ANAHEIM, Calif. - Andy McDonald tallied twice to lead the Ducks past the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Sunday at Honda Center.
Dustin Penner and Teemu Selanne also scored for Anaheim which improved to 31-12-8 and 70 standings points increasing its Pacific Division lead to four points over San Jose.
The Sharks face the Canucks at 7 p.m. tonight in Vancouver.
Today's game marked the return of several key players to the Anaheim line up. Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin and JS Giguere all returned to action after missing significant time due to injuries.
The Ducks were without Scott Niedermayer who was kept out of the contest as a result of the foot injury that kept the Ducks' captain out of Wednesday's All Star Game in Dallas.
Anaheim used first period goals within 26 seconds of each other to take a two goal lead.
McDonald gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead at 9:33 of the first with his 13th goal of the season. The Ã¢â‚¬ËœFastest Skater' champion from the All Star Skills Competition streaked down the left side and fired a wrist shot off the blocker of Stars' netminder Marty Turco.
Penner tallied at 9:59 of the first period to give Anaheim a 2-0 advantage. Todd Marchant tapped the rebound of a Ric Jackman shot to Penner who netted his 17th of the season.
After a scoreless second period, Jere Lehtinen got the Stars on the scoreboard with a penalty shot goal at 7:46 of the third. Beauchemin was found guilty of throwing his stick with Lehtinen in the clear on a breakway. The Dallas forward beat Giguere on the backhand on the ensuing penalty shot.
McDonald regained the two-goal advantage for Anaheim at 9:14 of the third. The Anaheim centerman sped down the right side and once again beat Turco short-side, this time with a wrist shot that deflected off the netminder's glove and in.
The goal gave McDonald his second two-goal game of the season.
Selanne put the contest away for the Ducks with his team and co-league-leading 31st goal of the season on the power play at 10:17 of the third.
The Ducks will face the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
20:00 - END OF GAME
19:19 - DiPenta and Ott square off for a fight inside the Anaheim zone. Both men pick up fighting majors.
16:30 - Anaheim's Joe DiPenta and Dallas' Steve Ott each pick up roughing minors. The teams skate 4-on-4.
13:36 - Anaheim's Travis Moen and Dallas' Stephane Robidas each go off for roughing. The teams skate 4-on-4.
10:17 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - TEEMU SELANNE (31). Selanne gets the puck at the side of the net and stuffs it in for his 31st goal of the season. Ryan Getzlaf and Francois Beauchemin.
10:03 - DAL PEN - Stephane Robidas for hooking. Anaheim goes on their seventh power play.
9:14 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDY MCDONALD (14). McDonald streaks down the right wing and fires a wrist shot that deflects off Marty Turco's glove and skims in the short side post. The assists go to Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz on McDonald's second goal of the game.
7:46 - DALLAS GOAL - PENALTY SHOT - JERE LEHTINEN (15). Lehtinen is awarded a penalty shot after Francois Beauchemin is found guilty of throwing his stick with Lehtinen in the clear. The Dallas forward dekes and beats JS Giguere on the backhand.
6:19 - ANA PEN - Shane O'Brien for hooking. Dallas goes on their fifth power play.
4:12 - DAL PEN - Antti Miettinen for boarding. Anaheim goes on their sixth power play - they are 0-for-5 in the game.
0:23 - ANA PEN - Joe DiPenta for holding. Dallas goes on their fourth power play.
0:00 - The first period is under way.
20:00 - END OF 2ND PERIOD - SHOTS: ANA 8-21, DAL 14-19
11:36 - DAL PEN - Loui Eriksson for slashing. Anaheim goes on their fifth power play - they are 0-for-4 in the game today.
4:36 - ANA PEN - Rob Niedermayer for holding. Dallas goes on their third power play of the game.
0:00 - The second period is under way. Anaheim begins the period on the power play.
20:00 - END OF 1ST PERIOD - SHOTS: ANA 13, DAL 5
20:00 - Krys Barch has very much drawn the ire of the Anaheim Ducks. Chris Pronger and Barch square off inside the Anaheim zone after the final horn. Steve Ott and Corey Perry touched off a melee at center ice after the final horn that led the Barch-Pronger bout. Ott gets four minutes for roughing. Perry gets 2 minutes for roughing. Barch and Pronger get 5 minutes for fighting with Barch picking up a game misconduct. Barch leaves the ice with several words for the Anaheim bench. Anaheim will have a 2 minute power play to begin the second period.
