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Recap: Rakell Pots Two as Ducks Crunch Leafs 5-2

Anaheim scores four unanswered after trailing midway through the second period to win its first game out of the bye week

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady /

ANAHEIM - NHL teams haven't typically come out of the gate well after their bye weeks, but the Ducks bucked that trend thanks to a guy who hasn't slowed down all season. 

Rickard Rakell had two goals - his team-leading 25th and 26th of the season - as the Ducks came roaring back to down the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at Honda Center.

The Ducks, who were the last team in the NHL to take the bye week put in place by the NHL this season, had four full days off after playing last Saturday in LA before returning to practice late afternoon yesterday. And they defied a pattern that had seen the other NHL teams go 9-16-4 in their first game after the bye. 

"Other teams are chasing us, but we want to focus on ourselves," Rakell said. "We have a lot to prove. We want to keep building and get better for every game."

Anaheim did trail the Leafs midway through the second period, but goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Rakell within a span of 16 seconds surged the Ducks ahead, and they didn't look back. 

"I liked our response," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We got down 2-1 and came back and scored two quick ones. We got more into the groove of how we need to play. Once we started to shoot the puck, we seemed to create more momentum for ourselves."

The Ducks may have been expecting to face former teammate Frederik Andersen in net tonight, but instead another former Anaheim netminder - Curtis McElhinney - got the start since Andersen played in last night's shootout loss to LA. Anaheim peppered him with 35 shots, getting four past him and adding an empty netter from newcomer Patrick Eaves late in the game. 

The Ducks countered with former Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier with John Gibson still on the shelf with a lower-body injury, and Bernier had a strong night with 37 saves. Bernier called the win, "A big two points tonight. Coming off that break, you never know how you're going to play or if the timing is going to be there. We got ourselves ready for tonight. We played well."

Rakell's first goal opened the scoring halfway through the first when recent call-up Chris Wagner chased down the puck on the right wing and walked around defenseman Alexey Marchenko before feeding Rakell for the one-timer. 

Video: TOR@ANA: Wagner, Rakell connect to open the scoring

Toronto got even with 3:45 left in the period when a Nikita Zaitsev shot from the point was deflected in front by Zach Hyman and got past Bernier. Anaheim challenged that Toronto was offside just prior to the goal but the call on the ice stood. 

Corey Perry's third penalty of the game, this one for tripping, stung the Ducks 5:53 into the second period when Nazem Kadri swatted in an airborne puck on the power play to make it 2-1 Toronto.

Anaheim got even near the halfway point of the period when Silfverberg lifted a backhand over McElhinney from a tough angle off a rebound.  

Video: TOR@ANA: Silfverberg roofs own rebound to tie game

Within a flash, the Ducks went back in front when Hampus Lindholm threw the puck on net and it was deflected by Rakell off McElhinney, with Rakell punching in the fat rebound. It marked Rakell's fourth multi-goal game of the season. 

Video: TOR@ANA: Rakell sweeps in rebound for his second goal

"Everyone in the room knows the importance of these games," Silfverberg said. "We knew we had to pick up the pace. We've been on and off lately. We did a really good job."

Anaheim took a two-goal lead a 1:19 into the third period when Ryan Getzlaf made a beautiful feed through a crowd to Sami Vatanen's stick, and he one-timed it home. It was the third of the year for Vatanen and the first since December 11. 

Video: TOR@ANA: Vatanen one-times Getzlaf's incredible dish

Anaheim slammed the door with 1:14 left in the game and McElhinney on the bench for an extra attacker, as Eaves put the puck in the middle of the net from his own blue line. It was his 22nd of the season but first since being acquired from Dallas last Saturday. 

The Ducks will look to keep it going Sunday evening when they take on the Canucks at Honda Center.

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