Canucks 2, Mighty Ducks 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Vancouver Canucks made certain this trip to Anaheim wouldn’t be as ill-fated as the final one last season.

Brendan Morrison set up the tying goal by Markus Naslund and the winner by Sami Salo with 21 seconds left as the Canucks took over first place in the Northwest Division with a 2-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks on Wednesday night.

Vancouver faced similar circumstances last season with three games left. They came to Anaheim and lost. Then Canucks were edged out for the division title by Colorado on the final day.

But this time, it was different against the Ducks.

“Their goalie played great tonight, but we just kept trying to get the puck on net and we finally got a break,” Salo said.

Vancouver’s fourth straight victory gave them 41 wins and 97 points, tying Colorado’s total. The Canucks have won two more games than the Avalanche, with each team having two remaining.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good position,” Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. “We know we have a tough game coming up against San Jose. But if we are able to come up with a win, we’ll put ourselves in a real nice position for our final game.”

Ruslan Salei scored for the Ducks and Martin Gerber made 41 saves, but he couldn’t prevent Anaheim’s fourth straight loss. It was the 31st time this season the Ducks scored fewer than two goals, and the third time in a row.

“It we played as hard as our goalies do every night, we’d win 80 games,” captain Steve Rucchin said. “I feel really bad for them. It’s inexcusable for us not to step up and play for them. It’s got to be frustrating for them to be goaltending for this team.”

The Ducks, who lead the league in faceoff percentage, lost the game on a faceoff deep in their end. Morrison won the draw cleanly from Sergei Fedorov and Salo beat Gerber.

“Gerbs didn’t see the last goal,” Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said after his team was outshot 22-4 in the third period. “We’re a good faceoff team, but we just didn’t get into the lane. That’s just the way these games have gone for us.”

Playing at home for the first time since tying a club record with eight goals on March 21 against Detroit, the Ducks had to wait almost 10 1/2 minutes before getting their first shot.

They equaled a season low with just two shots in the first period, but took 17 in the second and opened the scoring at 2:38 with Salei’s fourth goal.

Naslund tied it at 6:15 of the second with his 34th goal—a shortback-hander over Gerber’s glove after Morrison set him up in the slot.

Notes

Neither team scored on the power play in the season series, with the visiting team winning all four games. Vancouver was 0-for-12 with the man advantage, Anaheim 0-for-8. … Petr Sykora returned to the Anaheim lineup after missing Sunday’s game at Minnesota. He experienced severe dehydration during last Friday’s loss at Columbus—and a rapid heartbeat after it—ending his consecutive game streak at 160. … The Canucks are 5-3-2-1 since Todd Bertuzzi was suspended for the season. … Vancouver is 3-for-49 on the power play its last 14 games, and 22nd overall in the league. Last season, the Canucks were third best in the NHL. … The Canucks, who set a franchise record for fewest goals allowed last season (208), will break that mark as long asthey don’t surrender more than 16 goals in their final two games.

Related Articles

Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
S. Salo S. Salo
Vancouver Canucks
Scored at 19:39 of 3rd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Dan Cloutier Det 23 22