ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Randy Carlyle acknowledged the standing ovation with a brief wave of his hand, thanking the Anaheim fans in his usual understated manner for their appreciation of his tenure behind the Ducks’ bench.
“It’s always satisfaction when you beat your former hockey club,” Carlyle said. “I’m not going to hide that fact. I feel good about it.”
Carlyle was back in Anaheim for the first time since the Ducks fired the only coach to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup title. He was greeted warmly in the first period during a video tribute on the scoreboard.
“It was kind of touching,” Carlyle said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m very appreciative and thankful for the people that supported me in my time here, and my family. It’s a very special place, and as I’ve said, we’re moving back into the area at some point in our life.”
His Leafs then forced the Ducks to play almost as poorly as they were playing when he got fired.
Bernier didn’t have to make many tough saves despite his gaudy stats for the Leafs, who are ramping up for their second trip to the postseason under Carlyle, earning points in 10 of their past 12 games.
“I think he was pretty excited,” Bozak said of his coach. “He might have been a little more nervous for this one, but we’re glad we could get it for him.”
Carlyle won a club-record 273 games and made the playoffs five times in his six full seasons with the Ducks, but was fired in November 2011 with Anaheim off to a miserable start.
The Ducks have done exceptionally well since the change to Bruce Boudreau, who won 100 games faster than any coach in franchise history and led Anaheim to last season’s Pacific Division title.
Corey Perry scored his 35th goal and Frederik Andersen stopped 20 shots in the Ducks’ third straight loss to playoff-bound Eastern Conference teams.
“We’re in a funk,” Boudreau said. “And we’ve just got to get out of it before too long, and do what we do. We’ve just got to get back on our horse.”
Before this loss to end a five-game homestand, Anaheim fell one point behind streaking St. Louis in the overall NHL standings with consecutive shootout losses to Montreal and Pittsburgh.