Ducks Improve to 4-0-1 since Christmas Reset

By January 4, 2016 NHL News No Comments
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By The Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Kevin Bieksa and Ryan Kesler each scored a power-play goal, and the Anaheim Ducks earned at least one point for the sixth consecutive game with a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night.

Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry also scored, and John Gibson made 19 saves for the Ducks as they opened an eight-game homestand vital to their playoff hopes in the jumbled Pacific Division.

Tyler Myers scored for the Jets, and Michael Hutchinson stopped 31 shots.

After sweeping the Jets in the first round of last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, the Ducks won the first meeting this season.

Rakell scored 5:51 into the first period, capping a strong opening flurry of puck possession. His shot from between the circles seemed innocuous, but Hutchinson never reacted until it was too late.

There was nothing fancy about the Ducks’ second goal, either. With Jacob Trouba in the penalty box for interference, Bieksa put a wrist shot past Hutchinson for his first goal of the season and a 2-0 lead midway through the period.

Kesler set a perfect screen, again delaying Hutchinson from making any effort until it was too late. Sami Vatanen and Mike Santorelli had the assists.

Perry made it 3-0 early in the second period by firing a slap shot in on a 3-on-2 break.

Gibson picked up his first career assist on Perry’s 14th goal of the season, only to see his scoreless streak end minutes later after a shot by Myers redirected off an Anaheim stick and in. Gibson had not allowed a goal in the previous 184:30, including consecutive 1-0 wins at Calgary and Edmonton.

Kesler added another power-play goal late in the second, eventually cleaning up a breakaway miss by Chris Stewart. Bieksa had an assist for his first multipoint game since joining the Ducks last summer.

It was the 35th power-play goal allowed by the Jets, worst in the NHL.

And while Winnipeg couldn’t get out of its own way on special teams one night after dominating San Jose in a 4-1 win, Anaheim’s league-best penalty kill did not allow a goal in four opportunities.

NOTES: Winnipeg C Mark Scheifele (concussion) returned to action after missing three games. Matt Halischuk was sent back to the Jets’ AHL affiliate in a corresponding roster move. . The Jets scratched forward Anthony Peluso and defencemen Adam Pardy and Paul Postma. . The Ducks scratched forward Jiri Sekac and defenceman Clayton Stoner. . The Ducks and Jets won’t meet again until March 20 in Winnipeg.

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