By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – After thoroughly dominating one Eastern Conference foe two nights ago, the Ducks kept it going against another one tonight at Honda Center.
Fresh off a 4-0 victory of Toronto on Wednesday night, the Ducks took it to the visiting New Jersey Devils from start to finish in a 5-1 steamrolling that completed a lengthy homestand in satisfying fashion. The Ducks went a sparkling 6-2-0 in those eight home games and have won five of their last six. They also jumped back into the NHL standings lead with 64 points (29-10-6).
"When we play for 60 minutes and we all play together, it’s a sense of what we can do," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "When we follow game plans and do the right things, it’s a good hockey club."
Anaheim got two goals from Jakob Silfverberg and made it relatively easy on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who spelled normal starter Frederik Andersen since the Ducks play at LA tomorrow. Bryzgalov only faced 15 shots all night, stopping 14 of them in the first win of his second go-round with the Ducks.
"The team played tremendously in front of me," Bryzgalov said. "They battled hard and made my job really easy tonight. I really appreciated it."
The Ducks and Corey Perry picked up right where they left off Wednesday when Perry scored 4:09 into the game on a slightly fluky play. Perry sent the puck into the crease from the right corner, and goalie Cory Schneider reached out for it with his stick and pulled it into his own net. Including the hat trick two nights prior, it was the fourth goal in two games for Perry and his team-leading 19th of the year.
That was the first of two bad goals that defined the first period. The second came a minute into a New Jersey power play for a Sami Vatanen tripping minor when Martin Havlat’s shot from near the extended goal line snuck under Bryzgalov.
Schneider did not return for the second period with an apparent injury, and was replaced by backup Keith Kinkaid. And the Ducks went back in front a few minutes into the period when Matt Beleskey dropped the puck on the rush back to Hampus Lindholm, who sniped it past Kinkaid. Beleskey got in the scorebook one game after being a healthy scratch for the first time this year.
Andrew Cogliano helped make it a 3-1 game a couple minutes later when he held onto the puck in the corner, headed around the back of the net and fed in front to Silfverberg for the tap-in. For Silfverberg, who leads the NHL in shootout goals with six, it was the first regular season goal since December 13.
It was all part of an assertive opening two periods for the Ducks, who outshot New Jersey 27-6 in the first 40 minutes and 40-15 for the game. The Ducks held New Jersey to a single shot on goal in the second period, matching the franchise record for fewest shots allowed in a middle frame.
"Today was a good day for us," Lindholm said. "We felt good out there. We blocked shots and didn’t give them much. We know they’re a transition team, so we kept getting pucks deep and didn’t let them enter our zone easily."
Anaheim made it 4-1 with 3:33 left in the game on a long-awaited goal from Patrick Maroon, who picked up a pass near the blue line and slung a shot over Kinkaid’s glove from the slot. It was Maroon’s first since December 3 and his third of the year.
Silfverberg notched his second of the evening late in the game on a Ducks power play, hammering a slap shot from the right circle in the top corner. "It’s been a long time, and it felt good to get a couple tonight," Silfverberg said. "Hopefully I can build off of this and keep scoring more goals more frequently."
The Ducks turn right around and face the Kings tomorrow night at Staples Center, with the rivals having split the first two games of their season series.