ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Even coach Bruce Boudreau acknowledged the Anaheim Ducks played perhaps their most dynamic hockey of the season early in their 5-3 win over Carolina on Sunday night.
The Hurricanes were suitably impressed, but they didn't stand a chance when the NHL's best were playing their best.
Corey Perry had two goals and an assist in the first period, Andrew Cogliano scored a short-handed goal, and the Ducks jumped to an early 5-0 lead in their second straight victory out of the Olympic break.
Frederik Andersen made 49 saves in his first action since Feb. 3 for the league-leading Ducks, who scored three times in an overwhelming first period filled with sharp passes, relentless skating and outstanding finishes.
"We were as good as we can be," said Boudreau, who won his 100th game in Anaheim.
Francois Beauchemin and Jakob Silfverberg also scored as the Ducks won their NHL-best 43rd game and stayed five points ahead of Chicago and St. Louis in the overall league standings. Anaheim coasted late in its third consecutive win overall, giving Boudreau plenty of fuel for practice even while he complimented his team on its start.
The first 30 minutes were a beauty: Perry got his 31st and 32nd goals during his sixth multigoal game of the season, while Cogliano set a new career high with the 19th goal of his breakout season.
"If we play like that all the time, we'll be tough to beat for anybody," Cogliano said. "I think we played really fast, moving the puck really well."
Andersen was solid while earning his sixth win in his last seven starts, but the Danish goalie could be headed back to the AHL after the game. Viktor Fasth, who has been out since Nov. 18 with muscle inflammation, is due to return to Anaheim as Jonas Hiller's backup.
"If we play like that, we're as good as anyone," Andersen said of the first period. "We've just got to figure out a way to play like that for a whole game."
Alexander Semin, Andrej Sekera and Patrick Dwyer scored in Carolina's fifth straight loss overall and its fourth in six days since the break. Cam Ward stopped 29 shots in just his second start of 2014, and the Hurricanes followed up Saturday's 3-1 loss at Los Angeles with another disappointing effort.