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Ducks win 5th Straight, Clinch Playoff Spot

Ducks win 5th Straight, Clinch Playoff Spot Dinur/via Flickr

Anaheim reaches postseason for fifth straight season

NHL

VANCOUVER-After four straight Game 7 losses at home, to say the Anaheim Ducks have unfinished business in the playoffs is an understatement. Last night, the Ducks needed just one point to assure their spot in the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. Not only did they get that point, they affirmed their top spot in the Pacific Division.

Four goals from four different players helped Anaheim to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place Tuesday night.

Knowing what was on the line, Anaheim didn’t waste time establishing their dominance.

Just 23 seconds into the game, Corey Perry snapped a wrist shot past Vancouver goalie Ryan Miller to give the Ducks an early 1-0 lead. Perry now has five goals in the last 10 games.

1:14 later, Patrick Eaves gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead with his 28th of the season. It was Eaves’ seventh goal since joining the Ducks prior to the trade deadline.

Anaheim came close to making it 3-0 about two minutes later. Defenseman Cam Fowler’s wrist shot trickled through Miller, but was cleared off the line.

Despite giving up goals on the first two shots he face, Miller settled down as the first period carried on. However, with 15.4 seconds left in the period, Josh Manson fired a wrist shot from the point. The shot was partially deflected by forward Nick Ritchie past Miller to give the Ducks a 3-0 advantage.

The goal was Ritchie’s 14th of the year. The teams would head to the first intermission with Anaheim up 3-0 and outshooting Vancouver 16-6.

The Canucks came out with more jump in the second period. Anaheim defenseman Brandon Montour, however, made their hole even deeper when his second goal of the season 3:44 into the middle frame to make it 4-0 for the visitors.

The second period would see a more even period between both teams as they each had 12 shots on goal in the frame. However, Vancouver could not get on the board.

Vancouver makes push in third

In the third, the Canucks seemed to find another gear and carried the play in the final frame. They would cut the lead to 4-1 early in the third when rookie Brock Boeser scored his second goal in three games. Boeser signed with Vancouver this past Saturday after North Dakota was knocked out of the NCAA tournament.

Despite getting an early goal needed to possibly mount a comeback, the Canucks would not get closer than 4-1. Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier continued his stellar run of play, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he faced in the third period to secure Anaheim’s fifth straight win. Bernier finished the game stopping 34 of 35 shots.

The win certainly looks good and helps. However, the Ducks’ playoff spot was actually clinched before their game even finished. With the Edmonton Oilers defeating the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 earlier in the evening, Anaheim punched their ticket to their fifth straight postseason.

The win, though, did help the Ducks stay atop the Pacific Division, two points ahead of the San Jose Sharks. San Jose won their game against the New York Rangers last night, 5-4 in overtime.

What’s next for both teams?

Anaheim continues its final road trip of the regular season in Winnipeg on Thursday. The team will surely be hoping to have captain Ryan Getzlaf back in the lineup. Getzlaf was a late scratch last night with a lower-body injury. The team states he is day-to-day.

The Canucks, meanwhile, continue this mini three-game homestand on Friday as they host the Los Angeles Kings. Vancouver is out of the running for a playoff spot.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Patrick Eaves, ANA

2nd Star: Antoine Vermette, ANA

3rd Star: Brock Boeser, VAN