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Ducks 5, Avs 3

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

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ANAHEIM, Calif. - Andy McDonald tallied twice and Scott Niedermayer added a goal and two assists as the Ducks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Sunday at Honda Center.

Teemu Selanne and Chris Pronger also scored for Anaheim which improved its Pacific Division-leading record to 36-17-10 with 82 points in the Western Conference standings.

McDonald picked up the first of his two first period tallies at 9:30. The Ducks centerman gloved down a puck in the slot, got a shot off and followed up on his own rebound to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead.

The Ducks took a two goal lead on the power play at 14:21 of the first period on another rebound goal by McDonald. Linemate Teemu Selanne blasted a slap shot that rang the short-side post and kicked to McDonald who collected the puck in front of an open net. The goal was McDonald's 19th of the season.

Colorado rallied to cut the Anaheim lead to 2-1 before the end of the first. Mark Rycroft tipped home an Ian Laperriere shot at 18:15 of the first period.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic tied the contest at 5:00 of the second period with his 27th goal of the season. Sakic got a shot past the blocker of JS Giguere on the power play.

Selanne and McDonald hooked up again to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead, this time with Selanne picking up the goal at 19:16 of the second period. Selanne took a feed from McDonald on the far post and redirected the pass in for his team-leading 37th goal of the year.

In the third period, the Ducks took three nearly consecutive minor penalties beginning at the 9:00 mark. On Colorado's third power play of the period, Milan Hejduk picked up a loose puck in the Anaheim crease and deposited it to tie the game, 3-3.

Anaheim struck back on goals by Scott Niedermayer and Pronger to put the contest away in the third. Niedermayer beat Jose Theodore with a wrist shot at 16:37 for the eventual game winner.

Pronger then added insurance with the Ducks on the power play to seal the victory for Anaheim, 5-3. The big Anaheim defenseman rifled a one-time slap shot from the point for his 10th goal of the season at 17:25 of the third period.

The Ducks face San Jose and Los Angeles on the road this week before returning home to face the Sharks on Friday at 7:05 p.m.



20:00 - FINAL.  SHOTS ON GOAL: ANA 41, COL 26

17:25 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - CHRIS PRONGER (10).  Pronger one-times a slap shot past Theodore to give Anaheim a 5-3 lead on the power play.  Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Getzlaf get the assists.

16:59 - COL PEN - Milan Hejduk - 4 min. for high sticking.

16:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER (11).  Niedermayer beats Jose Thedore with a wrist shot to retake the lead for the Ducks, 4-3.  Assists go to Samuel Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer.

14:53 - COLORADO GOAL - POWER PLAY - MILAN HEJDUK (24).  Andrew Brunette's attempted pass through the crease hits the stick of Samuel Pahlsson.  Hejduk collects the loose puck in the crease and ties the contest.  Brunette and Paul Statsny get the assists. 

13:41 - ANA PEN - Scott Niedermayer - 2 min. for interference.  Colorado gets their third power play of the period and fifth of the game.

11:15 - ANA PEN - Rob Niedermayer - 2 min. for tripping.  The Avs will be on their fourth power play.

9:00 - ANA PEN - Ryan Getzlaf - 2 min. for high sticking.  Colorado goes on their third power play - the Avs are 1-for-2 in the game.

2:54 - COL PEN - Ossi Vaananen - 2 min. for holding.  Anaheim goes on its fifth power play - the Ducks are 1-for-4 in the game.

0:00 - The third period in under way in Anaheim.


20:00 - END OF 2ND PERIOD - SHOTS ON GOAL: ANA 12-26, COL 10-19

19:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE (37).  Selanne takes a feed from Andy McDonald at the far post and redirects it in for his team-leading 37th goal of the season.  Assists go to McDonald and Scott Niedermayer.

17:03 - ANA PEN - Chris Kunitz - 2 min. for holding the stick.  The teams will skate 4-on-4 for 1:21.

16:23 - COL PEN - Paul Statsny - 2 min. for interference.  Anaheim is on its fourth power play.  They are 1-for-3.

7:28 - COL PEN - Ossi Vaananen - 2 min. for holding.  Anaheim goes on its third power play.  The Ducks are 1-for-2 in the game.

5:00 - COLORADO GOAL - POWER PLAY - JOE SAKIC (27).  Sakic best JS Giguere stick-side to tie the contest on the power play, 2-2.  Assists go to Milan Hejduk and John Michael Liles.

4:32 - ANA PEN - Samuel Pahlsson - 2 min. for interference.  Colorado goes on its first power play of the game.  The Avs have the league's third-best power play at 21% 

0:00 - The second period is under way at Honda Center.



