Jean-Sebastien Giguere registered a relatively easy shutout in a 6-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks and their injury-depleted defence on Thursday. “Nobody really expected to have this kind of a start,” said Giguere. “This is pretty amazing, but we have bigger goals than this. This is just the start of the season and our goal is all the way to the end.
“It’s nice right now but this should just be a confidence-builder more than anything.”
The win enabled the Ducks to eclipse the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers who opened that season with at least a point in their first 15 games, going 12-0-3.
Anaheim, now playing in an era of regular-season overtime and shootouts, are 12-0-4 going into Friday’s game in Calgary.
And if the record is any kind of an omen, the ’84-’85 Oilers went on to win their second straight Stanley Cup.
Shane O’Brien and Chris Kunitz took early advantage of injuries to three regular Canuck blue-liners by scoring on two of Anaheim’s first four shots. Both goals resulted from deflections off Canuck defenders’ skates.
Ryan Getzlaf added two goals in the third period while Sammy Pahlsson and Todd Marchant completed the scoring in front of Giguere who faced only 20 shots.
Pahlsson’s 3-0 goal chased starting netminder Roberto Luongo who had only six saves at that point.
O’Brien downplayed the record.
“There hasn’t been much talk about it,” he said. “Obviously that Oilers team was an unbelievable team and they won a few championships.
“It’s an honour to have broken the record tonight but this team’s real focused and we know what our goal is this year.”
But he didn’t expect to be undefeated in regulation time this deep into the season.
“Obviously not. You just try to put out the best effort you can every night. Your goal is to win every game but obviously that’s not going to happen … and hopefully we can keep it going for a little bit longer.”
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 junior.
Replacing them were rookies in their early 20s – Patrick Coulombe, Nathan McIver and Alexander Edler. Edler – playing his third game – was the only one of the trio with NHL experience.
Edler finished the night even while Coulombe and McIver were minus-3. Veteran Mattias Ohlund was on for five goals playing with the rookies.
“We just have to respond better,” Ohlund said after the Canucks’ worst outing of the season.
“For some reason we didn’t play hard enough tonight and we’re not going to beat any team in the league playing like we did.”
Coulombe said the game will be etched in his memory.
“It was my first game so I’ll always remember it, but it was a tough game.”
The 8-8-1 Canucks almost scored when Duck Scott Niedermayer, being checked by Tommi Santala during a delayed penalty call on Vancouver, appeared to put the puck in the net vacated by Giguere for an extra attacker.
The goal was disallowed because the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the goal line.
Niedermayer said Santala’s stick hit his and laughed off the apparent gaffe.
“I don’t know what the rule is,” he said. “(Santala) swung and hit my stick one way or another and it went in the net. I thought it was slashing.”
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 here Nov. 30 … Anaheim has sold 11,500 season tickets, the highest since 1998-99.