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game recap

Ducks defeat Rangers, take Pacific Division lead

New York fails to clinch Stanley Cup Playoff berth in Henrik Lundqvist's return

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- The Anaheim Ducks took over first place in the Pacific Division and prevented the New York Rangers from clinching a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's return with a 6-3 win at Honda Center on Sunday.

Ryan Getzlaf had four assists, Patrick Eaves scored two goals, Ryan Kesler had a goal and an assist and Josh Manson scored shorthanded for Anaheim, which won its season-high fourth straight game to move two points ahead of the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers.

It's the first time Anaheim (41-23-11), which was nine points back of the Sharks on March 15, has had the division lead since Jan. 23.

 

WATCH: All Rangers vs. Ducks highlights

 

"That's a good hockey team over there," Getzlaf said. "We're finding ways to win hockey games."

Rick Nash scored for the fourth straight game and Derek Stepan and Brady Skjei also had goals for New York (46-26-4), which maintained a 12-point lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

Video: NYR@ANA: Cogliano pots a rebound off the faceoff

"At the end of the night we had too many guys who brought a 'C' game," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "That's not good enough against a team playing as well as they are."

The Ducks scored two goals just over two minutes apart early in the third period to take a 5-3 lead, and Nick Ritchie scored into an empty net with 1:38 left.

Kesler won a faceoff in the New York zone and shot the puck directory at Lundqvist, who was making his first start after missing the previous eight games because of a hip injury. Lundqvist made the stop but left the rebound for Andrew Cogliano, who scored the go-ahead goal at 2:19.

Video: NYR@ANA: Eaves cashes in on a rebound in front

"Overall, I felt OK," said Lundqvist, who made 28 saves. "There were a couple reads I could do better on the odd-man rushes."

Getzlaf's takeaway in the Anaheim zone led to an odd-man rush and a 5-3 lead. He passed back to Rickard Rakell upon entering the New York zone and Rakell slid the puck to Eaves, who was charging toward the opposite post. Eaves didn't get a good piece of the puck, but banked it off Skjei's skate and over the goal line at 4:23. It was his sixth goal in 13 games since his trade from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 24.

"With Henrik coming back, his first game, we took advantage of him," Kesler said.

The Ducks came back to tie the game after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1, and the Rangers tied the game at 3-3 on a goal by Skjei at 13:10 of the second period.

Video: NYR@ANA: Eaves finishes slick passing play in the 3rd

 
Goal of the game

Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad knocked down an Anaheim pass in the neutral zone, setting up a 2-on-1 with Jimmy Vesey. Zibanejad passed to his left and Vesey waited for a trailing Skjei before sliding the puck back. Skjei, on his 23rd birthday, scored under the glove of Jonathan Bernier.

Video: NYR@ANA: Skjei powers home one-timer on his birthday

 
Save of the game

With the score tied 3-3, Rangers forward Chris Kreider took a long stretch pass that was banked off the side boards and skated into the Anaheim zone. Kreider sent a hard shot at Bernier, who made the save at 18:02 of the second period.

Video: NYR@ANA: Bernier turns away Kreider on the rush

 
Highlight of the game

Manson slipped and fell as he was preparing to shoot a rebound from the high slot, leading to a 3-on-1 for the Rangers. Kreider passed the puck into the middle to Mats Zuccarello, got it back and passed it to Stepan, who was closing in on the opposite post. Stepan scored his 15th goal of the season for a 2-1 lead at 14:32 of the first period.

Video: NYR@ANA: Stepan finishes tic-tac-toe passing play

 
Unsung performance of the game

Ducks forward Chris Wagner continues to earn opportunities to play with the fourth line and find a variety of ways to contribute. He drew a first-period tripping penalty on Nash after stealing the puck in the neutral zone. He also tied for the team lead with five hits and blocked a shot in 9:45.

 

They said it

"I know Henrik, we all do. He's going to get better." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

"[Getzlaf] is our leader. He's the guy that should be driving the bus." -- Ducks forward Ryan Kesler

 
Need to know

The Ducks are 10-1 since Feb. 14 against teams in the top eight in their respective conferences and 2-4-1 against the rest. ... Getzlaf has 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in the past 12 games. ... Zuccarello has nine points (three goals, six assists) in the past eight games. ... Zibanejad has five assists in the past three games. ... Nash's goal streak is his longest since he scored in four consecutive games from Nov. 21-27, 2015.

 
What's next

Rangers: At the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, CSN-CA, MSG, NHL.TV)

Ducks: At the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, PRIME, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Getzlaf's four assists power Ducks past Rangers, 6-3

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