ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Rookie forward Joffrey Lupul wasn't with the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks during their march to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. So he
didn't get to see Jean-Sebastien Giguere at his absolute best.
Wednesday night, Lupul got a taste of what Giguere meant for the Ducks last
spring, and he helped him out by scoring two goals in a 4-2 victory over the
Edmonton Oilers. Giguere faced 26 shots, and the only two that got past him
were because he was screened.
``It makes it a lot easier on everyone when you know Jiggy's going to be
back there making big saves,'' Lupul said. ``He had a tough time earlier in the
year, but a lot of it was our fault. The blame seemed to be put on him, but we
weren't playing the way we should be. Lately we have been playing well and he's
been doing a great job for us.''
Niclas Havelid and Samuel Pahlsson scored second-period goals and Rookie
Chris Kunitz had two assists for the Ducks, who ended a string of seven
straight losses to the Oilers dating back to Giguere's 2-0 victory on April 5,
It was Anaheim's longest losing streak against one team in the franchise's
11-year history. The defending Western Conference champions avoided a sweep of
the season series after losing the other three meetings by one-goal margins.
``We just couldn't sustain an attack on their net,'' Oilers coach Craig
MacTavish said. ``These were valuable points. You have to be closing the gap
instead of letting it widen. We are a .500 team since the All-Star break, and
we missed an opportunity to put the Ducks (playoff hopes) away.''
Cory Cross and Igor Ulanov scored for the Oilers and Tommy Salo made 28
saves. Edmonton and Anaheim are tied in the West standings with 61 points each,
eight points out of a playoff spot.
``We can't really worry too much about who's in front of us right now,''
Lupul said. ``We know that for us to get into the playoffs, it's going to take
a big run. So right now, we've just got to worry about ourselves, take it one
game at a time and start putting some wins together. We're a long way back, but
it's not impossible. It we play the way we played tonight, it can happen.''
Anaheim, 0-for-19 on the power play in its previous five games, opened the
scoring midway in the second period with Edmonton defenseman Eric Brewer off
for interference. Havelid beat Salo between the legs with a 15-foot wrist shot
after Petr Sykora found him all alone with a pass from the high slot.
About five minutes later, Andy McDonald's short backhander caromed off
Brewer's left skate and right to Pahlsson, who beat an off-balance Salo to the
Edmonton got one back just 26 seconds into the third period. Radek Dvorak
hustled after a loose puck in the left corner and passed it along the boards to
Cross, who scored on a slap shot from the point through a maze of players.
But Lupul regained Anaheim's two-goal margin, converting a rebound of Ruslan
Salei's wrist shot after Salo stopped a tricky backhander by Kunitz.
``We had a lot of chances around the net that weren't going in, but we got a
good bounce and I whacked it in,'' Lupul said.
Giguere was screened again _ this time by four players _ when Ulanov
narrowed the gap to 3-2 with a slap shot from the right point with 8:04 to
Lupul, who had a hat trick in the YoungStars game during All-Star weekend,
ended the scoring while Dvorak was off for holding. He beat Salo high to the
glove side on a 35-foot wrist shot with 3:06 left.
``I broke my stick behind the net on the end boards, so I went by the bench
and Jason Krog threw me a stick,'' said Lupul, whose other two-goal game was at
Atlanta on Dec. 5. ``Sergei (Fedorov) passed me the puck and I ended up putting