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Ducks Down Sharks, 2-0

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Rookie Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves for his first NHL shutout, and Andy McDonald and Joffrey Lupul scored in the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' 2-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

Former Sharks forward Teemu Selanne had two assists for the Ducks, who prevented surging San Jose from passing them in the Pacific Division standings. The Sharks had won eight of their last 10, but their worst offensive game in a month led to their first shutout loss of the season.

Bryzgalov got the start in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who blew his top during Anaheim's 6-3 loss to Edmonton on Tuesday night. Giguere twice went after Ryan Smyth after the left wing apparently obstructed him, landing punches to Smyth's head and earning a misconduct penalty.

But Bryzgalov, who's been strong in his first full NHL season, made several big saves when the Sharks finally woke from the offensive slumber that limited them to 10 shots in the first two periods. Bryzgalov held San Jose scoreless during a lengthy 5-on-3 power play in the third, then stopped rookie Milan Michalek on a breakaway.

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 30 shots in a similarly strong performance for the Sharks, who had scored at least two goals in 21 of their first 23 games since Joe Thornton's arrival Dec. 1 in a trade with Boston. Thornton had trouble generating his usual offensive heat for the Sharks, and Jonathan Cheechoo's point-scoring streak ended at a franchise-record 12 games.

Anaheim defenseman Ruslan Salei went to the locker room late in the first period after getting hit in the face by Josh Langfeld's stick. The San Jose rookie inadvertently clipped Salei from behind while swinging to take a shot.

Salei left the arena for medical evaluation, but the Ducks' defense remained sturdy in the scoreless first 37 minutes.

The Ducks finally scored on their 23rd shot late in the second period when McDonald deftly redirected a straight-ahead pass from Keith Carney. McDonald, Anaheim's second-leading scorer, ended a six-game goal drought with his 15th of the season.

The Sharks were lightly booed while leaving the ice after managing just three shots in the second period.

Lupul stretched Anaheim's lead on a power play early in the third period, converting an expert pass from Selanne for his 17th goal after San Jose's penalty-killers somehow gave up a 2-on-1 fast break while the puck was in their own zone.

Anaheim then committed two quick penalties, giving San Jose a two-man advantage for the next 1:47. But Thornton, Cheechoo and captain Patrick Marleau couldn't score on repeated chances, and the booing increased.

Notes: Anaheim LW Travis Moen missed the game with a strained shoulder. ... Rookie C Dustin Penner, recalled from Anaheim's AHL affiliate before the game, played a regular shift. He had two goals and two assists during an earlier stint. ... Cheechoo had 10 goals and nine assists during his streak. He had a hat trick Dec. 20 in the Ducks' last visit to San Jose.

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