The Ducks finished up a three game Canadian jaunt with a 4-2 win over the Canucks. That gives Anaheim a total of 11 out of 12 points in their past six games.
Not bad for a team that could not string together more than a win every couple of weeks. Still not good enough to climb out of 29th in the NHL. But it certainly is progress.
The Ducks third line was huge in the defeat of Vancouver.
Jason Blake scored two goals and added an assist as well. Having missed the majority of the season with a lacerated forearm, he has clearly recovered well enough to be pitching in. Blake has now scored in two games in a row since returning the line up on January 4.
Blake had previously been with the second line alongside Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, but his injury forced a change to the line combinations. When Niklas Hagman was acquired, the second line eventually became an all Finn line.
After Blake’s return, he was placed on the third line and with Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino, there are the beginnings of good chemistry and a potential for depth scoring. The Ducks have not had that kind of depth in a long time and if it continues, it can only bode more good things for the team.
Bonino got the scoring going at 6:48 of the first period. Cory Hodgson tied up the game at 10:48. The rest of the way, Anaheim seemed to be in control.
The Ducks limited Vancouver to five shots on goal through the second period, although the Canucks made up for it in the third period. Jonas Hiller made 21 saves on the evening, not a particularly taxing one. Even more amazing was that no one named Sedin scored any points.
Bobby Ryan extended Anaheim’s lead at 2:21 of the second period, just after a power play had expired.
Blake finally was rewarded with his first of the evening at 13:08 to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead. He then sealed the deal for his team with his second goal of the night at 12:40 of the third period.
Mason Raymond made it 4-2 at 17:04, but despite pulling Roberto Luongo, it was as close as the Canucks could come.
Blake could not have been happier at the outcome, considering the severity of his injury.
“They doctors did a hell of a job,” Blake said. “Obviously the stage of my career and my age (38), it was tough. “You don’t wish this on anyone. You wanted to go out there and participate and contribute and help the team and you had to sit by the sidelines. There were a lot of days it was frustrating.”
Now Blake can get his frustrations out on the ice and help contribute to a team that struggled mightily for most of the season.
The Ducks are now back home for a game against Phoenix on Wednesday night. They will hope to continue earning points and if not digging themselves out of a hole, at least prevent themselves from sinking any further in it.