By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – Playing without their captain and leading scorer did little to slow down the blazing Anaheim Ducks tonight.
Ryan Getzlaf sat out tonight’s contest with an upper body injury, but the rest of the Ducks picked up the slack in a 3-1 victory over the Canucks at Honda Center that improved Anaheim to a perfect 8-0 at home and 8-0-1 in the last nine overall. By taking down their new Pacific Division rivals, the Ducks also maintained the best record in the NHL at 15-3-1.
Corey Perry and Nick Bonino scored big second period goals, Andrew Cogliano added a late empty-netter and Frederik Andersen looked composed as ever in a 35-save effort. In doing so, Andersen became the first goaltender to win his first six NHL games since December, 1993 (Toronto’s Damian Rhodes from Mar. 22, 1991-Dec. 2, 1993).
"When you’re missing the second leading scorer in the league, your captain, and arguably one of the best players in the world, you’re always going to miss him," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "But I thought we did a good job of battling. The team wanted to show we can survive injuries because we have good depth. It gave others guys a chance to play and I think they stepped up to the plate."
In the 40 games Getzlaf has missed in his career, the Ducks are an impressive 24-12-4. His absence tonight is just the latest in a litany of injuries for Anaheim, which hasn't seemed to lose a step. "We’ve been playing without some guys for a little while now," Perry said, "and some guys have stepped up and played different roles, and played some big minutes for us in key situations. It’s definitely been an added bonus that guys that step in and play as well as they have.
"You look around this room and there are a lot of new faces, but there are a lot of guys in here with a lot of character who want to win, who want to prove they go out there each and every night and work as hard as they can."
After a mostly uneventful first period tonight, Anaheim broke the ice 8:30 into the second on Perry’s 11th goal of the season. Francois Beauchemin’s point shot deflected high into the air off goalie Eddie Lack, and Perry headed it soccer-style down to his stick before pushing it across the stripe.
Vancouver tied it six minutes later on Tom Sestito’s first of the season, as he one-timed a nice Brad Richardson feed off the inside of the right post.
The Ducks went back out in front with 50.9 seconds left in the period, as Perry left the puck for Emerson Etem on the rush, and Etem made a gorgeous feed across the crease that Bonino banged into the wide open net.
"That’s definitely one of the things Bruce stressed when he came here, was getting off to a good start, and getting as far above .500 as you can get," Bonino said. "He always says there are going to be points in the year where you slump. If you can set yourself up like we are, you’re going to be able to stay at the top of the standings."
Anaheim held a 2-1 lead over a tight third period, finally slamming the door when Cogliano jumped on a loose puck and slung it into the middle of the empty net. It was the second empty-netter in the last three games for Cogliano.
It was also a nice way to end a three-game stint at home for the Ducks, who hit the road for four straight, starting Tuesday night in Florida.
Anaheim’s league-leading 15-3-1 record (31 points) matches the club record for best-ever start through 19 games (also 15-3-1 in 2012-13).
The Ducks’ 65 goals this season lead the NHL and is the second-best mark through 19 games in club history (66 through 19 in 1995-96). In addition, the club leads the league with 52 five-on-five goals this season.
Anaheim’s nine-game standings point streak (8-0-1) is the longest current streak in the NHL and matches San Jose for the longest this season (Oct. 3-21, 8-0-1). In addition, the club’s five-game winning streak (5-0-0) is the league’s longest active win streak.
The Ducks are 8-0-0 at Honda Center this season, the best HOME start in club history (prior to the start of the season, the club never won more than two straight at home). The Ducks are the only NHL club with a perfect start at HOME this season. The Ducks are the first team since 2010-11 to start a season with a perfect 8-0-0 record (Los Angeles, also 8-0-0). In addition, the club has outscored its opposition 35-13 in those eight contests.
The Ducks have scored 35 goals through the first eight HOME contests, marking the most through eight in club history. The club has allowed just 13 goals against its opponents at HOME, the fewest allowed at HOME in franchise history.
Dustin Penner is now +18 in his 12 games this season. That is the highest rating by any NHL player in his first 12 games of a season four players in 1984-85 had a +12-or-better (Wayne Gretzky (EDM) +28, Jari Kurri (EDM) +28, Mike Bossy (NYI) +19, Mike Krushelnyski (EDM) +19).
In addition, Hampus Lindholm is now +15 in his 17 games this season. That’s the highest rating by any NHL defenseman in his first 17 career games since Andrej Meszaros of Ottawa was a +17 in 2005-06.
*Historical research for two notes above courtesy Elias Sports Bureau
Frederik Andersen became the first goaltender to win his first six NHL games since December, 1993 (Toronto’s Damian Rhodes from Mar. 22, 1991-Dec. 2, 1993). Andersen is also the only ACTIVE goaltender to do so. Andersen is also the first netminder in club history to win his first six NHL games (Viktor Fasth won his first eight DECISIONS last year). Among all NHL goalies, Andersen ranks second in SV% (.952) and third in GAA (1.41). Among rookies, he leads in wins, GAA, SV% and appearances. (min. 4 games).
*Historical research courtesy STATS, LLC
Corey Perry extended his point streak to five games (5-3=8) and now ranks tied for fourth in the NHL with 11 goals this season. Perry has 6-6=12 points with a +11 rating over the last nine contests.
Andrew Cogliano is riding a career-tying three-game goal streak (3-0=3). It’s his third career three-game streak with the most recent taking place from Feb. 9-15, 2013 (4-0=4).
With an assist tonight, Devante Smith-Pelly has now picked up 1-4=5 points in the last six games.
Tonight’s attendance was 17,174, a sellout.