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game recap

Ducks blank Capitals to win Pacific Division

Andersen makes 24 saves; Anaheim will play Nashville to start playoffs

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- The Anaheim Ducks didn't even consider resting their best players with the Pacific Division title on the line.

"There was no question," forward Corey Perry said. "We were never asked."

The Ducks clinched their fourth consecutive division title by defeating the Washington Capitals 2-0 on Sunday at Verizon Center.

"We kind of had to scratch and claw to get this division," defenseman Cam Fowler said. "Any time you're able to win the division it's a heck of an accomplishment. With what we've gone through this year and kind of the ups and downs that we've had, this one has a little more meaning to me. It certainly means a lot to us to be able to win this one."

Video: ANA@WSH: Ritchie deflects Santorelli's shot into net

The Ducks won the division after they were 16 points out of first place at the halfway point of the season. They went 34-10-5 after the Christmas break. Anaheim also became the first team since the New York Islanders in 1984-85 to finish with the NHL's best power play (23.2 percent) and penalty kill (87.2 percent).

Perry and Nick Ritchie scored in the second period for Anaheim (46-25-11), and Frederik Andersen made 24 saves in his sixth NHL shutout. Andersen played for the first time since sustaining a concussion on March 30.

"Freddie was tremendous," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "That could've been as good as I've ever seen him. His movements, he was square to the puck, there was no extra movements in his game. He certainly was sending a message to us that I know he hasn't played for a little bit but he's ready for the playoffs, as well."

Boudreau has won eight division titles in nine seasons.

The shutout gave the Ducks' goaltenders the William M. Jennings Trophy for the first time in franchise history. The Jennings Trophy is awarded to the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against. Andersen and John Gibson helped the Ducks allow a total of 192 goals (including four shootout losses).

Video: ANA@WSH: Andersen robs Chimera, preserves shutout

"When we weren't scoring goals at the beginning of the year, and we said, 'Hey, listen, we'd better be good defensively or we're not going to win any games,' they jumped right on board because they'd rather win games than score goals," Boudreau said.

The Ducks finished one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. They will host the Nashville Predators on Friday in Game 1 of their Western Conference First Round series.

"They're a very good team," Perry said of the Predators. "They've got some great defensemen and got some firepower up front, so you've got to be aware of them. It's going to be a good series and we're excited for it to begin."

Video: ANA@WSH: Perry opens scoring early on a wrap-around

Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves for Washington (56-18-8). The Presidents' Trophy-winning Capitals rested several of their regulars in a game that was rescheduled from Jan. 22 because of a snowstorm.

"It was sort of a typical Game 82 that you'll see around the league when both teams have punched their ticket," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Obviously, they had something on the line tonight to jump over L.A. I think what you find in Game 82 is everybody is just trying to get through it, especially if you've punched your ticket. It wasn't anything physical. It was little bit flat probably on both sides."

Perry made it 1-0 at 4:34 of the second period. Ryan Garbutt sent a behind-the-back pass to Perry behind the net and Perry scored on a wraparound for his 34th of the season.

Ritchie scored at 6:36 to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. Mike Santorelli threw the puck toward the net and Ritchie tipped it past Grubauer for his second goal.

Video: ANA@WSH: Caps honor Williams for 1,000th game

Washington goaltender Braden Holtby did not start, leaving him tied with Martin Brodeur for NHL single-season wins with 48. Brodeur set the record in the 2006-07 season.

The Capitals also scratched forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, and defensemen Brooks Orpik and John Carlson. It was the 29th game Ovechkin has missed in his NHL career.

"Not a bad effort, though, for the last one, when there's not a whole lot on the line for us and we're thinking about next week more than we are tonight," Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen said.

Capitals forward Justin Williams played in his 1,000th NHL game and was honored with a pregame ceremony.

The Ducks were without goalie John Gibson and center Ryan Kesler, who were sent back to Anaheim after a 5-3 win at the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Each is nursing a lower-body injury.

Video: Andersen earns shutout, Ducks claim Pacific Division

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