The Vancouver Canucks have made a habit of third-period comebacks early this season. Playing with the lead, though? Not so much.
Despite their early penchant for late-game magic — certainly not a sustainable method of winning in the long-term — the Canucks were unable to score a come-from-behind win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Instead, they lost 4-2, as Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry scored late in the third period to nullify any chance of a Vancouver comeback.
Henrik Sedin had gotten the Canucks back into a tied game early in the final period, before the Ducks killed off a Vancouver power play and then surged ahead for good.
It’s Vancouver’s first regulation loss of the season. In six games, the Canucks have played with the lead only once.
Really, the score flattered the Canucks, playing the second half of a back-to-back set in California. The Ducks dominated possession, but goalie Ryan Miller kept the Canucks in it until late in regulation.
The Canucks are now 4-1-1. That’s still a good start, but there have been signs lately that they could soon be served a reality check.
Meanwhile, the Ducks have won two in a row after losing their first four games to start the season.
It was promising that their best players were their best players in Anaheim’s home opener.
Ryan Getzlaf had three assists. Corey Perry had an assist on the winner and scored to put this one away. Defenseman Cam Fowler, who has been at the center of trade speculation in the past few months, scored Sunday and is now up to three goals, with points in four of six games.
“He’s played great,” Getzlaf recently told the Orange County Register. “Cam put a lot on his shoulders last year. He had a great year for us last year and it gets overlooked a little bit because he does it in a little bit quieter way. He’s not flashy.
“I thought his play has carried over from last year. He’s continued to play the same way and at a high level.”
This win puts the Ducks within a point of the San Jose Sharks. The two California rivals face each other Tuesday in San Jose.