By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – A Canucks team that gave the Ducks one of their biggest tests during this historic winning streak was no match tonight in a game that was nearly over before it started.
Anaheim erupted for a team-record nine goals (including a record six on the power play) on their way to a 9-1 whitewashing of Vancouver in front of another sellout crowd at Honda Center. It’s a building that continues to be good to the Ducks, who improved to 20-0-2 there, remaining the only NHL team to be undefeated in regulation at home.
"This is what we want," said Teemu Selanne, who had two goals tonight. "We want to make this a hard place to play. So far, so good. But now, let’s forget this game."
It was the second victory over Vancouver in 10 days for the Ducks, who just slipped past them with a late regulation goal and a very late overtime goal in a 4-3 win on January 5. This one was a polar opposite, as the Ducks scored two in the first period, tacked on four more in the second and three more in an antagonistic third (including a pair on a seven-minute power play). Corey Perry, Nick Bonino and Selanne each had two-goal games, as the Ducks had 13 players got on the scoresheet.
Meanwhile, the win once again came with some extra accolades:
- The Ducks join the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens as the only teams in NHL history to win 18-of-19 games. (The Canadiens went on to win 20-of-21 games from Jan. 6-Feb. 22, 1968.)*
* Elias Sports Bureau
- Anaheim became the fourth team in 40 NHL seasons (since 1973-74) to record points in each of their first 22+ home games of a season (20-0-2). The Ducks’ 22-game streak is also their longest home standings point streak in club history at any point during a season (previous best was 14 games).
- The Ducks scored five or more goals for the 15th time this season, a whopping 31 percent of their games
- With eight straight wins overall (longest active streak in the NHL), Anaheim now owns the two longest winning streaks in the NHL this season (also a 10-game streak from Dec. 6-Dec. 28).
The victory also increased Anaheim’s lead in the NHL standings, giving the Ducks a 36-8-5 record that’s six points better than second-place Chicago.
Almost lost in the scoring barrage was a fine night by Frederik Andersen, inserted in place of the hot Jonas Hiller, who was out with an illness. Andersen quietly saved 31 of 32 Canucks shots, his only goal-against coming with less than two seconds left in the second period when he was run over by a crashing David Booth, allowing Zack Kassian to punch in the rebound.
"You just approach every game and play. You have to prepare yourself and have a game plan," said Andrew Cogliano, who had the game's first goal. "And if you execute it, you have a good chance of winning. Tonight, we did that. Freddy made some good stops in the first period that kept us in the game. We were able to get a bunch of goals."
The Ducks did something they have been rarely doing during this winning surge – scoring first. About 4 1/2 minutes into the game, Cogliano put Anaheim on the board when he took in a nice feed from Jakob Silfverberg in the slot and lifted it over the shoulder of goalie Eddie Lack.
Later, with a little more than two minutes left in the period, the Ducks score the first of the seemingly countless power-play goals, as a Sami Vatanen shot from the left circle was tipped through by Selanne.
As good as that period was for Anaheim, the second was even better as the Ducks ran off four goals courtesy of Perry, Bonino (twice) and Silfverberg. Three of those were power-play goals, half as much as the Ducks would rack up for the game.
Remarkably, it was the first time the Canucks (ranked first in the NHL in penalty kill percentage entering tonight) allowed more than one power-play goal since November 30 vs. the Rangers.
Perry got things started four minutes into the second, one indication that it wasn’t Vancouver’s night. He threw the puck on net from deep in the corner and it deflected off Dan Hamhuis’ stick and under Lack.
Lack was sent to the bench for backup Joacim Eriksson, who didn’t fare much better in his NHL debut. Just two minutes after Perry’s goal, Bonino got his first of two in a row on the power play, picking up the puck in the slot, circling back toward the point and denting the net with a slap shot.
With about 5 1/2 minutes left in the period, Bonino struck again, taking a pass from Ryan Getzlaf in the bottom of the right wing circle and shuttling it home just before falling to the sheet.
Silfverberg got Anaheim’s sixth goal (again on the man advantage) a minute later, as Francois Beauchemin’s shot was knocked down. Silfverberg picked up the loose change and buried it.
Perry got goal No. 7 and his second of the night halfway through the third, putting a shot on net that deflected off defenseman Kevin Bieksa’s stick on its way into the net.
Things got out of hand with 7:11 left in the third as Tom Sestito and Jannik Hansen were each given multiple penalties for instigating fights, giving the Ducks an unusual seven minutes of a two-man advantage.
The Ducks showed a little bit of mercy in only scoring twice on that lengthy man advantage, as Selanne picked up a loose puck left of the net and roofed it for his second of the evening. It was the first multiple-goal game of the year for the 43-year-old Selanne in his swan song season.
A bit later, Vatanen one-timed a shot from the left circle that clicked off Hamhuis’ stick and dove inside the far post.
The Canucks piled up a few more penalties before the horn mercifully sounded. "I don’t like those kinds of games," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "You don’t want to ever intentionally embarrass another team. I’ve been on the other end of those scores, so I know what it feels like."
Added Selanne, "We didn’t want to finish the game like that. I know there were a couple of guys who had a chance to get a hat trick, but it’s almost embarrassing to even try. But, what are you going to say? It’s a good thing we won. But we can’t really get too high about this one."