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Canucks open homestand with win against Ducks

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- The Anaheim Ducks aren't used to losing close games in regulation this season.

They aren't used to losing at all in regulation against the Vancouver Canucks for the past two years.

For a while, it seemed those trends would continue Monday. But after Emerson Etem tied the game in the third period, Zack Kassian scored the go-ahead goal with 3:59 left and Eddie Lack made 29 saves to help Vancouver to a 2-1 win at Rogers Arena, giving the Canucks their first regulation win against Anaheim in more than two years.

"I think whenever you play them you're going to have a battle," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "You look at all their one-goal games, that's just how they play."

The Ducks aren't used to losing those games. Anaheim was 26-0-7 in one-goal games, the only team yet to lose by a goal in regulation before Monday.

"We're definitely comfortable playing in them," captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Eventually it was going to bite us."

It came within inches of going the other way, but one minute after Lack scooped a loose puck off the goal line, Kassian squeezed the winning goal through the legs of Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen at the other end.

"I knew it was either on me or behind me," Lack said. "I dragged my blocker behind me to cover all my bases."

Defenseman Dan Hamhuis led a rush into the Anaheim end, faking a shot before driving wide and down to the goal line for a pass to Kassian in the slot for a quick shot through Andersen that trickled a foot over the line behind him.

"I squeaked it by him," Kassian said. "(Hamhuis) made a great play finding me at the net. It just had enough."

Rookie Bo Horvat scored for the Canucks (38-24-4), who started a five-game homestand by defeating Anaheim in regulation for the first time in 11 games dating back to Jan. 25, 2013. Vancouver moved three points ahead of the idle Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division.

"The whole team was contributing; goaltending all the way through," Horvat said. "We were doing the little things, playing well defensively. That was a huge win for us."

Andersen made 14 saves for the Ducks (42-19-7), who were 9-0-1 against Vancouver since their most recent loss in regulation. Anaheim has lost two straight after winning the previous four and is now tied with the Nashville Predators atop the NHL standings with 91 points.

"Listen, we hate to lose and I am mad and frustrated as anybody. But that was not a bad effort," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We shut them down defensively. We just have to find a way to score."

Anaheim nearly opened the scoring, but Getzlaf muffed a shot with Lack down and out and hit the crossbar just over one minute in.

"I got it off my toe and back foot and it almost worked out perfect because he kind of overreacted to it," Getzlaf said.

Instead the Canucks, who had given up the first goal in six straight games and 17 of 21 and fallen behind 2-0 in the past four, opened the scoring midway through the first period.

A harmless looking shot off the rush bounced out of Andersen's glove and Jannik Hansen chipped the loose puck back to Horvat above the right faceoff dot. Horvat beat Andersen low on the glove side through a maze of defenders for his 11th goal of the season.

Neither Horvat nor Lack was playing for the Canucks the previous time they defeated Anaheim in regulation.

Horvat, a 19-year-old center, wasn't drafted yet. Lack was still in the American Hockey League, stuck behind Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider, who was traded for the pick used to select Horvat ninth at the 2013 NHL Draft. But those two combined to keep Vancouver ahead while despite outshot 20-10 through two periods on Monday.

Playing his ninth straight game since No.1 goalie Ryan Miller injured his knee, Lack got his left pad on Cam Fowler's shot from the slot a minute after Horvat's goal and stretched out the same pad to rob Corey Perry on a backdoor tap-in during a power play early in the second period.

"He was unbelievable," Horvat said. "We needed him to step up and he stepped up huge. He made some key saves."

The Ducks were outshooting Vancouver 26-10 when Etem finally tied it 8:40 into the third period. After a couple of failed chances to clear by former Anaheim center Nick Bonino, the Ducks worked it behind the net to center Nate Thompson, who sent it out front to Etem alone between two defenders in the slot for a one-timer past Lack. It was the 100th career point for Thompson and Etem's fifth goal this season.

The goal seemed to wake the Canucks; they had the next five shots, forcing Andersen to make big saves on Alexander Edler and Kassian.

"It kind of woke us up a bit," Horvat said.

Despite that, Perry almost put the Ducks ahead from a sharp angle with 5:20 left when his shot trickled through Lack and fell onto the goal line. But Lack reached back with the blocker as fell backwards and managed to keep the puck from completely crossing.

Perry credited Lack, but lamented his inability to finish his two best chances, especially since each came off nice cross-ice passes from defenseman James Wisniewski in his first game for the Ducks.

"Those are ones I have to put in the back of the net," Perry said.

Thompson hit a post late in the game. Wisniewski, who had his equipment flown to Vancouver by Ducks general manager Bob Murray in the afternoon, missed on a couple of point shots during a 6-on-4 advantage in the final minutes.

"A little bit lucky at the end," said Lack, who is 4-1-1 since Miller's injury. "I'm feeling good right now, I'm not going to lie. It's fun playing right now, playing these hard games, tough games."

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