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Kunitz nets pair as Ducks down Devils

Monday, 01.12.2009 / 12:09 AM / Game of the Night

By Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

Corey Perry's return to the lineup and the subsequent reuniting of the Anaheim Ducks' top line turned out to be exactly what they needed to pick up their first win in three games.

Chad Kunitz snapped a tie with a pair of third-period goals, both assisted on by Perry, and the Ducks held on for a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils on Sunday night at Honda Center.

Bobby Ryan and Samuel Pahlsson also tallied for Anaheim, which got Perry back after he served a four-game suspension for elbowing Claude Giroux of Philadelphia on Jan. 2. Perry is second on the team with 36 points, and he made his impact felt on a pair of key plays down the stretch.

"He's a great offensive player that can move the puck and draws people to him," Kunitz said. "Any time you have a key offensive guy out of the lineup and you get him back, it gives the whole team a boost."

Kunitz was credited with the go-ahead goal on a wraparound 1:36 into the third, then extended the Ducks' lead to 4-2 with 3:33 remaining with a wrist shot past Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen. That proved to be the winner when Zach Parise scored a sixth-attacker goal with 31 seconds left. New Jersey couldn't get another puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 18 saves to win for the first time in his last six appearances.

"It was a good effort all around," Giguere said. "It's been a while since I got a win and it feels good. I won't lie to you."

Bobby Holik and David Clarkson had the other Devils goals and Clemmensen stopped 30 shots. New Jersey has split its first two on a six-game road trip that began with a win at Los Angeles on Saturday.

"It was a tough game. They don't give you that many opportunities," said Parise, whose 24th goal tied him with Boston's Phil Kessel for fourth in the NHL. "It was tough for us to establish the forecheck."

It took a video review to uphold the tiebreaking goal by Kunitz, who slipped the puck under the pads of Clemmensen. The Ducks immediately celebrated and after an initial delay the official pointed to center ice to signal a goal. Without any visual evidence to indicate the puck hadn't crossed the goal line, the original call stood.

"I've been up and down this year so far, it feels good to help contribute and get a win," Kunitz said after his first multi-goal game since Dec. 10.

Kunitz later added his 11th of the season off assists by Ryan Getzlaf and Perry. Getzlaf leads the Ducks with 50 points and has at least one in six straight games.

Anaheim controlled play early, taking eight of the first nine shots, but Holik got his 200th career goal with the Devils on a fluke play with 7:07 left in the first. He won a faceoff back to Mike Mottau and the defenseman's drive deflected up high off Holik and past Giguere.

The Ducks woke back up and grabbed the lead by period's end. Ryan, who started the season with Iowa of the AHL but has averaged a point per game since his Nov. 15 recall, finished off a great play by fending off John Madden and redirecting a pass from Brendan Morrison with 3:04 left. It was Ryan's 12th goal and 26th point.

Pahlsson made it 2-1 just nine seconds before intermission, one-timing a shot after Travis Moen beat Paul Martin to a loose puck in the right corner and centered it into the slot.

 
 
Clarkson had the lone goal of the second period, tying the score on a New Jersey power play. Giguere thought he had his glove on Brian Rolston's shot, but Clarkson got the puck away from him and slid it into the net for his eighth of the season.

"We didn't play smart hockey. They were doing the stuff that we weren't doing," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We had control of the puck but made a lot of neutral zone turnovers. We weren't dumping the puck smart."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions