VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Anaheim rookie Dan Sexton is making it easier for the Ducks to forget the loss of star forward Teemu Selanne.
Sexton, a 22-year-old who started the season in the ECHL, helped set up two goals, including Saku Koivu’s tap-in on a power play with 4:13 left, in Anaheim’s 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
“It’s Teemu who?” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle joked about Selanne, a 10-time All-Star who scored 593 career goals before breaking his hand two weeks ago.
Sexton started the winning play with a cross-ice pass off the left boards to Kyle Calder on the far side of the crease. That drew both the defenseman and goalie Roberto Luongo across, leaving Koivu alone at the other side of the net to tap in Calder’s quick return pass.
“I don’t know how he saw me backdoor, but from there it was a fairly easy tap in,” said Koivu, who also combined with Sexton to set up linemate Bobby Ryan’s first period goal.
That extended the point streaks of Koivu, Ryan and Sexton to four games since being put together after Selanne was injured. Koivu has three goals and four assists during the streak, Ryan has two goals and four assists, and Sexton has four goals and three assists in his first six NHL games.
“It’s what you dream about,” Sexton said of moving from the ECHL to AHL to NHL his first three months as a pro. “Getting to play with great players in big situations in the NHL. It s tough to realize how far I’ve come to be here and contributing on one of the top lines and the power play.”
Ryan Getzlaf also scored and Jonas Hiller made 28 saves, including three big ones in the final 4 minutes as the Ducks won for the third time in four games and earned at least a point for the sixth straight game (3-0-3). Anaheim is back to .500 at 13-13-7 but still last in the Western Conference.
“We’ve felt .500 isn’t really a great accomplishment for our group, but our team is playing a better brand of hockey,” Carlyle said. “And if we can continue to develop as a group, then you never know what happens.”
Steve Bernier tied it 2 minutes into the third period, and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver. Sami Salo added two assists, and Luongo made 31 saves for the Canucks, who had their winning streak snapped at three.
Vancouver was trying to win four straight games for the first time this season, but was outshot 13-2 and dominated for long stretches in the first period.
“We totally got outplayed,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “We were very fortunate that our goaltender brought his `A’ game. He kept us in. The second was a more even tilt and then in the third I thought we outplayed them badly but we took a penalty at a bad moment and they made us pay for it.”
Anaheim opened after defenseman Shane O’Brien coughed up the puck coming across his own blue line, Sexton and Koivu quickly chipped it ahead to send Ryan in behind the defense and he snapped a quick, low shot through Luongo’s legs.
The Canucks didn’t record their first shot until a power play with 6:12 left in the first period, but the second one went in just over 3 minutes later.
Henrik Sedin took a cross-ice pass from identical twin brother Daniel and, with Alex Burrows providing a screen, snapped a low shot past Hiller’s glove.
That extended the point streaks of both Sedins to eight games. It was Henrik’s first goal of the streak after recording 14 assists in the previous seven games, while Daniel has six goals and seven assists during that stretch.
Getzlaf put Anaheim back ahead on a controversial goal midway through the second period after Luongo was knocked down at the right side of his crease. He dove headfirst across the net to somehow stop Sheldon Brookbank’s point shot, but was lying on his belly and had no chance as Getzlaf scooped the rebound over him.
“It was a close call but the ref didn’t see it,” Luongo said.
NOTES: Henrik Sedin’s goal was his 15th of the season but first since brother Daniel returned 12 games ago after missing 18 because of a broken foot. It moved Henrik into sole possession of second place in NHL scoring with 43 points, one behind San Jose’s Joe Thornton. … Anaheim RW Joffrey Lupul, who has 10 goals in 23 games, was scheduled to undergo back surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disc in his back. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks. … Anaheim RW Mike Brown, who started his career with the Canucks, played his 100th NHL game.