Cloutier made 18 of his 44 saves in the second period, and Trevor Linden assisted on goals by Jarkko Ruutu and Mike Keane as the Vancouver Canucks extended their club-record road winning streak to seven games with a 5-2 win Friday night over Anaheim.
“Dan’s possibly been our MVP all year,” Linden said. “Tonight we came in a little tired and maybe we weren’t as sharp as we could have been, but he was on top of his game and he made the difference.”
One night after limiting the Los Angeles Kings to eight shots over the first two periods of a 3-1 victory, the Canucks allowed 33 by the Ducks before the second intermission.
Cloutier stopped all 33, but lost his shutout bid when defenseman Todd Simpson scored on a slap shot from the left point just 69 seconds into the third period.
“Dan made the saves that he needed to make, he made the saves that he should make, and he made a few others as well,” Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. “Good goaltending allows your team to become very confident.”
In a matchup featuring the leaders of the Northwest Division and the last-place team in the Pacific, Henrik Sedin scored on a two-on-none breakaway with his twin brother in the second period. Markus Naslund chased playoff MVP Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a goal that padded Vancouver’s lead to 4-0 at 13:25 of the second.
It could have been worse, but Daniel Sedin hit the left post and Henrik Sedin hit the right post a few seconds apart with about four minutes left in the middle period after Martin Gerber replaced Giguere.
“It’s not Jiggy’s fault, it’s our fault,” Petr Sykora said. “Jiggy’s there for us all the time, but you can’t give up 2-on-0 breaks in this league.”
Sykora scored for Anaheim with 2:45 to play, and Naslund added an empty-netter with 35 seconds left.
The Canucks are 10-1-1 in their last 12 road games, but 0-3-1 in their last four at home.
“I think it’s more a case of simplifying our game on the road,” Naslund said. “If we simplify our game and play hard, I think we should also be successful at home. But I think we try to put a little too much pressure on ourselves at home and try to put on a show.”
The Ducks, who have scored no more than two goals in 11 of their last 13 games, swarmed the Vancouver net for the first 9 1/2 minutes—outshooting the Canucks 12-4 and doing everything but getting the puck past Cloutier despite plenty of rebound chances.
Cloutier also had a little luck, as Sykora’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle struck the crossbar with 13 minutes left in the period.
“We found a way to weather the storm at the beginning,” Cloutier said. “It’s good to get scoring from our other lines, because it takes the pressure off the big line.”
Ruutu rewarded Cloutier for his efforts at 14:14 of the first, scoring on a short wrist shot for a 1-0 lead after Linden got the puck behind the net from Jason King and found Ruutu all alone in the slot. It was the fourth goal for Ruutu, the same total he had in 85 games over the previous two seasons.
The Canucks, who scored a league-leading 87 power-play goals last season, did not have the man advantage at any time in the game. It was the fifth time in Ducks history that they played an entire game without using their penalty-killing unit, and the first time since March 11, 2000, at St. Louis.
“We stayed out of the penalty box, but we still have to find a way to win hockey games,” Sykora said. “They played great as a team. They were waiting patiently for their chances, and when they got them, they scored. They scored on every turnover we made and we got punished for every single mistake we madeout there.”
Anaheim has not had more than two power-play opportunities in any of its last five games. … Goaltender Guy Hebert, the first player Anaheim picked in the 1993 expansion draft, also will become the first player inducted into the Mighty Ducks Hall of Fame before Sunday’s game against Columbus. … Anaheim tied a season high with its 46 shots. The Ducks also had 46 in a 2-1 win against Phoenix on Nov. 9. … Vancouver’s previous longest road winning streak was five games (Nov. 9-30, 2002). … The Canucks have played consecutive road games in Los Angeles and Anaheim on 12 occasions, and this wasthe first time they won both. They have been swept twice.