Vancouver 3, Ducks 0.

The Canucks have that look about them.

Seeing as many (if not more) Canucks sweaters than Ducks sweaters in the stands at Honda Center is one thing — chalk that atmosphere up to a rare Saturday-Sunday Kings-Ducks doubleheader that allowed fans to come down from Vancouver for a weekend of hockey and (mostly) sunshine.

The best magic is taking place on the ice. The last two days have seen Vancouver beat the Kings and Ducks each at their own game. Sunday’s 3-0 win required only 16 shots on goal and a strong performance by backup goalie Cory Schneider. Following his first shutout of the season, Schneider has a better goals-against average (2.14 to 2.21) and save percentage (.928 to .925) than starter Roberto Luongo.

Two goals by third-line center Manny Malhotra off a pair of Ducks miscues, and a power-play goal by Daniel Sedin that went off Andreas Lilja’s stick, proved the Canucks are more than just a two-twin pony. They outmuscled the Kings in a 3-1 win Saturday. On Sunday they frustrated Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan into submission (Getzlaf put 11 shots on goal but converted none), and took their chances with everyone else while capitalizing on a couple mistakes by Lilja and Cam Fowler.

It’s a good strategy against a Ducks team that is still missing two-thirds of its second line. Jason Blake (hand) and Saku Koivu (groin) have now missed back-to-back games. The Ducks did well to gain two points against two teams ahead of them in the standings, Dallas and Detroit, in their last two games.

Stopping the Canucks right now seems to be getting harder with every game. Are they the best team the Ducks have seen this season?

“They’re definitely one of them,” Getzlaf said. “The standings will show you that before you get on the ice. It’s not a trick in this league to get to the top of the standings, it’s hard work and they’ve been doing it all year.”

A few more notes:
Continue reading

Ducks send Lapierre to Vancouver. Update.

Maxim Lapierre has been dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for minor-league center Joel Perrault and a third-round draft pick in 2012.

Update: The Ducks have confirmed the deal and will also send AHL center MacGregor Sharp to Vancouver.

Lapierre started out as the Ducks’ third-line center after he was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Brett Festerling and a fifth-round draft pick in 2012. He had seen his ice time reduced in recent weeks, however, and was deemed the odd man out after the acquisition of Brad Winchester from St. Louis earlier in the day.

Lapierre had three assists, no goals and nine penalty minutes in 21 games for the Ducks.

Perrault, 27, is currently playing for the Manitoba Moose of the AHL. He has three goals and 18 points in 26 games this season. A former Ducks draft pick (fifth round, 2001), Perrault has 12 goals and 26 points in 96 NHL games for the Coyotes, Blues and Canucks.

Ducks 4, Vancouver 3.

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:
Continue reading

Ducks activiate Getzlaf, send Voros to Syracuse.

Aaron Voros was deemed the odd man out today when the Ducks activated captain Ryan Getzlaf from injured reserve as expected. Voros, who cleared waivers this morning, was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

The 29-year-old hasn’t played a game in the minors since 2007-08 when the Minnesota Wild sent him to their AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, for 12 games.

Voros missed nearly two months with a broken orbital bone, suffered in a Dec. 8 fight at Vancouver. He returned to play one game with the Ducks on Feb. 2 against San Jose, going scoreless.

Voros’ demotion means the Ducks will carry nine defensemen and the minimum 12 forwards into tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. Defenseman Francois Beauchemin, acquired earlier today from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Joffrey Lupul, will be scratched as he is en route to Western Canada.

Tough week for Voros; Sexton recalled.

Kevin Bieksa did more than merely win his second-period fight with Aaron Voros on Wednesday in Vancouver.

Voros sustained a broken orbital bone in the fight, putting the forward back on injured reserve after only one game back from a bout with the flu. Right wing Dan Sexton has been recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League. He could be called to fill in tonight if Teemu Selanne’s nagging groin injury causes him to miss his third game in the past week.

