ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Although the Anaheim Ducks wrapped up another division title and secured another 50-win season, their dressing room was conspicuously free of champagne, plastic sheeting or any type of celebration.
Late in another dominant regular season, the Ducks are determined to stay focused on bigger achievements.
Andrew Cogliano and Francois Beauchemin each had a goal and an assist, and the Ducks clinched their third straight Pacific Division title with a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.
Corey Perry, Nate Thompson and Simon Despres also scored in the fourth straight win for the NHL-leading Ducks, who won for the eighth time in 10 games and became the first team to wrap up a division race.
“It’s actually fairly subdued in there,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Not taking anything away from anything, but we’ve had a fairly good lead for a while now. It would be more surprising if we didn’t get the division. It’s business as usual.”
Indeed, the Ducks (50-22-7) ran away with the Pacific, staying in first place every day since Nov. 12. They have won an NHL-best 50 games for the second straight season and the second time in club history.
Frederik Andersen made 22 saves, and Jakob Silfverberg had a career-high three assists in a dominant effort by the Ducks, who lead Nashville by four points for home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot,” said Cogliano, who scored on a penalty shot in the third period. “But it’s just one part of the puzzle. Until we reach our goal, I don’t think anyone will be satisfied. It’s an achievement because the league is tough. To be in our spot speaks to the team we have.”
The Ducks are also atop the NHL standings with a four-point lead over the Rangers and Nashville, but would need help from New York to win the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy.
Anaheim has an NHL-low three games left, with only two in the final eight days of the regular season, while the Rangers still have six games to play.
Beauchemin started the scoring with his career-high 11th goal, Perry scored his 600th career point on his 33rd goal of the season, and the Ducks rolled over the step-slow Oilers from the outset, jumping to a 4-0 lead in the second period.
“Everybody individually has to be prepared mentally,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored Edmonton’s only goal. “All it takes is one second when you lose your guy, and they’re gone. A team like that plays a really fast transition game, and they can kill you if you’re not paying attention for one, two seconds.”
Ben Scrivens stopped 22 shots for the 28th-place Oilers, whose three-game winning streak ended. Anaheim swept the clubs’ four-game season series.
“It’s frustrating,” defenseman Brandon Davidson said. “I know we come in here and we’ve got things rolling, and we put a game like that together. It’s never what we want.”
In a concession to their eighth game in 15 days, the Ducks rested second-line center Ryan Kesler, who has a minor arm injury. Anaheim also scratched forward Matt Beleskey and defenseman Clayton Stoner, who have both been nursing lower-body injuries.
But Beauchemin put the Ducks ahead on their first shot, converting a pass from Silfverberg on the rush. Long known as a stay-at-home defenseman, Beauchemin has turned into a regular goal-scorer in his 10th NHL season.
Thompson then scored on a one-timer from Silfverberg after an awful turnover behind Edmonton’s net by Justin Schultz. The Oilers defenseman is booed whenever he touches the puck at Honda Center for his decision in 2012 to use a technicality to become a free agent and spurn the Ducks, who drafted him in the second round.
Perry got his team-leading 33rd goal midway through the second. A few minutes later, Despres added his first goal since joining the Ducks last month.
NOTES: Kesler hadn’t missed a game all season. … Goalie Richard Bachman left the Oilers due to a death in his family. Scrivens’ backup was Tyler Bunz, who was recalled from Oklahoma City of the ECHL. … Beauchemin hadn’t scored 11 goals in a hockey season since 1999-00, when the 19-year-old defenseman did it for Acadie-Bathurst in the QMJHL. … Edmonton has lost six straight games at Honda Center, going winless since April 1, 2012.
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