goals. His mission is to get back "to where I set the bar pretty high and now that's expected."
"And it should be expected," he said. "Now I have to get back there and that's the game within the game that as individuals you try and work on. It's something that sets apart guys like Getzlaf and Perry.
"Their bad games aren't that bad. And even when they're bad, they still get a point or two. I've got to figure out a way to get my game back to the level it was."
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has prodded his winger at times, particularly early on when Penner had to work his way into peak condition during training camp. Boudreau has been kind and not so kind in working to get the best out of him.
"Some players have peaks and valleys throughout the course of the year and Dustin, if you look at his history, has had great points and then slows down," Boudreau said. "And there's great parts.
"We'd love him to be more consistent. And our goal is to get him to be more consistent."
Boudreau said they often talk and pore over video to see the areas in which the winger can be more effective. The goal is to get Penner to where he is moving his legs, being a regular presence and, in the coach's words, "be relevant every night."
"I know he wants to," Boudreau said. "He's really a studious player. And he wants to be as good as he can be all the time. And just sometimes it hasn't been there. Right now, we want to get him back up there."
Penner is fully bought in. The Ducks are a team, in his view, that has intangibles "in spades" and the number of quality forwards on the team pushes him to raise his game.
"I think with this team, unlike any team I've been on, you have so many different options," he said. "There's guys that probably aren't going to play that aren't used to (not playing). It's a unique situation for a coach to be able to have guys that you can put in that can go play a lot of minutes.
"For me, being scratched, it hurts. But not in the sense that maybe you're used to because of what we're doing here collectively as a team."
With his new top-line assignment, Silfverberg said his work is simple. Do what you can to get the puck to either Getzlaf or Perry and get yourself open.
"I think it's just working hard and skating a lot," Silfverberg said. "And winning whatever one-on-one battles I get. Make sure to retrieve pucks and just try to help them out as much as I can.
"They're so good with the puck and they're so good at finding each other. For me, it's just a matter of trying to find an open spot and just be ready when I get it."
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