ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Not even a three-game absence because of an upper-body injury could slow down Jakob Silfverberg during his breakthrough season.
Silfverberg scored two goals, John Gibson made 28 saves and the Anaheim Ducks wrapped up a three-game season sweep of the struggling Colorado Avalanche with a 5-1 victory Tuesday night.
With the stalwarts that have carried the Ducks to four consecutive Pacific Division titles starting to show signs of aging, Silfverberg’s continued development could be critical in bringing another crown to Anaheim. The 27-year-old Swede is getting to the net, and that hard-charging style resulted in his third multiple-goal game this season.
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”It’s getting pucks toward the net and someone drive in there, and both my goals tonight are just driving hard in the middle,” Silfverberg said. ”It doesn’t have to be too fancy.”
On his first goal, Silfverberg was somehow able to flick Nick Ritchie’s pass on net, where it split the narrow gap between goalie Calvin Pickard and the post just as a penalty was expiring. It was Silfverberg’s fourth goal with the man advantage this season, though he wasn’t even sure how it happened.
Silfverberg’s second goal was simpler, but just as timely. After Nathan MacKinnon nearly tied the game at 2 early in the third period, putting his own rebound just wide of Gibson, the Ducks broke the other way and Silfverberg scored his 15th of the season.
Rickard Rakell, Korbinian Holzer and Cam Fowler each added a goal for the Ducks, who moved ahead of Edmonton for second place in the Pacific by picking up at least one point for the 16th time in 18 games.
Fowler credited Silfverberg for giving the team a spark ahead of a six-game East Coast road trip, which should provide plenty of time for bonding and practicing.
”The guy does everything. I think he’s our first guy out on the penalty kill, he plays against other teams’ top lines,” said Fowler, who set a career high with his 11th goal. ”Anytime he is out of the lineup we certainly notice, and we’re happy to have him back.”
And while the Ducks are streaking toward the playoffs, the Avalanche are looking for a win any way they can get one.
Mikko Rantanen scored and Pickard, making his first start since fellow Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov underwent season-ending groin surgery last week, stopped 26 shots for the Avalanche, who have lost eight consecutive games and 24 of 28.
The Avalanche had chances early on to reverse those woes. While both teams looked a bit sluggish coming out of the All-Star break, the Ducks’ special teams were anything but. Anaheim killed off all three penalties and scored on the only shot of its lone power play in the first period.
Colorado coach Jared Bednar thought his team deserved more from the opening 20 minutes.
”I thought we were the better team in the first and earned some of those power-play chances,” Bednar said. ”Unfortunately, we didn’t capitalize on them.”
NOTES: Anaheim forward Corey Perry got his 700th career point. … Nate Thompson made his season debut for the Ducks after tearing his Achilles in June, playing 9:54. … The Avalanche had D Tyson Barrie and RW Rene Bourque back in the lineup after lower-body injuries sidelined Barrie for four games and Bourque for three. … The Ducks improved to 12-0-0 this season when holding opponents to one goal.
Avalanche: Visit the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday to conclude a two-game Southern California road trip.