PIC OF THE GAME
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Daniel Sedin and Matt Cooke each scored, and the Vancouver Canucks took advantage of several opportunities presented by the NHL's most penalized team in a 2-1 victory over the struggling Ducks on Sunday night.
Cooke scored his first goal in six games with Sunday's game winner, which was also his first point in as many games.
“I had patience because Henrik made such a great play to allow me to have so much time," he said of his goal. "I just made a shot, far side, fortunately it went in.”
With George Parros and Sean O'Donnell in the box for consecutive interference penalties, the first coming in the offensive zone and the second while already down a man, Henrik Sedin found Daniel Sedin in open ice for his team-leading 17th goal of the season and fifth in five games.
"We are taking a few too many penalties at times," said Ryan Getzlaf, who had the Ducks' lone goal off an assist from Scott Niedermayer. "Tonight it wasn't that we took too many, it was a matter of taking a couple at the wrong time, and they were able to score a goal."
Vancouver took a 2-0 lead four minutes into the second period when Cooke finished off a 3-on-2 rush with a wrist shot from 25 feet that slipped past Jonas Hiller.
Hiller got the start in net for Anaheim in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who gave up four goals in a 5-3 loss to Calgary on Saturday.
The win moved the Canucks into sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of the idle Minnesota Wild. Vancouver has gone 12 games at home without a loss in regulation.
The game is also the third consecutive win over the Ducks for Vancouver, who were ousted from the playoffs in five games in the second round last year.
“I think our guys obviously know these are the Stanley Cup champions and they get up for these games," said Canucks head coach, Alain Vigneault. "But right now, you’re getting up for every game, because all you have to do is look at the standings and look at how important the two points are. So, we’ll take it tonight and we’ve got 24 hours to get ready for a divisional game tomorrow. It’s always interesting and fun against Calgary and we’re going to go there and play hard.”
Anaheim cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the third period with both teams playing a man short.
"I don’t think the game overall was one of our better ones, especially in the 3rd," said Markus Naslund. "I thought we stepped back and let them get in and keep the momentum for long periods of time. We have to do a better job of trying to generate more."
Made 21 saves and has won five of his last six starts.
Registered two assists including Matt Cooke’s game winner.
Had an assist on the Ducks’ only goal of the night.
Niedermayer, playing his seventh game since coming out of retirement, put a no-look backhand pass right on the stick of Getzlaf in the high slot. Getzlaf's one-timer got past Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo for his 13th goal of the season.
"We are an aggressive team, and we are a physical team. The more that we can check with our legs instead of our sticks the more we will benefit in the long run," said Getzlaf, who now has 13 goals on the season.
"The aggression penalties we will kill off," he added. "It's the stick fouls that we need to cut down on. I think we have done a better job of that in the last little while. We were taking four or five a period there for a while and tonight I think we were able to limit it to four."
While the Ducks outshot the Canucks 11-3 in the third, Luongo took matters into his own hands.
“It was getting a little lonely in the first couple periods there, and in the third I took as selfish penalty just to get a little action going.”
“I was looking at the puck behind the net and he just skated through my stick and it got stuck on the post so I couldn’t move, the only thing I could’ve done was drop my stick not to make him fall. I tried to get an explanation, but I didn’t really get one.”
NOTES: Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund missed his third straight game since waking up a week ago with neck spasms and is doubtful for Monday's game in Calgary ... Center Ryan Kesler returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing one game due to a concussion ... Anaheim Center Samuel Pahlsson missed his third straight game with an abdominal inflammation. Pahlsson missed the first five games of the regular season after undergoing sports hernia surgery but the Ducks are unsure if his recent injury is related ... Anaheim center Doug Weight, recently acquired in a trade with St. Louis, played his 1,100th game in the NHL on Sunday.