You almost had to feel sorry for the Vancouver Canucks in their 9-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at the Honda Center. Almost.
The Canucks are not injury plagued. They sit fourth in the Pacific Division. They have the NHL best penalty kill. Whoops. They DID have the best penalty kill until they let in six power play goals.
"Did I see this coming?" said Vancouver coach John Tortorella. "No. There's no sense in dissecting it. The best thing we can do is get out of here."
Move along. Nothing to see at this crime scene. Other than a few records being smashed by the Ducks, who are undoubtedly the best team in the NHL.
Anaheim, who has been notorious for crappy first periods, did not play great in the first twenty minutes, but they took advantage of their chances.
Andrew Cogliano remains hot, getting his 16th goal of the season at 4:27. Teemu Selanne got his first of two power play goals at 17:57, which also ended up being the game winner, just the 110th of his career.
Frederik Andersen, who was called up from Norfolk in light of Jonas Hiller's illness (bad flu bug), made 31 saves for the win. He had to do his toughest work in the first period and made a huge difference in the outcome, despite what the scoreboard said.
"I thought we played a good first period," said Henrik Sedin, reflecting on the loss. "It should not have been 2-0 after the first period. We came out in the second and we started taking penalties. They got some great bounces. I don’t think we played particularly bad until the halfway point of the game but we weren’t quite there like we were in LA. We didn’t get the hits we wanted to. We didn’t get the forecheck. You could tell from the get go that we didn’t have the mindset where we run through guys."
Corey Perry made it 3-0 at 3:58 of the second period with Dan Hamhuis deflecting the puck into his own net. At that point goaltender Eddie Lack was replaced in net. It didn't make any difference and rookie Joacim Eriksson was left high and dry on several occasions in his inauspicious NHL debut. It was neither goaltenders' fault in this one, but they sure had a lot to blame on teammates, including three of the nine goals going in courtesy of Canucks defensemen in front of the net.
Imploding to the point where you have a seven minute two man advantage at the end of the game was also not the responsibility of the men in net. They merely suffered the consequences of it.
Nick Bonino got the next two goals on the power play at 6:00 and 14:34. Hooters is beginning to regret that free chicken wing promotion when the Ducks score five.
Jakob Silfverberg finished off the second period with a power play goal at 15:29 to make it 6-0.
It should have remained a shut out, but after Andersen was knocked over by a Canucks player, rendering him incapable of doing his job, Zach Kassian scored with :02 seconds remaining in the period. It should have been goaltender interference, but it was not and the Canucks got a gimme.
In the third it just went to hell in a handbasket. Things boiled over at the end of the second and the self destruct button kept being pushed in the third.
After Perry got his second of the game at 10:54 of the third, this one courtesy of Kevin Bieksa's stick deflection, the referees should have just called it a night. Instead, the Canucks went on to accumulate a total of 73 penalty minutes and were standing room only in the penalty box and in the early showers, due to all the misconducts being handed out.
With a two man advantage for virtually the final 7:30 minutes of the game, the Ducks were bound to score.
"We didn’t want to finish the game like that," said Selanne, who now has 255 career power play goals. "I know there were a couple of guys who had a chance to get a hat trick, but it’s almost embarrassing to even try. But, what are you going to say? It’s a good thing we won. But we can’t really get too high about this one."
Selanne didn't even smile after his second goal of the game at 14:45. Neither did Sami Vatanen, who got his 6th of the year at 19:22, the final goal off a Vancouver stick.
It was a surfeit of riches.
"You just approach every game and play," said Cogliano. "You have to prepare yourself and have a game plan. And if you execute it, you have a good chance of winning. Tonight, we did that. Freddy made some good stops in the first period that kept us in the game. We were able to get a bunch of goals."
They also are now 20-0-2 at home, just the fourth team to record points in each of their first 22 home games.
They have won 18 out of 19 games. Only the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens have done that and then went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. They also won 20 of 21 games when all was said and done.
Anaheim has scored five or more goals for the 15th time this season, nearly one third of their games played.
The Ducks now head out on the road to face Chicago and St. Louis in back to back games on Friday and Saturday, the second time they have done that this season.