Jakob Silfverberg lunged forward and essentially turned on the stretch run for the Ducks as if he had flipped a switch.
Playing his first game since a head injury forced him to miss the previous three, Silfverberg’s clever tip of Nick Ritchie’s shot-pass opened the scoring Tuesday, and his third-period goal highlighted a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Silfverberg’s break was stretched over the All-Star break, but no rust was evident.
“It was a long time without playing,” Silfverberg said. “I was [excited] the legs felt good, and hopefully that will continue forward.”
Anaheim signaled its post-All-Star break purpose with added flair: Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler reached career highs with their 21st and 11th goals, respectively. Corey Perry recorded his 700th career point and Korbinian Holzer scored his first goal this season as the Ducks said goodbye to Honda Center for an upcoming six-game, two-week trip.
That placed importance on banking two points, especially on the first night with their first real full lineup as center Nate Thompson made his season debut. Goalie John Gibson recorded his 20th win to get one behind his career high set last season.
Silfverberg set the tone when he lunged to nick Ritchie’s feed on the power play midway through the opening period for his 14th goal.
“A little bit of a lucky play, I’d say, but it managed to find its way in,” Silfverberg said.
No. 15 was a backhand past Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard 2:51 into the third and the Ducks were on their way.
“It was a welcome addition to our hockey club tonight because we haven’t really scored a lot of five-on-five goals or haven’t had enough offense on five-on-five to satisfy the coaching staff,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said of Silfverberg.
Rakell tapped home Perry’s pass in the second period, and Perry became the third Ducks player to reach the 700-point mark, after franchise leader Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf.
It was Holzer, though, who earned the third star of the game with his first goal since 2013, a span of 100 games. The last time he was one of the three stars?
“In the NHL?” Holzer said to laughter. “It’s been a while. It’s nice. It’s a good feeling to get that monkey off my back, but I’m probably not going to turn into a goal scorer.”
Defenseman Sami Vatanen was a plus-3 in a bounce-back performance. He was a healthy scratch Jan. 23 after a minus-4 rating against the Minnesota Wild and minus-1 against the Edmonton Oilers before the break.
It had been a long time since he was scratched.
“It’s been a little while since I last ate popcorn there in the press box, but it’s hockey,” Vatanen said. “You never know. You’ve just got to keep doing what you’re doing.”
Silfverberg kept doing what he does with linemates Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano. Kesler was back in serious mode after his All-Star weekend. But his 6-year-old-son, Ryker, who scored against Montreal goalie Carey Price in the skills competition of All-Star weekend, still enjoyed his celebrity.
“[His] teacher saw him on TV and thought it was pretty cool, so he’s still on cloud nine,” Kesler said.