5 things we learned in the NHL: Ducks take Pacific

Watch as Corey Perry sets off a line brawl between the Ducks and Kings when he shoves Luke Schenn on his way to the penalty box.

The Ducks set a franchise record, Laich bridged generations, it’s been a rough week for Subban, Phaneuf’s emotional homecoming, and more in five things we learned in the NHL.

The Anaheim Ducks had a lot of trouble scoring out of the gate this season. But if you paid attention to the underlying numbers, then you knew it was just a matter of time before Bruce Boudreau’s squad would catch fire.

Oh, the Ducks have certainly caught fire.

Anaheim dropped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 to take over first place in the Pacific Division, setting a franchise record with their 11th-straight win. Let’s play with arbitrary endpoints for a moment and look at the fact the Ducks are 20-2-1 since January 13.

Things got heated in the first period between Corey Perry and Kyle Clifford. What transpired added up to 66 penalty minutes and Rickard Rakell engaging in his first fight in 154 NHL games.

Now who’s holding out hope for a playoff series between the Ducks and Kings?

Laich father, Laich son

Despite a 3-2 loss to their rival Ottawa Senators Saturday night, there’s reason for optimism in Toronto with the arrival of William Nylander and Nikita Soshnikov this week.

Nylander scored the first goal of his NHL career just under midway through the first period. Former Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich picked up the assist on Nylander’s first marker, which is notable because it was Laich who earned a helper on William’s father Michael Nylander’s 209th and final goal of his own NHL career in 2009.

Soshnikov scored his second goal since being called up from the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies in the second period.

Subban’s front-row seat to Scheifele’s hat trick

It’s been a rough week for Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban.

The one-time Norris Trophy winner was not among the first 16 players named to Team Canada’s World Cup of Hockey roster on Wednesday. On Saturday Subban coughed up a puck on a botched spin-o-rama attempt in his own zone, which led to the Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele scoring his first of three goals in a 4-2 win.

Subban would have a good view of Scheifele’s empty-net goal in the third period, losing a foot race to the 22-year-old who would complete the first hat trick of his career.

As Gudas it gets

Philadelphia Flyers’ Radko Gudas has earned a reputation as a rugged defenceman with a penchant for delivering questionable hits.

The Columbus Blue Jackets might say he’s more offensive dynamo than destructive presence following a 6-0 loss to the Flyers led by four points from Gudas Saturday. Gudas totaled two goals and two assists in the Flyers’ win.

The native of Prague, Czech Republic scored his first goal in 66 games, beating Curtis McElhinney in the first period — from centre ice, no less.

And like that, four of Gudas’s 10 points on the season come in one game.

Phaneuf gets emotional in homecoming tribute

Ottawa Senators defenceman Dion Phaneuf returned to Toronto for the first time as a visiting player since the 2009-10 season Saturday night.

Phaneuf was honoured with a pre-game tribute that left the 30-year-old teary-eyed.

A nice moment for Phaneuf, who spent parts of seven seasons on the blue and white side of this rivalry.

The former Maple Leafs captain also dropped the gloves for a tilt with Colin Greening, one of the players involved in the Feb. 9 trade.

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