A better effort produced the same result for the Vancouver Canucks.
And with their already slim playoff hopes taking another huge hit, head coach Willie Desjardins conceded morale could be an issue following Thursday’s 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.
“I don’t think the belief will be as good,” he said. “You’ve got to win some hockey games before you get some belief.”
The Canucks dropped their third in a row — all at home — to fall to 0-5-1 over their last six at Rogers Arena and sit eight points back of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“The job doesn’t change,” said Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller. “It’s frustrating, but you’ve got to park it. A lot of hard lessons for some guys here, but you’ve just got to keep going.”
After back-to-back demoralizing 5-2 losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild, the Canucks had a better showing against the red-hot Ducks, but still fell to 9-13-5 in front of their fans.
“I thought the effort was there tonight. We need better execution,” said Daniel Sedin, who assisted on both Vancouver goals. “If you get this effort and execute a little bit better we’re going to get our wins.”
Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Sami Vatanen each had a goal and an assist, while Josh Manson and Kevin Bieksa, into an empty net, also scored for Anaheim (30-19-8). John Gibson made 19 saves as the Ducks wrapped up a gruelling seven-game road trip with a 5-1-1 record and improved to 11-1-1 over their last 13 overall.
“I think it’s just one of those things when you find your game and you’re playing the right way and everyone is on board,” said Bieksa. “It took us a while to find of find our team identity.”
Jannik Hansen and Sven Baertschi scored for Vancouver (22-23-12), while Miller stopped 28 shots.
The Ducks are 18-4-2 since Christmas and sit just two points behind the Los Angeles Kings for first in the Pacific Division after starting the season 1-7-2.
“We’re a long ways from being where we want to be in a month from now,” said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau.
The Ducks broke a scoreless tie 2:03 into the second period when Rakell jumped off the bench on a change with Anaheim cycling and ripped his 15th of the season shortside on Miller.
The visitors went up 2-0 at 10:25 when Vatanen took a feed from Getzlaf on the power play and blasted a shot past Miller for his eighth — a goal that came just 15 seconds after Vancouver’s Adam Cracknell was whistled for delay of game.
Getzlaf made it 3-0 with his seventh at 4:14 of the third on an odd-man rush with the teams playing 4-on-4 just seconds after Gibson stopped Hansen on a 2-on-1.
Manson then stretched the lead to 4-0 just 27 seconds later by poking a puck behind Miller for his fourth.
“We miss our chance, they get a big save,” said Miller. “Getzlaf puts one by me. Pretty good shot, but I want to make a difference and make a save for the boys. Follow that up with a tough bounce and it starts getting away from you.”
Hansen got Vancouver on the board at 6:18 when he tipped a Sedin feed past Gibson for his 17th and Baertschi made it 4-2 with his 12th at 11:58 on a power play, but Bieksa added his third into an empty net with 2:31 left to deal the Canucks’ dwindling post-season hopes another crushing blow.
“All we can do is stick up for each other and play for each other. That’s key right now,” said Sedin. “That’s the only way you get out of this.”
Notes: Gibson shut out Vancouver in his only other two starts against the Canucks, including his NHL debut in April 2014. ... Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano played the 679th straight game of his career to tie Canucks captain Henrik Sedin for the sixth-longest ironman streak in NHL history. ... Vancouver visits Calgary on Friday. Anaheim returns home to host the Flames on Sunday.Report Typo/Error