The Ducks won the Stanley Cup championship in 2006-07 with a third line of Travis Moen, Sammy Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer that shut down anyone and everyone they played against. Have the Ducks found a new third line capable of such blanket defensive coverage?
It sure seems that way, after Andrew Cogliano, Shawn Horcoff and Carl Hagelin helped to shut out the Sedin twins during the Ducks’ 4-0 victory Monday over the Vancouver Canucks. As a bonus, Horcoff scored the first goal of the game, with assists from Cogliano and Hagelin.
“It’s been good,” Horcoff said. “Since we started, we have chemistry right off the bat, almost immediately. Bruce (Boudreau, Ducks coach,) has given us a pretty role playing against top lines and wanting us to shut them down and do the best we can alongside (Ryan Kesler’s) line. With that, we’ve been able to produce some offense, which is nice.”
Key play: Left wing Rickard Rakell’s power-play goal with three seconds remaining in the first period capped a wild scramble for the puck and gave the Ducks a two goal-lead en route to a 4-0 victory Monday over the Vancouver Canucks at the Honda Center.
Pivotal performer: Jakob Silfverberg skated down the right wing and then sent a laser into the back of the Canucks’ net to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead exactly one minute into the third period. Rookie left wing Nick Ritchie assisted on the goal for his first NHL point in his eighth game in the league.
Between the pipes: John Gibson started for the Ducks for the third consecutive game in place of Frederik Andersen, who was sidelined by an illness for several days. Gibson made 25 saves for his third career shutout, his second against Vancouver. He blanked the Canucks 3-0 in his NHL debut April 7, 2014 at Vancouver. Ryan Miller started for the Canucks, but was replaced by Jacob Markstrom after Corey Perry’s third-period goal made it 4-0.
Quote, unquote: “We scored early, which was important,” Ducks center Ryan Kesler said. “Our power play got one late (in the first period). I think every asset of our game was pretty good tonight. I don’t think we had a full 60 tonight, but I thought we played well for a full 60. We played good enough to win.”
Injury updates: Ducks left wing Patrick Maroon suffered a raspberry when he was struck in the side by the skate of Vancouver’s Jared McCann in the third period. Center Nate Thompson (shoulder) and left wing Jiri Sekac (ankle) participated in the Ducks’ morning skate. Thompson completed a weekend conditioning assignment with San Diego of the AHL. Sekac’s return to the lineup could take a while longer. He hasn’t been cleared for full contact.
The Ducks went into Monday night’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Honda Center with a less-than-stellar 8-11-5 record. They were in fifth place in the Pacific Division, six points out of a playoff spot and eight behind the first-place Kings. They also had the 29th-best offense in the 30-team NHL with only 46 goals.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler isn’t worried, however.
“If we keep playing like we are we’re going to get into the playoffs,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time. This team is too good not to be in the playoffs. We had a bad start. We played deep into the playoffs last year and, to be honest, maybe some guys weren’t ready to start the season. We’ve found our game and it’s coming. There’s still a lot of hockey left to play and we’re ready for the challenge.
“Anything that could go wrong went wrong at the beginning of the year. Guys were hitting posts and missing open nets. It’s happens. It’s the law of averages, though. It’s going to even out. We’re going to break out. … I’m too old to worry anymore. Nothing really worries me. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy this challenge and we’re going to make the playoffs.”
Ducks center Nate Thompson returned to the Ducks on Sunday, after playing one game on a conditioning assignment with their American Hockey League team in San Diego. Thompson, who underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season, was scoreless in the Gulls’ 3-1 victory over the Ontario Reign on Saturday.
Thompson reported no pain or setbacks after playing his first game since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last May. He was injured during the Ducks’ regular-season finale, sat out their first-round playoff victory over the Winnipeg Jets and then returned for the next two rounds of the postseason.
“I was trying first game back to keep things simple,” Thompson told reporters Sunday. “I wasn’t trying to be hesitant at all. I was hoping to get a hit in early. First shift I was hoping I would be able to get a hit and I did. … It makes you feel like you’re back in the action and a hockey player again.”
The Ducks on Sunday recalled defenseman Shea Theodore from their American Hockey League team in San Diego. Will he play this time? The Ducks have promoted Theodore already this season, but he hasn’t made his much-anticipated debut as of yet. He has two goals and 11 points in 19 games with the Gulls. The Ducks play host to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday. The 20-year-old is a British Columbia native and played junior hockey on this side of the border in Seattle.
The Kings rallied from a two-goal deficit after the second period to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime 3-2 on Saturday at Staples Center, ending the defending Stanley Cup champions’ run of 42 consecutive wins when leading after 40 minutes. The Blackhawks’ last loss when leading after two periods? Game 7 of the Western Conference final in 2014, when the Kings rallied in the third to force overtime and then won on Alec Martinez’s overtime goal.
Here’s some of what Kings winger Marian Gaborik had to say after scoring the tying and winning goals in a 3-2 overtime victory Saturday over the Chicago Blackhawks: “We never thought we weren’t going to win. It’s the atmosphere here and the attitude. We knew we could come back and we sustained a lot of pressure in their zone, like I said, as the game went on and we were able to capitalize.
“Like I said, we never quit. We had a lot of chances as the game went on and so towards the end, we were pushing ourselves and created a lot of traffic. We sustained some forecheck and some pressure in their zone and that was the mood, just keep going, keep going, keep going and trying to tie it up.”
Key play: Marian Gaborik scored on a breakaway 2:04 into overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 victory Saturday over the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center, capping a rally from a two-goal deficit after two periods. The Blackhawks lost for the first time in 43 games after leading after 40 minutes, dating to the Kings’ OT victory over Chicago in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals in 2014.
Pivotal performers: Gaborik’s tying goal with 5:55 left in the third period was set up by Anze Kopitar’s blind backhand pass to his trailing Kings teammate. Kopitar swiped the puck from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook a moment earlier.
Quote, unquote: “We didn’t panic,” Kings defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. “We stuck to our game plan and we just kept pushing in the third period and finally we got rewarded on (Jeff Carter’s) goal and we kept going forward. We got the tying goal and in overtime, obviously, there were a lot of chances going both ways, and we got the better of it at the end.”
Milestone moment: Chicago right wing Patrick Kane’s first-period power-play goal extended his point streak to 19 consecutive games, the longest by an American-born player in NHL history. Kane had been tied with Ed Olczyk and Phil Kessel with an 18-game streak.
News bulletin: The Kings submitted a bid to host the 2017 All-Star game at Staples Center, a team spokesman said. It would mark the 50th anniversary of the Kings, and also the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. The game also was held at Staples Center in 2002.
The Kings have put in a bid to play host to the 2017 NHL All-Star game at Staples Center, a team spokesman said. It would mark the 50th anniversary of the franchise, plus those of the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues. The Kings hosted the 2002 All-Star game at Staples Center.