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Anaheim 2, Atlanta 1

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Andy McDonald’s power play goal at 15:31 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and was the game-winner as the Ducks defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 2-1, on Saturday night at the Arrowhead Pond.

The Ducks have now won five of their last six games and are 4-0 on this five-game homestand that wraps up Tuesday night against Carolina.

“I think we worked hard and we have been working hard,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle.  “We’re not cheating on any area and I thought our players were rewarded for that.

A very big part of the Ducks’ recent winning ways has been the solid play of netminder Ilya Bryzgalov who is 5-1-0 in his last six games with a 1.33 GAA and a .950 save percentage.

“There have not been a lot of scoring chances for the other team the last few games,” said Bryzgalov.  “It’s made me look great.”

The Russian goaltender has only allowed one goal in each of his last five wins.

“The defensemen and the forwards are doing a big job in front of me,” said Bryzgalov.  “It’s not really tough when the whole team is playing well in front of me.”

After a scoreless first period, Joffrey Lupul (11, Marchant) got the Ducks on the board with his 11th goal of the season at 7:55 of the second period.  Coming in 2-on-1, Lupul roofed a wrist shot over the shoulder of Thrashers’ goaltender Michael Garnett to give the Ducks the 1-0 lead.

Atlanta’s Brad Larsen (1, Petrovicky, Modry) would get his first goal of the season at the 13:06 mark of the third period to tie the contest.

McDonald (9, S. Niedermayer, R. Niedermayer) would get the eventual game-winner for the Ducks on the power play a little more than two minutes later when his shot slid through the legs of a screened Garnett to give Anaheim the 2-1 lead.

“That was kind of a funny one, said McDonald.  “I don’t know really how it got by him. Maybe it fooled him a little bit.  It was a broken play.  The puck was kind of bouncing around. I was just trying to get my stick on it.”

The Ducks will face the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday at 7:30 PM before heading east on a three-game road trip to Buffalo, Montreal and Toronto.

NOTES: McDonald extended his point-streak (3-5=8) to seven games, tying a career high.  It is the longest point streak by a Ducks player this season…On Tuesday night, the first 5,000 fans in attendance to see the Ducks face the Hurricanes will receive a Mighty Ducks Drawstring Backpack.  Click here to purchase tickets.   

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