ANAHEIM - On a night when they honored Scott Niedermayer by raising his number 27 to the rafters, the Ducks put together a game that would make the greatest winner in hockey history proud.
Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg each had a pair of goals and Anaheim held the high-flying Washington Capitals to just 25 shots in a 5-2 whitewashing before an overflow crowd of 17,495 at Honda Center. It was a modest second win in the last three games for Anaheim after enduring a seven-game losing streak. And after scoring just three goals in their last four games, the five the Ducks tallied tonight were their most since they scored six on December 12 vs. Dallas.
"We played a full 60 minutes we've been searching for," Henrique said. "No matter what happened in the game, we responded and stuck to the game plan. We kept putting pucks in, kept getting pressure and kept skating."
Ryan Miller, playing his first game since December 9 with a knee injury had 23 saves in earning a historic 375th career victory, passing John Vanbiesbrouck for most victories among U.S.-born goaltenders.
"Very satisfying being able to come off injury and make a difference in the game," Miller said. "Pretty emotional for a couple reasons. When you have a knee injury, it's always uncertain what's going to happen. It took a lot longer than I hoped. But there was satisfaction tonight. The boys played a great game. I was able to get back in. I had a few clunky moments, but I worked through it. It's quite a nice feeling to get the win."
He actually tied the record in a comeback victory over these same Caps back on December 2, giving Anaheim two wins and a season sweep against the defending Stanley Cup champs.
The pregame featured the emotional jersey retirement of Niedermayer, which included amusing speeches from brother Rob, owner Henry Samueli, the comedy duo of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, and of course, Niedermayer himself. Niedermayer thanked a litany of people, going so far as to name every player on the 2007 Ducks team that won California's First Cup with him as captain and describe their attributes.
Video: WSH@ANA: Ducks raise Niedermayer's No. 27 to rafters
Niedermayer, who became the third player in Ducks history to have his number retired - after Selanne and Kariya - said, "It's an amazing honor my number will be up there with you two guys."
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013, Niedermayer was the first player in hockey history to win a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title. He is also the only player in hockey history to have won a combination of four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. A 2003-04 James Norris Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL's top defenseman, Niedermayer was named an NHL All-Star six times during his NHL career (1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009).
Of the numerous Ducks records he has held, one was actually eclipsed tonight, as Cam Fowler's assist on Anaheim's fourth goal of the game gave him 205th in his Ducks career, passing Niedermayer for most all time among franchise defensemen.
"His legacy here will be something nobody will be able to fill," Fowler said. "For me, it's a great accomplishment. I hope everything for him was fantastic because he's well-respected and well-loved around here. He deserves the best. I hope he had a great night."
The Ducks all wore jerseys with the number 27 and Niedermayer on the backs during warmups.
"It was a pretty special night," Fowler said. "As players here, we have to pay tribute to the guys who came before us and some of the legends who helped grow the game around this area. Nobody bigger than Scotty. To wear his jersey during warmups, listen to him speak, listen to guys speak before the game was really special. I don't know if it gave our guys a jolt, but it was one of our best games in a long time."
The Ducks actually trailed early when Alex Ovechkin's 40th goal of the season put the Caps on top 1-0 five minutes in, a shot from the left wing on the power play that snuck under Millers armpit.
Henrique got his first of two on that night early in the second, getting his stick on a Brandon Montour one-timer from the point and bouncing it under goalie Braden Holtby.
Video: WSH@ANA: Henrique nets wicked redirection from circle
"It was nice just to get on the board," Henrique said. "The last couple games, my game has felt right there. It's nice to get a couple tonight and go from there. Just keep building on everything we've talked about the last week or so."
Later in the period Anaheim took its first lead of the game on Silfverberg's team-leading 14th goal, a beauty of a give-and-go with Henrique, who returned the puck to Silfverberg on the doorstep.
Video: WSH@ANA: Silfverberg finishes pretty passing play
After Washington tied the game again late in the second, the Ducks went back in front just 37 seconds into the third when Henrique punched in a loose puck from just outside the crease on the power play.
Video: WSH@ANA: Henrique slams in PPG for his second of game
The Ducks made it 4-2 three minutes later on the power play, when Cam Fowler made a beautiful cross-ice feed to Corey Perry for the one-timer. It was the first goal of the season for Perry, who missed 51 games following knee surgery.
Video: WSH@ANA: Fowler, Perry connect for power-play goal
Silfverberg's second of the evening (and 15th of the season) put the game away with 5:05 left, a wicked snipe from the right wing circle that popped the water bottle.
Video: WSH@ANA: Silfverberg snipes home top-shelf goal
The Ducks hit the road for a four-game trip that starts Tuesday in Minnesota.