VANCOUVER — Beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 Sunday afternoon was a bit of redemption for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks came to Vancouver following a 6-0 loss at home to the Calgary Flames Thursday that left the players wanting a bounce-back performance.
"It’s a huge (win)," said Sam Steel, who helped seal the victory with his fifth goal of the season in the third period. "You never want to lose like that, especially at home, so it was a really good response."
Adam Henrique led the Ducks with a pair of goals, while Derek Grant had a goal and an assist.
"We’re pretty good this season bouncing back from tough games," said Henrique, who reached the 20-goal plateau for the fourth time in his career. "We knew we wanted to get back to basics, put the work boots on, even though it’s a tough place to come in and play. Overall it was a great performance by everybody throughout the lineup."
Brendan Guhle also scored for the Ducks (24-27-7), who have wins in two of their last three games.
Anaheim scored twice on the power play after going 1 for 21 with the extra man over their last eight games.
"We keep improving," said Henrique. "We made some changes as of late and I think we’ve been doing a good job of simplifying and trying to attack.
"The game plan is more just attack, attack and attack. Get pucks there, get those second and third opportunities and tonight it paid off."
Anaheim goaltender John Gibson made 37 saves.
Ducks forward Troy Terry said Gibson was the difference early.
"You can tell when he’s in his zone and he’s locked in," said Terry. "He’s been a big reason we have the amount of wins we do. He’s our backbone and he had it going tonight."
Elias Pettersson scored for the Canucks (32-22-5), who saw a two-game win streak end and are 2-4-1 in their last seven games.
"It felt like we were always a step behind," said Pettersson. "It felt like we were not there on the forecheck. They won most of the battles.
"Those small details have to be better."
The loss leaves the Canucks one point behind the Edmonton Oilers in the race for first place in the Pacific Division and one point ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Ducks remain 11 points out of a playoff spot.
"That wasn’t good enough on our part," said Canuck captain Bo Horvat. "We have to start playing some better hockey.
"Down the stretch here it’s going to get tighter, the games are going to get harder and we have to be better. You can tell things are started to get a lot more heated. It’s crunch time now."
Canuck defenceman Troy Stecher had a rough first period, helping the Ducks take a 2-0 lead.
On Anaheim's opening goal Henrique flipped a puck in front of the net. Stecher put his stick on the ice hoping to block the pass, but instead the puck hit the stick and deflected through goaltender Thatcher Demko’s legs.
Grant scored on a power play after Stecher was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for complaining to the referee over a hit Nick Ritchie had laid on him.
"I’m (mad) at myself," said Stecher. "I never want to sacrifice a man down on our team. When you penalize your team, you don’t feel too good."
Demko, who made 23 saves, defended Stecher.
"It happens sometimes," Demko said about the opening goal. "He’s making a good play. There is a backdoor threat and he’s going down, trying to block the pass.
"He did a good job of that. It’s just bad luck."
The Ducks’ playoff hopes are slim, but Steel said the team isn’t giving up.
"We’ve been working on the same stuff all year and it's really clicking lately at a crucial time of the year," he said. "We’ve got a lot of points to make up but if we keep playing the way we are playing, take it game by game, anything's possible."
NOTES: Canuck forward Brock Boeser missed his third game with an upper-body injury. … Vancouver forward Tyler Motte returned to practice Saturday after missing seven games with an upper-body injury… Forward Nicolas Deslauriers signed a two-year contract with Anaheim on Saturday... To wrap up a week-long celebration surrounding the retiring of Daniel and Henrik Sedin’s numbers, the community work done by the Swedish Twins was recognized prior to the game.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2020.