Etem burns Ducks in Canucks' 3rd-period rally for 3-2 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Emerson Etem was a homegrown hometown prospect for the Anaheim Ducks until they gave up on him last summer.
In his first game back at Honda Center, the Long Beach native made sure the Ducks remembered what they lost.
He also made their Pacific Division title quest a little bit tougher.
Etem scored the tiebreaking goal against his former team with 6:37 to play, and the Vancouver Canucks rallied from a third-period deficit for their second straight victory, 3-2 over the injury-depleted Ducks on Friday night.
Dan Hamhuis scored the tying goal shortly after Nate Thompson put the Ducks ahead in the third period. Etem then batted home a rebound to punctuate the former first-round pick's return to Anaheim after the Ducks traded him to the New York Rangers.
''I've had a lot of special moments in this building,'' Etem said. ''A lot of good buddies over there. It's nice. ... We're battling right here for each other. It's been a rough stretch, so every win definitely feels special for us.''
Bo Horvat had a goal and an assist, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 34 shots for the Canucks, who snapped their nine-game winless skid Thursday in San Jose. Although Vancouver will miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, the club hasn't given up on a strong finish.
''It's been a tough year for sure,'' Markstrom said. ''We're not in the place we want to be. Right now I think we just have to stick together as a team and play our hearts out the last couple games. We have nothing to lose. We can just go play.''
John Gibson made 25 saves and Josh Manson scored in the opening minute for the Ducks, who had won three straight.
Anaheim remained one point behind the archrival Los Angeles Kings atop the division standings. The Southern California rivals each have five games left, including a Freeway Faceoff next week.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Ducks, who played without seven regulars and lost forward Brandon Pirri in the second period with an upper-body injury.
''I think it was just up and down,'' Thompson said. ''We had spurts where we were good, and other times when we were sloppy. It caught up to us.''
The Ducks still appeared to be in good position when Thompson scored his second goal in two games after going goalless in his first 42 games of the season. He converted a loose puck after an aggressive drive to the net by Chris Wagner, who played well in his first game with the Ducks since Nov. 13.
But Hamhuis tied it with a long shot through traffic for his third goal of the season, and Etem got a special bit of revenge on his former team.
''We make two mistakes, and it's in the back of our net both times,'' Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''We haven't played a 60-minute game in a while.''
The Ducks played without seven key contributors to their three-month rise from 29th place to Stanley Cup contention. Goalie Frederik Andersen (concussion), defenseman Hampus Lindholm (illness) and forwards David Perron (separated right shoulder) and Rickard Rakell (appendicitis) were all ruled out in the morning, joining defensemen Kevin Bieksa and Simon Despres and forward Mike Santorelli on Anaheim's injury list.
Anaheim lost Pirri in the second period after a big check from 6-foot-7 Canucks defenseman Nikita Tryamkin.
NOTES: The Canucks lost forwards Linden Vey (upper body) and Chris Higgins (lower body) to injuries in the second period. ... Perron, who has 20 points in 28 games with Anaheim, will be out for at least four weeks from the date of his injury, which apparently occurred March 21. Rakell, the Ducks' fourth-leading scorer, will return in a week. ... Wagner returned to Anaheim's lineup for the first time since the club reclaimed him off waivers from Colorado in February. Wagner, who was waived by the Ducks and picked up by the Avalanche in November, agreed to a new two-year contract before his recall from AHL San Diego earlier in the day.