John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks gloves the puck during the warm-ups

Ducks Keep Streak Going

The Trevor Zegras show continues. He buried two goals and added an assist as the Ducks defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 in a 5pm start on Sunday in Anaheim.

The first one was a one-timer that Zegras buried on the power play. The chance came nearly at the end of a four-minute man advantage. The puck was faced off in the Vancouver end, left side. Zegras was lined up at right defense. Off the drop, he faded right, and got a pass for a one-timer when he was at the top of the right circle. It went up and over the goalie’s shoulder.

Zegras commented on it after the game: “I kind of just chopped at it, I guess. I got lucky, but it definitely felt nice to get one on a power play from that spot. It’s definitely been a while.”

The second one was also on the PP, early in period two. It was the classic across-the-zone pass, this one from Troy Terry, and a puck thrown to the front of the net, by Ryan Getzlaf, that hit a Vancouver stick and bounced out past Mason McTavish and onto Zegras’s stick. He put it back through the crowd in what would turn out to be the game winner.

Coach Dallas Eakins put this in perspective: “We’ve been able to get offense without Z [Trevor Zegras] participating a lot in it. I always think that is a wonderful thing to have in your back pocket. When a guy maybe hasn’t been producing as much as he would like. Z thinks, this is what I love about the kid, Z expects that three points every night. That’s a hard thing to do in this league, obviously, but with him not getting the points, or getting the looks, or getting the luck that sometimes comes with scoring, we’ve been able to still score.”

His assist was a spin-around pass on the rush into the Vancouver zone.  Zegras put it on Sonny Milano’s stick past the sticks of the backwards-skating defenders. You might recall that the Zegras-Milano connection was commented upon last week as a bit of magic. To see it continue both now and perhaps on into the future delighted the Anaheim crowd.

Note that the Troy Terry show also goes on. As mentioned, he got the secondary assist on the second Zegras goal to extend his points streak to 14 games.

Then there were some cleanup goals, including one that Adam Henrique cradled to the empty  net with about a minute  to go and one more, by Sam Steele, with half a minute to go. He was on with assist-getters Nick DesLauriers and Sam Carrick. Those guys have shown some skills, but they’re also head-crackers, so apparently Dallas Eakins wasn’t going to allow anything cheap to happen on a frustrated Vancouver team’s part as they exited the game.

All of this after the Vancouver team had grabbed an early lead when Nils Hoglander scored at just past the seven-minute mark of period one. Ducks teams past might have folded or wilted after surrendering an early lead. Not this group. Perhaps the sins of the fathers, metaphorically speaking, are forgotten. Perhaps the current Ducks just believe in their own abilities. Certainly the fact that the goals were spread around but featured the young phenom and a strong power play has to be helpful in the “forgetting the past” department.

Cycling back to the Canadian team, the early Vancouver goal made it seem like the Canucks could snap their three-game losing streak, but it lasted only about five minutes.

The goal had John Gibson in the classic kick-out-the-toe but grab-it-with-the-glove pose. It would have been a nice save, but instead it was a bit of a whiff as the puck snuck between the glove and the pad. Gibson would be forgiven the goal in any case, since he has played such great hockey for the club over the past month, even when they were losing early in the year. His team has now scored 57 goals on the season, two shy of Edmonton. Edmonton, which has two points-creating monsters leading them and getting all the good ink.

Vancouver, for their part, have allowed 19 goals against in their last three games. They now go home to face Colorado, Winnipeg, and Chicago over the next week.

Vancouver’s Tyler Myers assessed his team’s failings on this night: “Not the team’s best game. It looked like we were a step behind tonight. We have to realize what kind of game we have to play coming into tonight. It has to be simple. It has to be quick, making the first play. It seemed like they were a step ahead of us tonight.”

And what about the four-million-dollar man, Ryan Getzlaf? He’s still putting up numbers and putting in time. He has just a single goal, but he has added 16 assists, to put himself second on the team, behind Troy Terry (11-9-20) and three clear of Adam Henrique (6-7-13). That also slots Getzlaf tenth in the league.  On Sunday night, he had over 21 minutes of ice time.

He now sits on 999 career points. He has already set the club points record, surpassing Teemu Selanne a couple of weeks ago. The thousand-point milestone will just cement his future credentials, as comes to mind on a weekend when people are being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

John Gibson tied his career best with his sixth consecutive win.

The win marks a run of success that includes Anaheim being 6-0-0 in November, winning seven in a row, and gaining points in nine games in a row.

The Ducks face Washington and Carolina at home Tuesday and Thursday before taking the weekend to regroup for a two-game road trip next week. Their game Tuesday versus Washington will be the 1,000th in club history.

Note

Brian Kennedy is  a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association