The Ducks got two goals by Bobby Ryan and 34 saves by Curtis McElhinney on Wednesday night as they beat the Canucks 4-3 at Rogers Arena, handing Vancouver its first home loss in regulation since Dec. 5.
Ryan's first goal, a backhander at 4:12 of the second period, came off a slick pass by Ryan Getzlaf, who was playing his first game since taking a puck to the face on Dec. 28 and sustaining sinus fractures.
"The game progressed pretty well for me," Getzlaf said. "As I went along, it slowed down for me. We played a lot better as the game went on."
Ryan, who usually plays on a line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry, said he had no trouble re-adapting to his new/old center.
"I think he hadn't missed a beat," he said. "There were a couple of shifts early where Getzy has to get his timing back. He missed a lot of hockey, but the on-ice intangibles, the plays that he makes and the passes that he feeds -- like on (my) first goal. You can't replace that. We'll take our captain back, and (Perry) and I will certainly take our center back."
The win kept the Ducks in seventh place in the West, one point ahead of Calgary and two in front of ninth-place Minnesota.
Ryan's goal made it 3-0, but the Canucks refused to quit. Goals by Daniel Sedin at 7:22 of the second and Alex Burrows at 5:42 of the third had the sellout crowd of 18.860 thinking comeback. Ryan quieted things down again when he beat Cory Schneider to the short side off a perfect pass by Teemu Selanne at 6:10.
That proved to be the winner when Ryan Kesler got his 32nd of the season with 21 seconds to play, giving the Ducks four victories in their last five games. Vancouver lost in regulation for the first time in 10 games and just the third time in its last 30. The Canucks remained nine points ahead of Detroit in the race for first place in the West.
The defeat also cost the Canucks the services of defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who was injured 6:29 into the third period after his head bounced hard off the end glass following a shoulder hit by Getzlaf. Hamhuis lay flat on the ice for several minutes before being helped to the dressing room. Fellow Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard sprained his knee on Monday.
"Dan has got the glass plastered to his face right now," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He has got a big red mark, but he seemed fine.".
The Ducks wasted little time taking the lead. Rookie goalie Cory Schneider made two good stops off Selanne on the game's first shift, but Selanne slipped a pass to Jason Blake, who fought off a check and beat Schneider past the blocker 56 seconds into the game.
McElhinney, filling in for injured starter Jonas Hiller, preserved the lead by robbing Mikael Samuelsson with his left pad, stuffing Cody Hodgson and foiling Henrik Sedin's tip-in try with his right leg -- all in first seven minutes.
Brandon McMillan made it 2-0 when he got behind Henrik Sedin's backcheck to redirect Dan Sexton's pass out of the corner 3:26 into the second. On the next shift, Getzlaf's spinning blind backhand pass then left Ryan with a wide-open net for a 3-0 lead.
"Our starts have been real good and that first shift tonight we gave them three scoring chances and they scored," Vigneault said. "In the second half of the game I thought our guys battled hard to try and come back. It's a tough league to battle back when you are down buy a couple of goals."
Anaheim managed just one shot the rest of the period and Vancouver carried the play after Sedin's power-play goal, but Sedin hit the side of an empty net with a rebound and McElhinney robbed Mason Raymond twice in the final minute.
Burrows finished Henrik Sedin's passout for his 100th NHL goal to make it 3-2. But Ryan restored the lead 27 seconds later on Anaheim's second shot since its third goal.
"We didn't play good enough," Henrik Sedin said. "We were sloppy for two periods. Our shifts were too long and there were too many turnovers."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Jason Blake (11) ASST: Teemu Selanne (32), Toni Lydman (18)|
1 - 0 ANA
|Brandon McMillan (6) ASST: Dan Sexton (5), Andreas Lilja (5)|
2 - 0 ANA
|Bobby Ryan (24) ASST: Ryan Getzlaf (25), Corey Perry (29)|
3 - 0 ANA
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (29) ASST: Mikael Samuelsson (24), Ryan Kesler (22)|
3 - 1 ANA
|Alexandre Burrows (15) ASST: Henrik Sedin (55), Daniel Sedin (42)|
3 - 2 ANA
|Bobby Ryan (25) ASST: Teemu Selanne (33), Lubomir Visnovsky (36)|
4 - 2 ANA
|Ryan Kesler (32) ASST: Daniel Sedin (43), Kevin Bieksa (12)|
4 - 3 ANA
|Kevin Bieksa Roughing against Corey Perry|
|Ryan Kesler Holding against Ryan Getzlaf|
|Teemu Selanne Tripping against Daniel Sedin|