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Ducks too much for Canucks

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The final score was lopsided, but center Saku Koivu said the Anaheim Ducks' 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night was much harder than it looked.

The Ducks took a 3-1 lead into the third period against a Canucks team fighting for its playoff life. Anaheim needed some big saves early from rookie goaltender Frederik Andersen and got third-period goals from right winger Corey Perry and center Mathieu Perreault to claim the victory.

"Sometimes you get that fourth and fifth goal at the end of the third period and it makes it look like an easy night," said Koivu, who had a goal and an assist. "The score really didn't give you the true story.

"We kept it simple tonight. Early on, Freddie made the saves that kept us in the game and grabbed momentum from their side."

The Canucks, desperate to avoid missing the playoff for the first time since 2008, outplayed the Ducks for long stretches but were thwarted by Andersen, who finished with 31 saves.

The Canucks could have taken an early lead, but Andersen dragged the puck off the goal line on a shot from right winger Brad Richardson while the Canucks were playing short-handed.

In the second period, Andersen gloved a blistering shot from defenseman Yannick Weber and denied center Ryan Kesler at the side net.

"Every time you go out on the ice you want to prove you can play," said Andersen, who improved his record to 17-5. "I just want to take every game I can and try and get more wins."

Koivu has been impressed by Andersen, who was named the game's first star.

"Coming into the season we didn't know how he was going to be," Koivu said. "He's been amazing. He's very calm."

The Ducks got goals 71 seconds apart in the first period from defenseman Luca Sbisa and left winger Matt Beleskey. Perry also added an assist for the Ducks, who have won three of their last four games.

Koivu's goal broke a lengthy scoring drought.

"It's encouraging when you get some goals and some results, you get that little more confident," said Koivu, who has 10 goals and 27 points this season. "Hopefully, we can be part of the scoring a little more often."

Right winger Brad Richardson scored the only goal for Vancouver.

"We made a few mistakes and that cost us," Vancouver left winger Daniel Sedin said. "Overall, we played a really good game. They are an opportunistic team over there. They have some skill up front."

Kesler could only shake his head over Vancouver's missed chances and mistakes that lead to Anaheim opportunities.

"It's tough," he said. "You work hard and it just doesn't happen.

"We're missing the net when we should hit the net. We're turning the puck over. It's not from a lack of work, it's from a lack of execution."

The win improved Anaheim's record to 48-18-8 for 104 points and moved them into first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks set a franchise record with their 23rd road victory and tied a team mark for 48 wins.

Koivu said winning the division would be nice, but it is not the Ducks' main goal.

"I think we are more trying to pay attention to our game and the way we play," he said. "We haven't been as consistent as we'd like to lately.

"In the end, it doesn't really matter if you are going to finish first or second. You want to take some push into the playoffs. You have to get your own game where it has to be. It would be great to finish first, but we will see how it goes."

The Canucks hit another pothole on the road to the playoffs. The loss dropped their record to 34-31-11 for 79 points, leaving them five points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Vancouver has six games remaining; four are against teams that have playoff spots locked up.

NOTES: Vancouver outshot Anaheim 21-14 in the second period. ... C Saku Koivu's second-period goal was his first in 17 games for the Ducks. ... Anaheim C Ryan Getzlaf and Vancouver RW Alex Burrows squared off in a second-period fight. ... Ducks RW Teemu Selanne sat out the game but is expected to play when Anaheim returns to Vancouver on April 7. ... Rookie C Rickard Rakell collected his second career point with an assist on Anaheim's second goal. ... Canucks RW Zack Kassian's first-period assist extended his points streak to four games (2 goals, 5 assists). ... D Kevin Bieksa played despite suffering a leg injury in the Canucks' 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado on Thursday. ... Vancouver LW Daniel Sedin was recognized during the first period for scoring his 800th career point on Thursday. ... The Ducks beat the Canucks in their three previous meetings, outscoring them 16-5.

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