ANAHEIM - While the Ducks certainly missed having Jakob Silfverberg the past few games, he sure made his presence felt in a triumphant return tonight.
Silfverberg missed three games with an upper-body injury and took that time, plus the All-Star break to recover and return to the lineup this evening, scoring two goals and adding an assist in a 5-1 defeat of the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center.
Silfverberg's opened the scoring in the first period and added some insurance in the third, giving him 15 on the season and helping Anaheim (28-15-9) down the cellar-dwelling Avalanche, 30th in the league with a 13-32-2 record.
"You have to win no matter who you play," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "If you're going to be a top team, you're going to have to win your share of games. You can't give points away. It's a vast importance to win your home games. Your home record has to be strong. We want to make this a tough place to come into."
The Ducks went 1-2-0 without Silfverberg, including a 4-0 defeat to Edmonton last Wednesday, the final game before the All-Star break.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks having to watch the guys play," said Silfverberg this morning. "The All-Star break came at a good time for me. I worked out pretty hard during the break to be ready."
The Ducks were sparked by the return of Silfverberg and center Nate Thompson, who got in his first game of the year after missing the first 51 games of the campaign with a torn Achilles.
Silfverberg and the Ducks took advantage of a power play near the halfway point of the first period, but with only two seconds left on the man advantage. That's when a Nick Ritchie feed from the left wing was redirected by Silfverberg just inside the near post for his 14th goal of the year.
Video: COL@ANA: Silfverberg redirects Ritchie's feed for PPG
"I think our line [of him, Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano] did a good job," Silfverberg said. "We took pucks to the net and got rewarded for that. A lot of (offense) comes from confidence. It helps playing with Kesler and Cogliano. Nothing too fancy, just hard work."
Anaheim made it 2-0 about three minutes into the second period on another beautiful tip play, as Corey Perry made a beautiful feed to Rickard Rakell on the doorstep. It was the team-leading 21st goal for Rakell in just 41 games and the 700th career point for Perry, all in a Ducks uniform. Perry became the third Duck all-time to reach the 700 points milestone, behind only Teemu Selanne (988) and Ryan Getzlaf (779).
Video: COL@ANA: Rakell taps in Perry's 700th career point
Just 2 1/2 minutes after that goal though, Colorado cut the lead in half when Mikko Rantanen wristed a shot past goalie John Gibson on a breakaway. That was the only blemish on the night for Gibson, who had 28 saves.
Silfverberg's second of the night put the Ducks back in front by two, as he snuck behind the defense to take in a Cogliano pass, and deked goalie Calvin Pickard before backhanding it home.
Video: COL@ANA: Silfverberg nets silky backhand for second
Korbinian Holzer's first goal as a Duck effectively slammed the door on the game, as his wrister from the point sailed through traffic and beat Pickard stick side. It was Holzer's first goal since February 9, 2013 while with Toronto, a span of exactly 100 games.
Video: COL@ANA: Holzer pots long-range shot to pad lead
Of his last goal, he said with a laugh, "I remember. It's been a while. I remember both of them before that. It's a good feeling to get the monkey off my back. I'm probably not going to turn into a goal scorer, but it's nice for me. I'm happy I can help the team win."
Cam Fowler kicked the Avs while they were down, burying a shot from the slot on the rush off a Ritchie pass to make it 5-1. Fowler, who played in his first All-Star Game over the weekend in LA, established a new career high with his 11th goal.
"A win's a win no matter how you get it," Fowler said. "First period was a little bit sloppy. We gave them some momentum in the game, but I liked our game in the second and third periods. We got the win and that's all that matters heading into the road trip."
After having the luxury of playing 10 of 14 games in January at Honda Center, the Ducks play just three home games in February. They leave tomorrow to fly cross-country for that 14-day trip that starts Friday at Florida and Saturday at Tampa.
"It's going to be a lot of travel," Silfverberg said, "but having this win in the bag is going to help."