He stopped Alex Burrows on a breakaway, and minutes later, denied the Canucks’ two-on-one threat.
Unfortunately, for the Ducks, that sterling display by their goaltender, Dan Ellis, came when Anaheim was on the power play in the second period.
No one ever said cleanup jobs were pretty.
That could be a metaphor for this lost, sinking season in Anaheim. Vancouver defeated the Ducks, 5-2, delighting its large traveling contingent of passionate fans at Honda Center on Thursday night.
The occupation may have been for three periods, but the Canucks’ domination was complete through about the first 28 minutes of the game.
That’s when Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau pulled starter Jonas Hiller and replaced him with Ellis after the Canucks’ Daniel Sedin scored at 7:59 of the second period to make it 4-0.
“It looked like we weren’t ready to compete with them,” said Hiller, who faced 16 shots. “It looked more like we were the team that played last night, instead of them. They looked like they were quicker and were winning most of the one-on-one battles.”
Ellis faced 15 shots, allowing one goal, late in the third period. Sedin scored his second of the game, with 3:58 remaining to give Vancouver a 5-2 lead. The Ducks’ goals, both coming in the third period, were scored by Bobby Ryan and Nick Bonino.
Sedin’s linemate and twin brother, Henrik Sedin, had a goal and two assists, the goal coming just 1:11 into the game, resulting from a Toni Lydman turnover earlier on the play.
Lydman was a minus-two and Boudreau talked about his mistakes.
“You don’t expect that from veteran guys,” Boudreau said. “But I think it was the veteran guys that created a lot of mistakes tonight. It wasn’t the kids. I thought they brought a lot of energy.”
Hiller admitted he was not happy with his play on the fourth goal, and Boudreau picked up on his dipping emotional vibe and made the switch to Ellis.
“The fourth goal, I thought Jonas was down. I mean, he was into the game on the first three goals …but I thought the longer it got the more he wasn’t getting into it because he was getting depressed, almost,” Boudreau said. “So I wanted to make sure we pulled him before it got to that point.
“I’ve seen it a lot in other people. You can tell. You can get a read on when a goalie is feeling down, a lot of times. A lot of times when teams score two goals quickly, it’s like a goalie is still thinking about the previous goal. And, then all of a sudden, another one goes in before they can get their head back into it.”
Hiller took responsibility for the fourth goal. But he did point out that the game could have been 8-1 or 9-1 had Ellis not played so well in relief, mentioning that before assessing his own play.
“They got a lot of scoring chances right in the slot, which is tough for a goalie,” Hiller said. "….But on the other hand if you get scored on, on a three on one, it’s just tough right now. It looks like we’re beating ourselves.”
At this stage, with the Ducks slipping fast, it is about sending messages. And one seemed to be delivered to captain Ryan Getzlaf, who was taken off the first power-play unit on the Ducks’ first power play of the third period.
Getzlaf has a mere two goals in his last 27 games.
Boudreau later went with the youngsters on the Ducks’ final power play, late in the game.
“Well, the other guys weren’t getting it done and these guys were working their tail off,” he said. “So it’s more of a reward for them. And maybe it was a little message to say, ‘Hey listen, you guys aren’t going to do it. We’ll get somebody that’s hopefully going to do it.’”