ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle doesn’t know what’s behind the confluence of streaks bolstering the Ducks’ playoff chances. Right now, he’s just trying to make it last.
John Gibson made 36 saves for his 14th career shutout, Rickard Rakell scored for the fourth straight game and the Ducks extended their home point streak to nine games with a 4-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
The Ducks are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games and 7-1-1 in their last nine overall. Gibson has won a career-best six consecutive starts, and Rakell has six goals in his last four games.
All that has pushed Anaheim up to second in the Pacific Division, moving one point ahead of San Jose after picking up a third straight win overall.
“If I knew that answer I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and be making a lot more money if I could figure that out and have an explanation for that, but it just seems that talented athletes find ways to get on hot streaks and they continue to roll,” Carlyle said. “It’s no different than a golfer gets on a hot streak, gets in a groove, a pitcher gets in a groove. Things seem to go their way.”
Adam Henrique, Hampus Lindholm and Nick Ritchie also scored for the Ducks. Ryan Getzlaf and Josh Manson each had two assists.
“I think we’re just playing, like we have the last few years,” Gibson said. “It’s been a different year as far as injuries and personnel and whatnot, but we’re all here now and we want to make the most of it.”
The Ducks went up 1-0 1:24 into the game on Henrique’s 20th goal. With Tom Wilson in the penalty box for interference, Henrique scored on a wrist shot from the slot.
Rakell and Getzlaf had assists on the Ducks’ fifth power-play goal in their last eight games.
The Capitals have allowed power-play goals in five of their last seven games, having killed 72.7 percent (16 of 22) of penalties in those games.
Lindholm doubled the lead to 2-0 at 13:15. He fired a shot from the blue line that goalie Braden Holtby couldn’t see through traffic for his 10th goal, tying his career high set in 2015-16.
“We didn’t help ourselves a whole lot starting that way, but it wasn’t just that,” Capitals center Lars Eller said. “It was execution of passes, losing battles along the wall, being second on puck. Just being a split-second behind all the time. We’re not really a slow team, but in the first we looked slow because we were always chasing.”
While the Ducks are surging, the Capitals are trying to put together some consistent play. Holtby was pulled early in the second period after giving up three goals on nine shots. Philipp Grubauer made eight saves in relief for the Capitals, who have lost three straight road games.
Washington failed to put together three straight wins, something it hasn’t done since notching five in a row Dec. 28-Jan. 9.
Rakell made it 3-0 at 5:27 in the second period. He beat Holtby with a powerful wrist shot from the left circle, prompting Capitals coach Barry Trotz to turn to Grubauer. Holtby has been pulled from four of his 11 starts since the beginning of February.
“Everybody goes through some dry spells, and he’s having one right now,” Trotz said.
Ritchie picked up the empty-netter with 1:26 remaining.
NOTES: Getzlaf had multiple assists for the third straight game. He has two goals and 10 assists in his last six games. … Manson has a point in three straight games, with one goal and three assists during the streak. … The Ducks have killed 25 straight penalties.
Capitals: Visit Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Ducks: Visit Nashville on Thursday night.
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