Corey Perry completed his second career hat trick with an empty-net goal with 17.3 seconds left, and Curtis McElhinney notched his second career shutout.
Both players accomplished the feat earlier this season – Perry’s first career hat trick came Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Wild, and McElhinney’s first shutout came Nov. 10 against the Islanders.
There were some notable firsts. It was the Ducks’ first win against the Avs this season (on their first try) and it was the first time an Anaheim player scored all three of his team’s goals in a winning effort. Perry punched in a power-play goal at 13:51 of the first period, the Ducks’ only power-play goal on six tries. That included a 1:29-long 5-on-3 shift spanning the first two periods.
Colorado couldn’t take any momentum from the kill, and Perry made them pay. He spun T.J. Galiardi around in his tracks before scoring an even-strength goal at 1:53 of the third period,
before completing the scoring into an empty net.
“Their best player was real good tonight,” head coach Joe Sacco lamented afterward.
McElhinney was good too. The former Colorado College standout made a pair of outstanding saves, and a lot of routine ones, en route to the 25-save shutout. Jonas Hiller was scratched due to fatigue and Timo Pielmeier served as the backup to McElhinney.
“Curtis played well back there and made some big saves in crucial times,” Perry said. “The puck was bouncing around a little bit tonight and they had some pressure on us. We had some big blocks and we made sure that we could try to help Curtis out.”
The Avalanche were shut out for the fourth time this season, and lost for the fifth time in their last six games. While Colorado has fallen out of the Western Conference’s top eight, the Ducks used the win to temporarily tie San Jose at 62 points, three behind first-place Dallas. The Stars are playing the Philadelphia Flyers tonight.
A few more notes:
Cam Fowler picked up an assist on the first goal to extend his point-scoring streak to four, but saw his goal-scoring streak end at three games. The 19-year-old was the first NHL defenseman under age 20 with goals in three straight games since Kevin Hatcher (19 years old) of Washington from Mar. 28 – Apr. 1, 1986. The only other rookie defenseman in league history to score power plays in three straight games was Vancouver’s Michel Petit (Jan. 17-20, 1984). The last NHL rookie defenseman of any age to score a goal in three straight games was Dennis Wideman of St. Louis (Jan. 17-20, 2006). Fowler is the first Ducks rookie defenseman to do so.
The Ducks have won eight of their last nine meetings with the Avalanche.
Saku Koivu went 12-7 in the faceoff circle, improving to 485-450 (51.9%) for the season.
10:47 p.m. update: With all the games in, Corey Perry ended the night tied for seventh (with Henrik Zetterberg) in the NHL in scoring at 56 points, one ahead of Alex Ovechkin. He’s tied with Daniel Sedin for fourth in the league in goals.