Ducks 4, Canucks 1
PIC OF THE GAME
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ANAHEIM (AP) - The glint of the shiny brass ring proved blinding Wednesday night in Anaheim as the Canucks had an opportunity to barge their way to the front of the Northwest division with a win over the Ducks.
Instead, Brian Burke’s Anaheim squad fired out of the gate and dumped Vancouver in a quick 3-0 first-period hole before cruising to a 4-1 victory, and in the process, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Canucks who had taken all three previous meetings this year.
"We got down 3-0 early and didn't have a lot of push back," Vigneault said. "You're going to get behind in this league, and sometimes you should be able to come back. But to do that, your best offensive players need to be your best and come up big. And our guys weren't very good."
The Anaheim Ducks scored their first goal after Roberto Luongo
wandered way out of the net to head off a breakaway. Their second goal came while they were killing a penalty.
That, along with Jonas Hiller's goaltending, was enough to deflate the frustrated Canucks.
Travis Moen scored his first NHL short-handed goal, Hiller made 30 saves and the defending Stanley Cup champions broke a club record with their eighth straight home victory.
Todd Marchant scored in his third straight game, helping Anaheim avoid a four-game season sweep by the team they beat in the second round of last year's playoffs. Doug Weight connected during a power play and Rob Niedermayer also scored for the Ducks, who reached 40 wins for the fourth time in five seasons.
Luongo, making his 19th consecutive start and 35th in 37 games, was pulled 4:03 into the second period after allowing four goals on 19 shots. It was the third time in 61 starts this season that he was benched during a game by coach Alain Vigneault.
"I think it was more of a change of pace than anything else," Luongo said. "The good thing is we play (Thursday) night, right away. So we have a chance to put it behind us right away and focus for tomorrow night's game - which is obviously a huge game for us."
Had a goal and an assist and was a force on the forecheck.
The anti-Sedin had a goal and an assist playing against his old friends from Ornskoldsvik.
Canada's Nik Lidstrom didn't make the scoreboard, but was a plus one in 20 minutes of ice time.
Weight scored Anaheim's fourth goal when Teemu Selanne's short wrist shot from the left of the net ricocheted off the far post and off Weight's chest. The puck landed at Weight's feet, and he converted the rebound for his 10th of the season.
Marchant opened the scoring at 10:53 of the first period, just seven seconds after stepping out of the penalty box and behind the Canucks defence. The Ducks forward raced to catch up to a Chris Kunitz clearing attempt before skating in on the Vancouver goal.
Luongo came out to the top of the left circle to try to knock the puck away from him, but Marchant swerved around the sprawling goalie and put a wrist shot into the vacated net for his eighth goal. Hiller earned an assist.
"I thought I had it, but I think the ice really slowed the puck down," Luongo said. "Obviously, Marchant is a quick skater. So once I made my play and decided to go out there and play it, there's no turning back. I tried to dive at it to maybe poke it away, but it was a bit too late."
Marchant is enjoying his first three-game goal streak since December 2005. He scored only five times in his first 64 games this season.
"For all those opportunities I had earlier in the year, where the puck should have gone in and didn't, maybe it's starting to happen for me," the 14-year veteran said. "None of my goals have been very pretty, but they all count."
Moen made it 2-0 just 2:24 later while teammate Mathieu Schneider was off for interference. It was the eighth short-handed goal this season by the NHL's most penalized team.
"Obviously you want to prevent a goal first. But if you get an opening and you get a little bit of a jump on a guy, then you can go," Moen said. "You've also got to remember that if you don't score, you've got to come back just as hard."
Niedermayer added his sixth goal at 16:49 of the period, converting a rebound from a sharp angle to the left of the net after Luongo made a save against Moen.
Rookie Mason Raymond got Vancouver on the board by scoring a power-play goal with 2:15 left in the first.
Canucks pivot Brendan Morrison – playing in only his second game since missing most of the season with a wrist injury – picked an ill-timed Chris Pronger bank-pass off the end boards and slipped a gift to Raymon in the slot, who beat Hiller clean over the glove.
The dynamic duo of Ryan Kesler
and Alex Burrows were both held off the score sheet after teaming up to lead the team to victories in LA and at home against St. Louis.
Luc Bourdon drew in for Mike Weaver and finished even in just over 12 minutes of ice-time spread over 14 shifts.
The Canucks finished 1-for-6 on the power play while killing all but one of the Ducks’ power plays.
Notes: For the second straight season, All-Star C Henrik Sedin
didn't score a goal in eight regular-season games the Canucks played against the Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. ... Anaheim has the longest home winning streak in the NHL this season. ... The Ducks are 15-2 at Honda Center since Dec. 18.
|Three star selections