ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Mighty Ducks had no problem staying focused, even
with Paul Kariya making his long-awaited return to Anaheim.
Sergei Fedorov scored the tying goal with 46 seconds left in the third
period and assisted on the winner by Niclas Havelid in overtime, sending the
Ducks past the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 Friday night.
``We started the game with a lot of confidence,'' Fedorov said. ``We were
skating well as a group and going pretty hard. We matched up well against their
top lines and when we had chances against them, we scored. We're excited about
this win and we should build on it.''
Vaclav Prospal and Steve Rucchin also scored for the Ducks, who ended
Colorado's seven-game road unbeaten streak. The NHL-leading Avalanche got goals
from Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Steve Konowalchuk, who has 13 goals and 10
assists in 47 games since he was obtained in a trade with Washington on Oct.
Kariya, Anaheim's captain during seven of his eight seasons with the team,
signed with Colorado on July 3 as an unrestricted free agent for $1.2 million _
just 24 days after Anaheim lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals to New Jersey.
Kariya got his first look at the Western Conference championship banner he
helped earn with six goals and six assists in the playoffs. He didn't accompany
the Avalanche during their previous visit to the Pond because of an injured
wrist that sidelined him for 31 games. But he played against the Ducks on Jan.
13 in Denver and scored a goal to help the Avalanche win 3-1.
``There was a lot of energy in the building, and it's fun to play games like
that,'' Kariya said. ``The game was very physical and there was a lot of
emotion. I didn't hear the booing. Once the game starts, you're focusing on
plays on the ice, not what the fans are doing. But I expected it, and it's part
of the game.''
The seven-time All-Star had two assists and was booed by the sellout crowd
of 17,174 every time he touched the puck. Former Ducks forward Teemu Selanne,
who beat Anaheim with an overtime goal on Nov. 18 at Denver, also received his
share of boos.
Kariya went behind the net to set up Konowalchuk's goal 47 seconds after the
second intermission, then started the play that led to Sakic's redirection of a
long pass from Rob Blake with 4:50 left in regulation.
Havelid ended it with 1:21 to go in overtime with a one-timer from 45 feet
out after getting a return pass from Petr Sykora, who was stopped on a
breakaway by David Aebischer midway through the extra period. The goal came on
a power play, after Martin Skoula hooked Sykora crossing the Colorado blue
The Ducks got even less than three minutes after Forsberg opened the scoring
at 11:16 of the second period. Sykora hooked Skoula behind the net and took the
puck away before setting up Prospal in front for his 13th goal and seventh in
seven games, following a 17-game drought.
``He hasn't been doing anything differently,'' teammate Keith Carney said.
``Vinny's a very gifted player offensively, and we need him to continue that.
We need the guys who are goal scorers to put the puck in the net and find ways
to create more offense.''
Rucchin put Anaheim in front 2-1 at 18:31 of the second while Konowalchuk
was off for high-sticking. The Ducks' captain converted Fedorov's centering
pass for his 13th goal and third in two games _ after getting only one in his
previous 29 contests.
Sakic came within a split-second of scoring at the end of the first period,
but his short wrist shot crossed the goal line just after time expired. Kariya
nearly had an assist on the play after setting up Sakic in the slot.
The Avalanche received a scare about seven minutes into the second period
when Selanne was hit in the leg by Blake's slap shot and crumpled to the ice.
But he made it to the dressing room under his own power and returned a few