Los­ing streak is over

They score three man-ad­van­tage goals en route to end­ing four-game skid.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Mike Cop­pinger sports@la­times.com

Sil­fver­berg scores twice in Ducks’ first vic­tory in five games.

The Ducks can breathe easy.

Their four-game los­ing streak is over.

And the power play fi­nally broke out of its sea­son­long slump in a mas­sive way.

Ana­heim’s 4-1 vic­tory over the Van­cou­ver Canucks on Thurs­day ended the team’s long­est skid since it opened the 2016-17 sea­son with four con­sec­u­tive set­backs.

“It’s been a long wait for our power play to awaken,” said Ducks coach Randy Car­lyle. “I think tonight we were more de­ter­mined to get pucks back on our en­try. We moved the puck ef­fec­tively and got the puck di­rected to­wards the net.

“We were more tena­cious. We were hun­grier for the puck.”

And the Ducks were again short-handed, with John Gib­son and On­drej Kase unavail­able af­ter they suf­fered head in­juries in Tues­day’s over­time loss to the Kings.

But the play­ers who did suit up skated at a fre­netic pace.

Ham­pus Lind­holm (bank shot off Canucks goalie Ja­cob Mark­strom’s skate), Bran­don Mon­tour (wris­ter from the slot) and Jakob Sil­fver­berg (one-timer) scored man-ad­van­tage goals to bring the 30th-ranked unit out of the dol­drums.

The Ducks’ power play wasn’t just in­ef­fec­tive head­ing into the game. It was down­right dread­ful, with the team con­vert­ing on only 10.6% of its 47 op­por­tu­ni­ties (four goals in 15 games).

So if this out­burst is a har­bin­ger of what’s to come, the Ducks just might be find­ing their game.

“We kind of told our­selves that we gotta go out and play with con­fi­dence,” said Sil­fver­berg, who scored an even­strength goal 35 sec­onds af­ter his power-play tally to make it 4-1. Both goals came in the first two min­utes of the third pe­riod, and ef­fec­tively crushed the Canucks’ re­solve.

“A lit­tle bit too much early in games we’ve been slap­ping the puck away and kind of shoot­ing it from bad an­gles. Tonight we played with that con­fi­dence and it kind of showed. It opened up more space. Three [pow­er­play] goals is a good con­fi­dence boost.”

Sil­fver­berg was the star of the game, but the man who might have en­joyed the vic­tory most was in net, un­til he wasn’t.

Ryan Miller’s first home start of the sea­son (16,038 in at­ten­dance) came against the team he jet­ti­soned this sum­mer af­ter three sea­sons in Canada.

He swat­ted away 13 of 14 shots but ex­ited the game mid­way through the third fol­low­ing a col­li­sion and was re­placed by Reto Berra.

Car­lyle said Miller suf­fered a lower-body in­jury and he’ll be reeval­u­ated Fri­day. So for now, with Gib­son also hurt, it’s Berra’s crease.

Since Miller was fac­ing his for­mer squad, he was sched­uled to re­ceive the start any­way, but he’s mak­ing a case for more play­ing time — if the in­jury isn’t se­ri­ous.

He’s been su­perb dur­ing his three starts, and even at 37, it’s clear the for­mer Vez­ina Tro­phy win­ner pos­sesses plenty of game.

But with the Ducks’ in­jury luck, surely there’s worry that an­other key player will be side­lined for an ex­tended pe­riod of time.

Miller al­ready missed the team’s first 10 games be­cause of a left wrist in­jury. If he and Gib­son are both unavail­able go­ing for­ward, the Ducks will be in cri­sis mode.

But that’s a prob­lem for an­other day.

For at least a night, the Ducks were fly­ing high in all facets of the game.

They can let out a col­lec­tive sigh for now, and hope the suc­cess car­ries over with three more games on the home­s­tand.

Chris Carl­son As­so­ci­ated Press

DUCKS CEN­TER Den­nis Ras­mussen, left, bat­tles Canucks de­fense­man Erik Gud­bran­son for the puck.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.