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Playoff Bound Ducks Down Canucks, 4-2

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Scott Niedermayer, Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne each had a goal and an assist, helping the Anaheim Mighty Ducks clinch a playoff spot with a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

Rob Niedermayer also scored, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves as Anaheim moved seven points ahead of the ninth-place Canucks. Vancouver stayed two points behind Edmonton, which holds the last spot above the playoff cutoff in the Western Conference.

The Mighty Ducks' 14th win in 18 games put them two points behind Nashville for fourth place and home-ice advantage in the first round of the postseason.

Scott Niedermayer set the tone by scoring on a 40-foot wrist shot 35 seconds in. His brother Rob tapped in a big rebound to make it 2-0 at 10:34.

A pair of penalties left Vancouver two-men down 3 minutes later, and Andy McDonald converted a 3-on-1 break to give the Ducks a three-goal cushion.

The first penalty was against Alex Auld for interference because he swept away McDonald's stick from the top of his crease after the Anaheim forward lost it trying to knock a loose puck out of the goalie's glove. Then, Bryan Allen cleared the puck over the glass at the other end of the ice, firing it from his own faceoff circle and into the protective net behind Giguere 170 feet away.

The Canucks pressed during a pair of late power plays, but couldn't solve Giguere. The Anaheim goalie robbed Ed Jovanovski on a backdoor pass with 16 seconds left and squeezed his pads on Todd Bertuzzi's shot from the slot with 2.3 seconds remaining in the opening period.

Vancouver outshot Anaheim 21-3 in the second period, and Ryan Kesler finally beat Giguere on a power play. Anson Carter added another power-play goal on a rebound 6:14 into the third, but it wasn't enough. The Canucks lost to the Mighty Ducks for the second time in nine days.

Auld, who finished with just 14 saves, was pulled from his last two starts against the Mighty Ducks. He appeared distracted when Selanne cut through the crease on the first goal, and then gave up a bad rebound on Corey Perry's sharp-angle shot to set up the second. He didn't have much chance on McDonald s tic-tac-toe power-play goal, or when Selanne made it 4-0 at 7:47 of the second period with a cross-ice pass that bounced off former Ducks defenseman Keith Carney and into the top corner of the net.

It was also a rough night for Carney, acquired by the Canucks from Anaheim just before the March 9 trade deadline. In addition to putting Selanne's goal into his own net, he was caught out of position on the second and third Mighty Ducks goals after pinching at the other end.

Notes: The Canucks are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2000, two years after Brian Burke took over as general manager. Burke, who was fired after Vancouver won the Northwest Division in 2003-04, is in his first season as the Ducks general manager. ... Vancouver will play a home-and-home series Wednesday and Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, who are four points ahead. ... Anaheim will continue its five-game road trip in Calgary, Edmonton and San Jose before finishing the regular season at home against the Flames. ... Selanne's 39th goal gave him 26 points in 13 games. McDonald has 17 in 11.

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