The Anaheim [Mighty] Ducks have made the Honda Center a place where no one wants to play. Only once, did a team win in regulation or overtime (4-3 OTL to New Jersey), and add on a shootout loss to Los Angeles, to make the record 20-0-2 for the Ducks at home. Last night, their mastery of the Pond was on full display, and the victim was the Vancouver Canucks.
The first period was seemingly normal, with both teams getting their scoring chances, but Anaheim struck first with Andrew Cogliano, and again later with Teemu Selanne tipping one in on the power play to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead at the intermission.
Then, it all fell apart for the ‘Nucks in the second.
Corey Perry knocked Vancouver starter Eddie Lack out of the game with a bad angle shot that deflected in, bringing in Joacim Eriksson to make his NHL debut in net. The first shot he faced was on the power play, when Nick Bonino fired one in through a crowd for a 4-0 lead. Vancouver started getting lackadaisical and falling behind the play, and committing bad penalties. Late in the period, Chris Tanev and Ryan Kesler went to the box :40 apart, and the Ducks scored twice on the ensuing power plays. Vancouver’s Zack Kassian managed to push one behind Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen, but Andersen was pushed out of the net, and couldn’t do much about it.
The third period is where it got weird. Corey Perry happened to score midway through, giving Anaheim a 7-1 lead.Vancouver, at this point, were tired and frustrated. Even though the they and the Ducks were trying to keep play moving, the Ducks kept scoring. The frustration boiled over at the 12:49 mark of the third. After another chance where the Ducks swarmed the net, a scrum ensued, and Vancouver’s Tom Sestito and Jannik Hansen dropped the gloves and started fighting Anaheim’s Tim Jackman and Patrick Maroon. The problem is, neither Duck dropped their gloves and fought back. The refs gathered to discuss, and the penalties were given: Sestito and Hansen each received 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting, and misconducts. Ducks got nothing. It resulted in the Ducks getting a 5 on 3 power play for 7 minutes (there was 7:11 left in the game at that time). Vancouver coach John Tortorella was obviously mad, and yelled at the refs using words not suitable for kids.
Now, what do the Ducks do here? They look bad if they run up the score, but its very deflating if you don’t score on a 2 man advantage for 2 minutes, let alone 7. Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau took the right approach. He benched his top line, and told his players not to celebrate a goal, should they score it. The Ducks scored twice more, and the Canucks added a couple more misconducts (so did Anaheim), and a couple of frustrated slashing minors. The final score was 9-1. The Ducks won their 20th home game, and 18th of their last 19 games.
Here’s what the coaches had to say. First, John Tortorella:
”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.”
Bruce Boudreau had this to say:
‘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.”
On the ice, however, you could‘ tell one side was frustrated. The Canucks were taking dumb penalties, and playing extra chippy. They didn’t want to be there, having just 1 win against the California 3 out of 11 games, and it showed. The main incident being Sestito and Hansen’s incident, where they just straight out attacked a couple of Ducks, that resulted in the 5-3 for 7 minutes. It’s just not right for that to happen. You can never let your emotions get the better of you like that, and expect the other team not to further the humiliation. It’s just a poor showing of sportsmanship from Vancouver. Anaheim, who was put in that sticky situation of should they run up the score or not, played it right, and not trying to score, and if they did they didn’t celebrate. If I were Boudreau, I would have at least said to my guys that they have to pay for that kind of play, and put up a 10 spot and stop there. But I’m not him. The Ducks handled it very well, taking care of business, and showing who owns the Pond. The Canucks left with their dignity in tatters, just check the Twitter feed from the game. Vancouver is in Phoenix tonight, and we shall see if there is any hangover from last night’s misery.