The Anaheim Ducks declared themselves as trade-deadline buyers Wednesday by acquiring Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman François Beauchemin to assist their playoff push.
They also showed themselves as one of the few NHL teams immune to the Rogers Arena curse, and handled the league's best team in its home barn.
The Ducks waltzed off with a 4-3 victory over the Canucks, and became just the fourth team this season to leave Vancouver with a regulation-time victory. Only the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes have achieved that feat, and it has not happened since Dec. 5.
The Canucks, who had earned points in 15 consecutive home games, fell to 19-4-5 on their own ice, while the Ducks won a fourth consecutive road game. Vancouver also had its five-game winning streak snapped, but still leads the Philadelphia Flyers by four points for first overall. The Flyers have two games in hand.
Ryan Getzlaf returned from a 14-game absence because of nasal fractures, and set up the back-breaking goal in artistic fashion. The Ducks captain fired a spinning backhand pass onto the stick of linemate Bobby Ryan, who finished with a backhander into a yawning goal. The tally, Anaheim's second in a 46-second span, made it 3-0 for the visitors early in the middle period.
The Canucks generated their fair share of chances, but couldn't solve a suddenly hot Curtis McElhinney too often. Daniel Sedin scored on a power-play midway through the second for his 29th goal of the year. Alex Burrows made it 3-2 with a goal early in the third period. Burrows has points in eight consecutive games. The Canucks put 37 shots on goal, but McElhinney was solid. The former Calgary Flames backup gave up just one goal in 48 minutes two starts ago, then shut out the Colorado Avalanche Saturday. With No. 1 goalie Jonas Hiller on injured reserve, and the Ducks fighting for a playoff spot, the 27-year-old is performing at the right time.
Cory Schneider was making his 14th start in place of Roberto Luongo, who was given the night off, and had one of his poorer performances of the season. He was beaten four times on 24 shots, including a goal in the first minute of the games, and fell to 9-3-2. Jason Blake finished a feathery feed from Teemu Selanne, who at 40 years old was one of the best players on the ice. Schneider had little chance on the next two goals: a skillful deflection from rookie Brandon McMillan, and Ryan's easy put-away. But the Canucks really needed Schneider in the third when they cut the margin to 3-2. Alas, just 28 seconds after Burrows scored, Ryan struck again, sneaking a puck under Schneider's pads to re-establish the two-goal cushion.
Canucks defenceman Dan Hamhuis went down in a frightening heap in the third period after a check from Getzlaf behind the Vancouver goal. Getzlaf drove his shoulder and elbow into Hamhuis's back, and the defenceman's head hit the glass. He dropped immediately onto his back, his limbs flailed out but moving subtly. Hamhuis got up and skated off with some assistance, looking a little disoriented but talking to his teammates. He did not return. Vancouver is already without defencemen Alexander Edler (back surgery), Keith Ballard (sprained knee), Sami Salo (torn Achilles tendon), and Lee Sweatt (broken foot). Salo is expected back for Saturday's home game against the Calgary Flames.