Ducks Dominate Canucks 7-3 in Rare Opening Day Win

Rich Lam

How could it get any better? Hockey's back, the Ducks kicked Vancouver's ass, Teemu leads the league in scoring and the Kings even lost.

Final Score: Ducks 7, Canucks 3

First Period Recap: Just prior to the start of the game the Ducks announced Cam Fowler was scratched due to the flu, inserting Jordan Hendry into the lineup.

I was pretty impressed by the opening shift from the third line of Daniel Winnik, Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano and it only got better when Winnik, of all people, opened the scoring for the Ducks. About three minutes later, Dan Hamhuis tied the game up for Vancouver with a slapper from the point while Jonas Hiller was screened by Ryan Getzlaf. On Vancouver's second power play of the night, Daniel Sedin picked up a rebound off of Hiller and gave the Canucks the lead. From there on it was all Ducks.

Anaheim got their first power play thanks to, former Duck, Maxim Lapierre interfering with Hiller. Teemu Selanne won three consecutive offensive zone faceoffs on the power play, the third of which came cleanly back to Sheldon Souray who unleashed the slap shot that he is paid for and tied the game up at two.

Second Period Recap: The Ducks pulled away in the second period with goals from Winnik, Corey Perry (on the power play) Kyle Palmieri and Teemu (also on the power play). Teemu also assisted on Perry's goal, again from the faceoff and Getzlaf had two helpers in the period.

Getzy's first assist, on the Palmieri goal, was a prototypical Ryan Getzlaf play (in a good way). He overpowered the Canuck defender (Lapierre, I think) to get to the puck in the corner, drove to the net and laid the puck right on the tape of the trailing Palmieri for a really quick shot. That thing of beauty also chased Corey Schneider, hilariously throwing gasoline on the fire of goalie controversy in Vancouver, as if it needed any more fuel.

One scary moment of the game came in the second period when Bobby Ryan blocked a Kevin Bieksa (or Alex Edler) shot off of the ankle and limped to the bench, grimacing in pain when he got there. Bobby came back shortly thereafter, missing one shift at most.

Third Period Recap: Trailing by four goals going into the period the Canucks really tried to open the game up. it did not work very well as the first half of the period was essentially a series of odd man rushes for the Ducks and it took a power play half way through the period for Vancouver to register their first shot.

On the other hand, that shot by Edler, from the point went off the crossbar, banked off of Hiller's back and in. Immediately afterward Teemu came up big again, sneaking behind Mason Raymond, receiving a great pass through the neutral zone from Nick Bonino and sniping one over Roberto Luongo's blocker. From there the Canucks pretty much packed it in and the Ducks cruised to only their fifth opening game win in franchise history and their first since 2006-2007.

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The Good: GOALS, GOALS and more GOALS! The power play was 3-for-3 even though much of their practice over the past week went out the window with the loss of Fowler. Getzlaf took his place on the point, Bobby got the much coveted left wing slot, but it didn't stop Teemu from dominating in every sense of the word. Not to mention, the third line chipped in two goals and there were ten players with at least a point. There wasn't much about this game from a Ducks' perspective that wasn't good.

The Bad: The worst thing about this game for the Ducks was probably Hiller's rebound control. He kicked out some juicy ones, most notably leading to the Sedin goal, but some of that can be attributed to how well the Canucks crashed the net and screened him. Bryan Allen and Souray were brought in to help clear bodies away, but the danger of having big guys like that is if they can't resort to some nefarious means to open up the lanes for their goalie, sometimes they can end up in the way as well.

The Ugly: There was no ugly to this game, so I'll go with the silly coincidence/dark omen that Brian Hayward was recapping some of the bigger stories of the offseason when Perry scored his goal. Hazy had just gotten to Adam Oates being named head coach in Washington when the play started up and the official call of the goal went like this:

"...former Duck ... Corey Perry! Right off the faceoff gives the Ducks a two goal lead."

Spooky, but if this is one of the worst things about a game, I'll take it.

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Most Valuable Duck:
1st MVD - Teemu Selanne, the oldest player in the NHL, had two goals and two assists making him the 18th highest point producer of all time (1410) and his 249th career power play goal tied him with Phil Esposito for third all time. Heroes are remembered but legends never die.
2nd MVD - Dan Winnik had his second career two goal game, so don't expect too much more of this. Although there were too many goals to really get into, you really need to go back and watch his second goal. Tic-Tac-Toe!
3rd MVD - Ryan Getzlaf, in addition to the aforementioned classic Getzlaf assist, his pass to Teemu for the sixth goal of the night was what made the play. He read that the defenseman had no stick and zipped the pass off Teemu's stick so he just had to get it toward the net to beat Luongo.

Next Game: Monday, Jan 21 at Calgary 6:00 PM PT

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