ANAHEIM - The Anaheim Ducks not only trounced the visiting Arizona Coyotes tonight at Honda Center, they also maintained a bittersweet trend they've set over the past few games.
The Ducks, who have seemed to play a great game followed by a clunker followed by a great game over the past week and a half, sustained the pattern with a 5-1 rout of the Coyotes. Tonight's win followed a 5-1 defeat at Honda Center two nights ago to the Penguins, a game that followed a 4-0 shutout of the Kings, and so on.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said prior to the game he needed "a higher level of focus from our group," and he got that tonight from the Ducks who scored early and often and held the young Coyotes at bay defensively (22 shots on goal).
Ten different Ducks scored a point tonight, led by Rickard Rakell, who had two goals and an assist in just his third game back after missing the first nine.
"It felt great. The whole team was feeling it in the first period," Rakell said. "We had a little letdown in the second period, but we finished strong in the third. We got on their defensemen, turned pucks over and won faceoffs. That shows how we're going to get our scoring chances."
The Ducks got on the board near the halfway point of the first, with 32 seconds left in a power play, when a wide open Kevin Bieksa hammered home a slap shot from the top of the left wing circle and for some reason tried to lift Rakell into the air with both arms in celebration.
Video: ARI@ANA: Bieksa scores power-play goal from the point
"We're happy with this response game," Bieksa said. "Before the game, we were aware that our last two games at home weren't good. We had a day in between to prepare. We came in with the right mindset and played a good, solid game."
Anaheim made it 2-0 a few minutes later on the rush when Corey Perry faked a shot from right wing and instead slid it cross-ice to Rakell, who slung it past goalie Louis Domingue.
Just before the end of the period, the lead became 3-0 on a beautiful blind pass from behind the net by Antoine Vermette to Jakob Silfverberg, who backhanded the puck under the crossbar from in close.
Antoine Vermette's second goal as a Duck made it 4-0, as he pounced on a loose puck above the left wing circled and hammered it past replacement goalie Justin Peters stick side.
Arizona got one back with 3:28 left in the period after John Gibson made a point blank stop on former Duck Jamie McGinn, but McGinn put in the rebound.
Anaheim added one more with 5:49 left when the puck was kicked around in the Arizona crease and Rakell jammed it under Peters' leg pad.
"Hopefully it's a start we can build on," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We took advantage of a team that played last night. The last couple times we've had that situation, I wouldn't say we took advantage of it. But tonight we were fortunate to have more life and jump than they did."
Anaheim, which improved to 5-5-2 with the win, will try to buck the trend and play a second strong game in a row Sunday night vs. Calgary, which will be Military Appreciation Night at Honda Center.