Minus their captain and leading scorer, the Anaheim Ducks didn’t miss a beat.
Corey Perry and Patrick Eaves had goals 1:14 apart early in the first period against the listless Canucks as Anaheim cruised past Vancouver 4-1 on Tuesday to extend a season-high win streak to five games.
Ryan Getzlaf, who leads the Ducks with 66 points, took warmups but was a late scratch with a lower-body injury.
“It was huge,” Perry said of grabbing a 2-0 lead just 97 seconds in. “It’s a big hole. (Getzlaf) has been playing some of his best hockey all season and guys stepped up.”
Nick Ritchie, with a goal and an assist, and Brandon Montour also scored for Anaheim (42-23-11), which clinched a playoff spot earlier in the night when the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 2-1.
“It’s a feather in our players’ cap,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “We feel that we’ve got a pretty good hockey club.
“The next step for us is just to continue along the path that we’ve been on.”
Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves and Antoine Vermette added two assists as Anaheim improved to 9-1-1 over its last 11 games. The Ducks sit first in the Pacific Division, two points up on Edmonton and the San Jose Sharks.
Carlyle said the injury to Getzlaf, who has 14 goals and 52 assists this season, surfaced Monday night.
“He didn’t feel right (Tuesday) morning and couldn’t get it loosened up,” said the coach. “We just made the decision we’re not going to sacrifice a guy who’s been our best player.”
Highly touted rookie forward Brock Boeser scored in his home debut for Vancouver (30-37-9), which was dominated for 40 minutes before coming on a bit in the third when the Ducks took the foot off the gas.
“We certainly don’t plan that,” Canucks goalie Ryan Miller said after making 35 saves. “Attention to detail wasn’t there.”
Vancouver was eliminated from playoff contention Thursday and is 2-7-2 over its last 11, including a 2-3-0 mark on a recent five-game road trip.
The Ducks opened the scoring 23 seconds in when Vermette stripped Canucks defenceman Alexander Edler behind the Vancouver net. Ritchie swept the puck in front to Perry, who beat Miller over the glove for his 16th of the season.
Eaves then scored his fifth goal in the last five games at 1:37 after taking a pass from Rickard Rakell and firing a shot past Miller’s blocker for his 28th.
“Our intensity level wasn’t good enough,” said Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins. “We didn’t win any 1-on-1s.”
Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler nearly made it 3-0 a couple of minutes later off the rush, but his backhand effort that squeaked through Miller’s pads was fished off the goal line by Vancouver counterpart Christopher Tanev.
The Ducks kept coming at the overmatched Canucks and finally got their third with 15.4 seconds left in the period. Anaheim controlled the puck in the offensive zone after an icing before Ritchie tipped Josh Manson’s shot through traffic past a frustrated Miller for his 14th.
“We gave them three goals and then we started playing,” said Canucks captain Henrik Sedin. “It’s too good of a league to do that against a great team.”
The Ducks made it 4-0 at 3:44 of the second moments after Miller stopped Jakob Silfverberg on a partial breakaway when Montour’s point shot off a faceoff beat the Vancouver goalie through a screen for his second.
Bernier – who improved 9-0-1 over his last 10 starts, with a .947 save percentage over that stretch – made a nice save on Boeser just over a minute into the third before also stopping Michael Chaput on the rebound.
But the Anaheim netminder couldn’t get a handle on the 20-year-old Boeser’s next shot that leaked through his five-hole with traffic in front at 2:34 for the rookie’s second NHL goal in his third game.
“I just want to get a puck to the net there,” said Boeser. “Luckily there’s a screen and it trickled in.”Report Typo/Error