VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Anaheim Ducks are used
to being counted out this season, so being down to Vancouver on
Thursday night didn't faze them.
Corey Perry had a goal and assist in regulation and the only
goal in a shootout, and Anaheim overcame a pair of two-goal
deficits to beat the Canucks 6-5.
"I think it's a tribute to the guys recognizing around the room
and on the ice and on the bench that we're not out of it just
because we're down two," said rookie Bobby Ryan, who set up
Anaheim's first goal and scored the next two.
Overlooked while sitting in 13th place on March 18, the Ducks
have won eight of nine since then, moving into seventh in the
Western Conference playoff race, one point ahead of St. Louis
and two up on ninth-place Nashville.
"We feel like we belong in the upper echelon in this conference
and it's been a long year with a lot of inconsistency and if we
can manage to peak at the right time then hopefully we can
create some damage," Ryan said.
Teemu Selanne also had two goals, and Jonas Hiller made 25 saves
in regulation and overtime, then stopped Pavol Demitra, Kyle
Wellwood and Alex Burrows in the shootout.
"We live another day," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's the
most important game of the season at this point. They all are at
this time. When you're in a desperate situation as we are,
there's no other way to explain it. Every point is precious and
more precious as the games dwindle down."
The single point for getting the game to overtime was certainly
valuable to the Canucks. It clinched a playoff spot, moved them
into a tie with Calgary atop the Northwest Division and one
point ahead of fifth-place Chicago in the race for home-ice
advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
"We're in and now we're going to focus on seeing whether we can
get home-ice advantage," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "At
the end of the day, that team right now with us is the second
hottest team in the NHL and it went to a shootout. We battled
hard and a point automatically clinches a playoff spot."
After a slow first 10 minutes, the teams seemed to score at will
for the next 30, combining for 10 goals through the second
period before failing to settle things through overtime. Anaheim
blew an early two-goal lead before twice recovering from two
goals down, setting the stage for Perry s heroics.
"Up, down, up, down, it's one of those nights where we just keep
plugging away and we knew we were going to get our chances if we
just kept going to the net and kept battling and we got rewarded
for how hard we worked," Perry said.
Vancouver's top line of Burrows and identical twins Daniel and
Henrik Sedin all scored. Kyle Wellwood and Ryan Kesler also
scored for the Canucks, who returned from a 12-day, six-game
trip to see their home winning streak end at 11 games.
The teams traded two goals each the final half of the first
Selanne, on a power-play deflection, and Ryan, on a long shot
through Perry's screen, scored 3:16 apart midway through to give
the Ducks a 2-0 lead.
Henrik Sedin pulled the Canucks within a goal with a shot
through twin brother Daniel s screen two minutes later. After
Ducks forward Drew Miller rang a shot off the post on a 2-on-1,
Kyle Wellwood tied it with 1:15 left after a great play and pass
by Steve Bernier, who was robbed earlier on a breakaway.
Vancouver failed to convert a length 5-on-3 early in the second,
but went ahead when Burrows banked a shot from below the goal
line in off Hiller 3 minutes into the period for his 27th goal
of the season.
Daniel Sedin added his 31st on a power play just over 2 minutes
Ryan, with a nice individual effort off the rush, and Kesler, on
the tail end of a tic-tac-toe passing play, traded goals midway
through the period.
Perry closed the gap just a minute after Kesler's goal, banging
a rebound over Luongo after a sloppy Canucks line change created
a 3-on-1 down low for the Ducks, and Selanne snapped a quick
shot between the goaltender's legs off the rush to tie it with
3:32 left in the second period.
Hiller, making a third straight start ahead of Jean-Sebastien
Giguere, made point-blank stops on Burrows' power-play shot in
the final minute of regulation, and on Daniel Sedin's deflection
with 50 seconds left in overtime.
"I don't mind five goals if we win," Hiller said. "We can
definitely play better, more structure, but we'll take these two
points and be happy about it."
Luongo stopped 27 shots through overtime.
Notes: Ryan added an assist, giving him four goals and eight
points during a four-game point streak, and increasing his lead
among all NHL rookies in goals (28) and points (54). Henrik and
Daniel Sedin both extended point streaks to six games, with 25
points combined over that time. Play was delayed after Daniel's
second-period goal to clean up the mess left by a salmon thrown
on the ice. ... The Canucks play in Edmonton Saturday -- their
eighth straight in a different city -- before returning home to
face Colorado on Sunday.