Canucks fall to surging Ducks
Anaheim improves to 11-1-1 over last 13 games
A better effort produced the same result for the Vancouver Canucks.
And with their already slim playoff hopes taking another huge hit, head coach Willie Desjardins conceded morale could be an issue following Thursday's 5-2 loss to the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
"I don't think the belief will be as good," he said. "You've got to win some hockey games before you get some belief."
The Canucks dropped their third in a row, all at home, to fall to 0-5-1 over their last six at Rogers Arena and sit eight points back of the second wild-card spot in the NHL's Western Conference.
"The job doesn't change," said Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller. "It's frustrating, but you've got to park it. A lot of hard lessons for some guys here, but you've just got to keep going."
After back-to-back demoralizing 5-2 losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild, the Canucks had a better showing against the red-hot Ducks, but still fell to 9-13-5 in front of their fans.
"I thought the effort was there tonight. We need better execution," said Daniel Sedin, who assisted on both Vancouver goals. "If you get this effort and execute a little bit better we're going to get our wins."
Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell and Sami Vatanen each had a goal and an assist, while Josh Manson and Kevin Bieksa, into an empty net, also scored for Anaheim (30-19-8). John Gibson made 19 saves as the Ducks wrapped up a gruelling seven-game road trip with a 5-1-1 record and improved to 11-1-1 over their last 13 overall.
"I think it's just one of those things when you find your game and you're playing the right way and everyone is on board," said Bieksa. "It took us a while to find of find our team identity."
Jannik Hansen and Sven Baertschi scored for Vancouver (22-23-12), while Miller stopped 28 shots.
The Ducks are 18-4-2 since Christmas and sit just two points behind the Los Angeles Kings for first in the Pacific Division after starting the season 1-7-2.
The Ducks broke a scoreless tie 2:03 into the second period when Rakell jumped off the bench on a change with Anaheim cycling and ripped his 15th of the season shortside on Miller.
The visitors went up 2-0 at 10:25 when Vatanen took a feed from Getzlaf on the power play and blasted a shot past Miller for his eighth, a goal that came just 15 seconds after Vancouver's Adam Cracknell was whistled for delay of game.
Getzlaf made it 3-0 with his seventh at 4:14 of the third on an odd-man rush with the teams playing 4-on-4 just seconds after Gibson stopped Hansen on a 2-on-1.