Here is the video of the Bieksa-Voros bout in Vancouver:

Vancouver 5, Ducks 4.

Curtis McElhinney’s misfortune was just the opening the Vancouver Canucks needed.

In the midst of a stellar performance, McElhinney was knocked out when he was struck in the head by Christian Ehrhoff’s shot in the third period. Adding insult to injury, Daniel Sedin scored when the puck bounced right to him off McElhinney’s mask, Ryan Kesler scored on Jonas Hiller in the final minute to tie the game at 4, and Jeff Tambellini potted the game-winner in the shootout.

The surprising turn of events left the Ducks with a tough shootout loss in a game they led 4-2 with eight minutes left in the third period. It also left them without their backup goaltender, at least temporarily, heading into Friday’s game in Anaheim against the Calgary Flames.

McElhinney stopped 24 of 27 and was in line for his third win of the season after goals by Corey Perry, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne and Cam Fowler.

Kesler’s third-effort goal, with Vancouver skating 6-on-5 with 22 seconds left in the third period, was the only goal Hiller allowed on 13 shots in 12:18 of relief. Tambellini scored the only goal for either side in the shootout.

Lupul’s goal was his first of the season in his third game back. It came one year to the day after his last NHL goal on Dec. 8, 2009, in what proved to be Lupul’s last game of the season.

Todd Marchant had a pair of assists, and Selanne, Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky and Paul Mara had one helper each.
Continue reading

Ducks 4, Canucks 3.

The play of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan wasn’t the only reason the Ducks limped into their home opener Wednesday without a win to show for their first three games of the season.

Still, the trio’s combined totals of zero goals and zero assists had to change in a hurry.
The top line clicked, and the rest of the Ducks followed, surviving an ugly start to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in their home opener before an announced crowd of 17,174.

Ryan pickpocketed reigning league MVP Henrik Sedin in the neutral zone, then completed a give-and-go play with Getzlaf for the game-winner with 9:48 left in the third period. Getzlaf had a goal and three assists, and Perry and Teemu Selanne also scored for the Ducks (1-3-0).

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. Here are a few notes that didn’t make the paper:
Continue reading

Vancouver 4, Ducks 1.

Roberto Luongo was in midseason form – playoff form, at times – as the Canucks spoiled the preseason debuts of Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Todd Marchant in Vancouver. Luongo’s 28-save performance handed the Ducks their second loss of the preseason, following back-to-back wins over the San Jose Sharks.

Selanne and Bobby Ryan were linemates, as expected, until late in the third period. That’s when the Ducks got their only goal – except it was the fourth line of Trevor Smith, Josh Green and George Parros that finally solved Luongo, with Green re-directing a Sheldon Brookbank slapshot in front of the net with 7:18 left.

Henrik Sedin, Guillaume Desbiens, Daniel Sedin and Jordan Schroeder scored goals on Jonas Hiller (21 saves), whose best chance of stopping any of the four came on Daniel Sedin’s second-period, mano-a-mano slapshot. Yet even that scoring chance was created by a careless play by Selanne, who turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

The Ducks return home to play the Kings on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

Ducks home, road openers announced. Updates with preseason schedule.

The release of the full NHL schedule is 24 hours away, but the Ducks will host the Vancouver Canucks in their home opener on Wednesday, October 13 at Honda Center at 7 p.m.

The Ducks will open the regular season on the road with back-to-back
games Oct. 8 and 9 in Detroit and Nashville, respectively. Tomorrow we will learn whether they have another game between the road game against the Predators and the home game against the Canucks.

3:15 p.m.:
The full preseason schedule has been released:


Date                             Opponent                   Venue                  Time (Pacific)

Tuesday, Sept. 21        PHOENIX                    Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 22   SAN JOSE                  Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 24            @ San Jose                HP Pavilion          7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 25       @ Vancouver              GM Place             7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 28        @ Los Angeles           Staples Center     7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1                VANCOUVER             Honda Center      7:05 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 3              LOS ANGELES          Honda Center      5:05 p.m.