18:15 - COLORADO GOAL - MARK RYCROFT (4).  Rycroft deflects Ian Laperriere's shot past JS Giguere to cut the Anaheim lead to 2-1.  Laperriere and Brad May pick up the assists.

14:21 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - ANDY MCDONALD (18).  Teemu Selanne hits the post with a short-side slap shot.  The rebound kicks to McDonald who buries it for his second goal of the game.  Assists go to Selanne and Chris Pronger.

14:13 - COL PEN - Ken Klee - 2 min. for delay of game.  Anaheim goes on their second power play.

9:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDY MCDONALD (17).  McDonald puts home the rebound of his own shot to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.  The assists go to Sean O'Donnell and Francois Beauchemin.

3:16 - COL PEN - Ken Klee - 2 min. for high sticking.  Klee catches Sammy Pahlsson in the face with his stick giving Anaheim its first power play.  The Ducks are operating at 20.9% with the man advantage (4th NHL).  Colorado is killing at 79.7% (25th NHL).

0:00 - Ironman Karlis Skrastins is out of the lineup for the first time in 495 straight games putting a halt to the NHL's longest consecutive games played streak.  A knee injury is keeping the Avs defenseman out of the game.

0:00 - The first period has begun at Honda Center between the Ducks and Avs.


Starters: ANA G 35 JS Giguere, D 27 Scott Niedermayer, D 23 Francois Beauchemin, RW Teemu Selanne, C 19 Andy McDonald, LW 14 Chris Kunitz; COL G 60 Jose Theodore, D 5 Brett Clark, D 34 Kurt Sauer, RW 12 Brad Richardson, C 19 Joe Sakic, LW 15 Andrew Brunette

Scratches: ANA RW 16 George Parros, C 22 Todd Marchant, D 33 Joe DiPenta; D 3 Karlis Skrastins, RW 28 Ben Guite 


A division leader typically would welcome a home game against a last-place club to help break out of a slump, but that might not be the case Sunday for the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks try to halt their recent slide and avoid a season-series sweep by the Colorado Avalanche when the teams face off at the Honda Center.

For the season's first three months, it appeared Anaheim (35-17-10) would coast to the Pacific Division crown and possibly the top seed in the Western Conference. The Ducks raced to a 27-4-6 start through Dec. 20, when they led the Pacific by 12 points over San Jose and held an 11-point edge on Nashville for the conference lead.

Anaheim has stumbled to an 8-13-4 mark since and now trails the Predators and Detroit by six points for the top spot in the West. Friday night's 4-1 loss at Dallas, the third defeat in a row for the Ducks, further tightened the Pacific race. Anaheim's division lead is down to three points over the Sharks and five points over the third-place Stars.

"We just didn't compete like we needed to," Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer said Thursday. "This was an important game for both teams and we didn't respond to it. It's upsetting for sure."

The Ducks allowed the first four goals against Dallas and didn't score until Corey Perry's unassisted tally with 4:45 to avoid being shut out for the fourth time this month. Anaheim has scored two goals or fewer in five of its last eight games, going 2-4-2 over that span.

"This is as flat as we've been all year and I don't know why," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "In the situation we're in, in this important of a game, this made a statement."

Anaheim may not have come out flat in its last matchup with the Avalanche, but the Ducks still came up short on Feb. 13 at Denver. They put 39 shots on net, but Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj stopped them all to lead the Avs to a 2-0 win - his second shutout of 2006-07.

It was the third victory in as many meetings this season for Colorado against the Ducks, although the earlier two games both went to shootouts. Since the end of the lockout, the Avalanche are 6-0-1 versus Anaheim.

Despite the success in this series, Colorado (29-28-5) occupies last place in the Northwest Division and is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 1993-94, when the franchise was in Quebec. The Avalanche have never finished lower than second in a division since moving to Denver.

Colorado opened its two-day Southern California road trip Saturday night with its fourth loss in five games, squandering a two-goal lead in the final five minutes of regulation at Los Angeles before falling 6-5 in a shootout.

Former Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake tied the game with 4 seconds left in the third period, and Dustin Brown beat Budaj in the sixth round of the shootout to send the Avs to defeat.

"It was a killer. This one stings," said Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, whose team is 10 points out of a playoff spot with 20 games remaining.

Avalanche captain Joe Sakic extended his assist streak to 10 games in the loss, matching Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis for the longest such streak in the NHL this season. Sakic has five goals and 14 assists during his run.

- Associated Press

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