16:24 - DAL PEN - Jeff Halpern for high sticking. Anaheim goes on the power play.
9:59 - ANAHEIM GOAL - DUSTIN PENNER (17). Todd Marchant taps the rebound of a Ric Jackman slap shot to Penner who buries it from the slot for his 17th goal of the season. Marchant and Jackman on the assists.
9:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDY MCDONALD (13). McDonald streaks down the left wing and fires a wrist shot off the blocker of Marty Turco to give Anaheim a 1-0 first period lead. Chris Kunitz gets the assist.
6:52 - ANA PEN - Mark Hartigan for cross checking. Dallas goes on the power play.
4:47 - DAL PEN - Krys Barch for slashing. Anaheim's Shane O'Brien and Barch also square off in the game's first fight after the slash. Both men pick up five minutes for fighting.
1:32 - ANA PEN - Teemu Selanne for holding the stick. The teams skate 4-on-4.
1:07 - DAL PEN - Phillippe Boucher for hooking. Anaheim goes on their first power play of the contest.
1:00 - Newly acquired Mark Hartigan is skating the left wing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
0:00 - The first period is under way at Honda Center between the Ducks and the Dallas Stars.
0:00 - Chris Pronger returns today to the lineup for Anaheim and will wear the captain's 'C' for Scott Niedermayer who is out of the game. JS Giguere and Francois Beauchemin also return from injury for the Ducks.
Starters: ANA G 35 JS Giguere, D 21 Sean O'Donnell, D 25 Chris Pronger, LW 14 Chris Kunitz, C 19 Andy McDonald, RW 8 Teemu Selanne; DAL G 35 Marty Turco, D 5 Darryl Sydor, D 56 Sergei Zubov, LW 21 Loui Eriksson, C 11 Jeff Halpern, R 26 Jere Lehtinen.
Scratches: ANA G 29 Sebastien Caron, RW 16 George Parros, D 27 Scott Niedermayer; DAL LW 17 Mathias Tjarnqvist, D 42 Jon Klemm.
The Anaheim Ducks had eight days to figure out how to get better. That may not have been long enough for Scott Niedermayer to improve.
In their first game after the All-Star break, the struggling Ducks may be without their All-Star defenseman when they continue their season series with the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
Anaheim (30-12-8) lost four straight and nine of 11 heading into the All-Star break. The Ducks' lead in the Pacific Division is down to two points over second-place San Jose, which visits Vancouver on Sunday, while the third-place Stars (29-18-2) trail by eight points.
Anaheim has been off since a 3-2 loss at Calgary on Jan. 19.
"The way things have gone, maybe that's what we need, some time to clear the head," Ducks forward Andy McDonald said. "Mentally when we come back, maybe we'll be a little more refreshed and physically this will give guys a chance to heal up from any injuries that they have."
One of the biggest injuries is to Niedermayer, who has a stress fracture in his foot. According to the Orange County Register, however, he's doubtful for Sunday's game.
Niedermayer, who scored twice against the Flames, got hurt against Nashville on Dec. 29 but continued to play. The injury, though, kept him out of the All-Star game and the team wants him to continue to rest it so it doesn't become a season-long issue.
The Ducks' last win was 5-1 over the Stars on Jan. 11 in the teams' last meeting.
"It's pretty disappointing," Niedermayer said. "We've put together a stretch of hockey here that hasn't been a lot of fun."
Anaheim is 2-0-1 against Dallas this season. The Ducks have won the last two matchups, outscoring the Stars 9-1.
Teemu Selanne had a hat trick against Dallas in the last game. He leads Anaheim with 30 goals and 59 points.
Several Stars returned from injury in the club's first game following the break, a 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Friday night.
All-Star Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher had two assists after missing two games last week with a facial injury, while Sergei Zubov scored a goal after missing three games with an elbow injury.
Defenseman Steve Ott had missed 37 games with a fractured ankle, and center Jeff Halpern returned after sitting out three contests because of a bad groin.
The Stars, though, suffered their first loss in four games.
"We've had guys that have stepped up and played a lot of minutes," Boucher told the Stars' Web site, "but it was good seeing Zubie out there playing injury-free. Same thing with Halpy coming back and it was good to see Otter, those are guys that you need to have in the lineup. We need to keep improving, keep working and this team can do well."
Dallas forward Jussi Jokinen has three points (one goal, two assists) in his last four games after recording just three assists in his previous nine.
- Associated Press