Shane O’Brien and Chris Kunitz scored on two of Anaheim’s first four shots and Ryan Getzlaf added a pair of third-period goals as the Ducks routed the injury-ravaged Canucks 6-0. Anaheim (12-0-4) has at least one point in the first 16 games of the season, eclipsing the record previously held by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, who opened the season 12-0-3.
While the Oilers actually went unbeaten in 15 games, Anaheim has suffered an overtime loss to the New York Rangers and shootout defeats to Dallas, Minnesota and the New York Islanders.
Sammy Pahlsson and Todd Marchant also scored for the Ducks, whose last regular-season regulation loss came in a 6-3 defeat to San Jose on Apr. 15.
Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere had a relatively easy night against Vancouver (8-8-1), making 20 saves for his second shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.
Vancouver nearly scored when Scott Niedermayer, being checked by Tommi Santala during a delayed penalty call on the Canucks, put the puck in the net vacated by Giguere. The goal was disallowed because the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the goal line.
Four of the seven defencemen who started the season with the Canucks were out of the lineup. Willie Mitchell has a concussion, Sami Salo suffered a knee sprain, Rory Fitzpatrick has an ankle injury and Luc Bourdon was sent back to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
They were replaced by rookies Patrick Coulombe, Nathan McIver and Alexander Edler, who, in his third career game, was the only one of the trio with NHL experience.
The Canucks seemed to be preoccupied with damage control in their worst loss of the season while the Ducks made the most of their opportunities.
Deflections off skates played a role as the Ducks built a 2-0 lead by 15:26 of the first period.
O’Brien’s point shot deflected behind netminder Roberto Luongo off Matt Cooke’s skate at 5:34. Nearly 10 minutes later, Kunitz got a second chance to score his eighth goal of the season – and third in three games – when his first attempt hit McIver’s skate and caromed right back to him, enabling him to deposit the rebound.
Pahlsson made it 3-0 early in the second period when he came off the bench unchecked to accept Rob Niedermayer’s pass in the slot.
The goal, which came on Anaheim’s ninth shot of the game, chased Luongo, who allowed three goals on nine shots. Backup Dany Sabourin made his second career appearance for the Canucks, stopping 15 of 18 shots the rest of the way.
Notes – Both teams’ next game is against the Calgary Flames. The Ducks meet them Friday night in Calgary while Vancouver plays host to the Flames on Saturday … Anaheim won three out of four against the Canucks last season … the Ducks return to Vancouver on Nov. 30 … Anaheim has sold 11,500 season tickets, the most since 1998-99.