Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks didn’t ease into anything in Vancouver.
The captain played 21:45 in his first game since Dec. 28, and the Ducks used a big lead to help hold off the Canucks. Getzlaf’s only point was this beautiful assist on Bobby Ryan’s first goal of the game, which gave the Ducks a 3-0 lead at 4:12 of the second period.
He also made an impact on Dan Hamhuis, planting the defenseman dangerously into the end boards on this shoulder-on-shoulder check. There’s already a debate raging over whether or not it was a clean hit.
Ryan had two goals, Jason Blake and Brandon McMillan had the others, and Curtis McElhinney made 16 of his 36 saves in the final period.
A few more notes:
Maxim Lapierre had primarily been on the wing the last two years in Montreal, but found himself at left wing for the first time as a Duck Thursday after playing a lot of center. McMillan handled the pivot position on the third line and handled all but one of the faceoffs (going 3-4). Sexton lined up at right wing.
As familiar as he seems, Francois Beauchemin has never played with any of the defensemen currently on the Ducks’ roster, at any level of hockey. That’s why at this point it’s easy to like the timing of today’s trade, saying nothing for the trade itself. Will Beauchemin be paired with Cam Fowler? Luca Sbisa? Lubomir Visnovsky? Because Bob Murray and Brian Burke didn’t wait until the day of the trade deadline to make the deal, Randy Carlyle gets more time to figure out which pairings work best. Same goes for the new-look third line, which could be the target of a deadline-day upgrade if Sexton, Lapierre and McMillan don’t jell right away (though Wednesday’s goal certainly helped their case to stay together).
Before tonight, the Canucks had lost only three times in regulation in their last 34 games (25-3-6) and had not lost at home in regulation in 15 straight (11-0-4). They also had a 6-game win streak overall and 9-game standings point streak (6-0-3). Their last regulation loss was Jan 16 at Minnesota and their last regulation loss at home was Dec. 5.
Blake played a strong 18:57, putting seven shots on goal, starting with his 11th goal of the season 56 seconds into the game.