ANAHEIM, Calif. – Although Teemu Selanne has been playing in the NHL for more than two decades, he had never seen anything he could even compare to the goonery in the Anaheim Ducks’ latest victory.
The Vancouver Canucks’ third-period antics aside, the NHL also hasn’t seen much like these Ducks as they cut a swath through the league on their merciless winning streak.
Corey Perry had two goals and two assists, Selanne had two goals and an assist, and the steamrolling Ducks beat Vancouver 9-1 Wednesday night for their 18th victory in 19 games.
Nick Bonino scored also two goals for the NHL-leading Ducks, who earned their eighth consecutive victory by scoring a club-record six power-play goals against the NHL’s best penalty-killing team. The Ducks got those opportunities thanks to a wholesale collapse by the Canucks, who picked up 58 penalty minutes in the third period with several old-time-hockey attempts to start a brawl.
With four Canucks in the dressing room for misconduct, Vancouver gave a late seven-minute, two-man advantage to the Ducks, who scored twice to wrap up the highest-scoring performance in the franchise’s two-decade history.
“What happened at the end, I haven’t really seen before,” said Selanne, who scored his 682nd career goal during the two-man advantage. “It was kind of weird. You don’t want to finish the game like that … but this is still a confidence boost for us. They’re a great team.”
Andrew Cogliano, Jakob Silfverberg and Sami Vatanen also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 31 saves as Anaheim joined the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens as the only teams in league history to win 18 times in a 19-game span.
Vatanen’s score with 38 seconds left pushed the Ducks past the club-record eight goals, accomplished twice previously. Captain Ryan Getzlaf, rookie Hampus Lindholm and Vatanen had two assists apiece while Anaheim scored six power-play goals—one fewer than in their previous 15 games combined.
“We just want to keep good habits and keep things fresh,” Cogliano said. “Obviously it got a little out of hand, and that’s unfortunate. I’ve been on the other side of that, and it’s not something that’s fun.”
The Ducks also improved to 20-0-2 at Honda Center, matching San Jose’s 2008-09 start for the longest home points streak to open a season in the last 34 years.
Zack Kassian scored for the Canucks in their seventh loss in eight games. Eddie Lack gave up three goals on 13 shots before getting chased early in the second period, and backup Joacim Eriksson was relentlessly battered in his NHL debut.
“It got away from us,” Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. “I’ve had a lot of disappointing losses. This was up there, but this was not a 9-1 game. This was not a 6-1 game. They had eight or nine minutes of 5-on-3. They’re going to score when they get that.”
Anaheim led 6-0 late in the second period, and the blowout got even uglier after the Ducks went up 7-1 in the third on Perry’s 27th goal.
Vancouver’s Tom Sestito, Jannik Hansen and Kassian all got misconduct penalties with 7:11 to play, and Kevin Bieksa was sent to the showers moments later.
“I’m not even going to try to explain it,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “One of those nights, so we plow along to our next game and get ready to play. … It does me no good, it does the players no good, to discuss anything that happened here.”
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau, who has seen countless minor-league shenanigans during a long hockey career, wasn’t overly upset with the Canucks’ bush-league behaviour.
“There was a lot of frustration on their part,” Boudreau said. “They just started punching our guys. It wasn’t the brightest thing to do. What are the refs supposed to do? … It was just an unfortunate game for Vancouver. I’m sure their next opponent is going to pay for that.”
With just one loss since Dec. 3, Anaheim has opened a six-point lead atop the NHL standings on the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, who will host the Ducks on Friday night. The Ducks would have to beat Chicago and St. Louis in back-to-back road games this weekend to match the 1967-68 Canadiens, who won 20 of 21.
NOTES: Andersen filled in capably for Jonas Hiller, who sat out with an illness. Hiller has won 14 straight games, the second-longest winning streak by a goalie in NHL history. … The 23-year-old Eriksson, in his first North American season, is filling in for Roberto Luongo, who has been out since Jan. 4. … Selanne is 11th on the NHL’s career goals list, trailing Mario Lemieux by eight goals for 10th.