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Go West: Vancouver loses to Anaheim; California coats the Pacific playoff race
With that, it's over... not with a bang, duh, but a whimper.
The Vancouver Canucks aren't mathematically eliminated from this year's playoffs. But with another loss – this one a hard-fought but ultimately emphatic 5-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks – the team slid completely out of late April contention. The next couple weeks are just semantics. Vancouver is done, and California's cruising.
Corey Perry led the way for Anaheim on Saturday, with a goal and an assist and all-around sturdy performance. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had one point and got in a fight with Alex Burrows, and goalie Frederik Andersen was the team's best player in net, stopping 31 of 32 shots as Vancouver pressed hard through the first 50 minutes.
Brad Richardson scored the Canucks' only tally – his line with Zack Kassian and David Booth continues to play well down the stretch, and was against Vancouver's best line on Saturday, with Canada watching on CBC.
For his part, Eddie Lack made 16 saves on 21 shots against.
With six games to go, the Canucks sit five points back of eighth-place Phoenix. Dallas is wedged in between the two, just one back of the Coyotes. Vancouver doesn't need one of those teams to turtle, it needs both to... and then it needs to win, which it hasn't done a lot of in 2014.
The West's three California teams are now all but guaranteed to finish atop the Pacific Division, with Anaheim in front, San Jose in second, and Los Angeles in third.
San Jose, with 103 points, is just one win away from leap-frogging the 104-point Ducks, although Anaheim has two games in hand.
The Kings – which won 4-2 over Winnipeg on Saturday to banish the Jets even lower than Vancouver in the West's standings – have won six straight games.
And, on top of that, their one-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner is making saves like this...