VANCOUVER – Frederick Andersen had to make just 17 saves for the third shutout of his career Tuesday as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-0.
Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Rickard Rackell and Patrick Maroon scored for Anaheim (32-10-6), which sits tops in the NHL’s overall standings and has won six straight and eight of its last nine. Ryan Miller stopped 20 shots for Vancouver (26-17-3).
With his team up 2-0 after 40 minutes, Rackell put things out of reach at 9:20 of the third, firing a shot from just inside the Vancouver blue-line that deflected off the stick of Canucks
defenceman Frank Corrado and in off the crossbar for his fourth of the season.
Held to just 12 shots through two periods in the first game for both teams after the all-star break, the Canucks didn’t muster much more offence in the third on a night when Andersen’s crease was rarely threatened.
Maroon scored his fifth of the season into an empty net in the final minute for the Ducks.
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Part of the problem was Vancouver’s anaemic and disjointed power play, which went 0 for 3 and is now an abysmal 2 for 28 over the last nine games.
Anaheim led 1-0 after the first and doubled that lead at 7:19 of the second on a delayed penalty with the Canucks already shorthanded.
Palmieri came down the right side and fired home his 10th of the season a shot through Miller’s five-hole that the Vancouver goalie probably should have stopped.
Canucks forward Derek Dorsett left the game a few minutes earlier with an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Ryan Kesler and did not return. Replays appeared to show that Kesler, who was dealt from Vancouver to Anaheim in the off-season, made contact with Dorsett’s head on the play.
The Canucks played at home for the first time since Jan. 10 after going 3-2-0 on a five-game road trip prior to the all-star break and had just two shots in the period. Nick Bonino had Vancouver’s best chance when he rang a shot off the post behind Andersen that stayed out.
Vancouver’s Zack Kassian, who has just two goals on the season, had an opportunity to get his team closer, only to see a pass in front from the corner hop over his stick in tight.
The Ducks – now 3-0-1 against the Canucks this season and a dominating 9-0-1 over the last 10 against their Pacific Division rivals – opened the scoring at 13:43 of the first period thanks to Beleskey’s 18th of the season on a play Miller will also want back.
Beleskey unloaded a slapshot from the wing off the rush that Miller could only get a piece of with his glove before it fluttered into the top corner.
Vancouver came back the other way looking to quickly tie it up, but Andersen made a nice glove save on Daniel Sedin at the other end to keep his team ahead after 20 minutes.
Earlier in the period, Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon fired off the side of the net on a power play seconds before Vancouver’s Shawn Matthias had a good chance on a short-handed rush.
Miller then robbed Andrew Cogliano on Vancouver’s first power play with a great glove save after a turnover in the Canucks’ end.
Notes: The Canucks haven’t scored at home since the first period of a 3-1 home loss to the Florida Panthers on Jan. 8, a span of more than eight periods. … All three of Andersen’s career shutouts have come this season. … The Canucks were without defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who suffered a broken left hand in the final game before the all-star break. The 33-year-old underwent surgery and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. … The Canucks and Ducks play the final game of their season series Mar. 9 at Rogers Arena. … Vancouver continues its six-game homestand Friday against the Buffalo Sabres…. Anaheim visits the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.