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Ducks hang on to beat Canucks 4-3

by Curtis Zupke
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Victories might not get more difficult to come by for the Anaheim Ducks this season, but they certainly weren't counting style points.

After staking themselves to a four-goal lead going into the third period, the Ducks nearly gave it all back before holding on for a 4-3 victory against the hard-charging Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

Anaheim was outshot 22-2 and outscored 3-0 in the third period and had to survive a 6-on-4  advantage by Vancouver in the final minute before snapping an 0-4-2 slide.

"We were almost afraid of losing," said goalie Jonas Hiller, who survived the barrage. "After that many games where it doesn't go your way, you kind of (don't) have the confidence to keep pushing, keep pushing. I thought we backed off a little too much and gave them too much, especially in the third. But in the end, we found a way."

Hiller made a big stop on Ryan Kesler in the final seconds to relieve the sellout crowd, which watched Vancouver get two goals from Jannik Hansen and another from Kevin Bieksa to pull to 4-3 with 6:56 remaining.

Vancouver spent long periods in Anaheim's zone, and it resulted in Hansen's second goal in which he banged in the puck from the left of a sprawled Hiller.

"It seemed like they had puck possession for 20 minutes in our own zone," Hiller said. "My legs were sore five minutes into the period. We gave them too much. They had all the speed coming through the neutral zone, and our defensemen had no chance to stand up or do anything."

Vancouver finished its six-game trip with a 3-3-0 record, including a split of two games in Southern California.

The Canucks trailed 4-0 before Bieksa was credited with a goal although his shot attempt appeared to hit Cody Hodgson on its way in at 4:32. Hansen scored at 9:12 and then made it a one-goal game at 13:04.

Until that point, Anaheim appeared to be cruising to victory after a major elbowing penalty by Vancouver's Aaron Rome spurred a four-goal second period and shook the Ducks out of a 1-for-17 power-play slump. The Ducks led 1-0 before Rome's elbow on Devante Smith-Pelly near the Ducks' bench. Smith-Pelly was shaken up on the play but later returned.

Not only did the Ducks take advantage with two goals on the power play, they displayed solid passing and proper dirty work in front of the net.

"It was something that we needed," Corey Perry said. "(Coach) Randy (Carlyle) said we got the fridge off our back and it kind of got us going again.

"We won, 4-3, and we take the two points and move on. It doesn't matter how you do it. It could be ugly. It could be the way we did it tonight. For 40 minutes, we moved our feet, we played our game, we scored on the power play. We really held them to not much."

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he didn't have a good angle and didn't see the replay of Rome's hit.

"Obviously Aaron's penalty was a key moment in this game," Vigneault said. "Even though they didn't get a lot, they got two goals. We tried to battle back real hard in the third. We probably played one of our best periods of the year, but we came up short."

Anaheim's four-goal second period was its first since April 6.

Bobby Ryan finished off a rush with a perfectly saucered pass to a streaking Andrew Cogliano, who broke in on Roberto Luongo and deked left to put it away for a 2-0 lead at 12:45. Perry made it 3-0 by swatting home Ryan Getzlaf's rebound in the crease, and after the long power play ended, rookie Peter Holland wristed a shot from the left circle over Luongo's left shoulder for a 4-0 edge and his first NHL goal -- which ended up as the game winner.

Luongo was pulled for Corey Schneider for the third.

"It was too much to come back against," Daniel Sedin said. "We should play the whole game like we did in the third period. That's the bottom line."

A Vancouver turnover started the scoring for Anaheim when Dan Hamhuis banked a pass off the end boards that was easily intercepted by Cogliano, who fed Saku Koivu for a one-timer 25 seconds into the middle period.

Both teams went 0 for 2 on the power play in the first period.  Perry took himself out of the game for seven minutes with a slashing penalty and subsequent fight against Keith Ballard.

Alexandre Burrows returned to Vancouver's lineup for the first time in a week from a back injury suffered a week ago, but Vigneault made a key adjustment when he put Hansen with Daniel and Henrik Sedin for the third period instead of Burrows.

Vancouver center Andrew Ebbett was scratched. Ebbett tweeted before the game that he broke his foot Thursday night, and Vigneault said it was fractured but not displaced.

During the first intermission, three Army and Marines soldiers were given mortgage-free homes as a surprise gift through the Military Warriors Support Program.
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