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Ducks Showing Signs of Life, 2-0

Hockey: Giguere stops 26 shots as Anaheim ends Edmonton's nine-game unbeaten streak with victory.

April 06, 2002|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

If the Edmonton Oilers end up missing the playoffs, they will be able to blame the Mighty Ducks and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere for their early summer vacation.

The Ducks played the role of spoiler to perfection as they stopped the Oilers' nine-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory Friday night in front of a crowd of 13,369 at the Arrowhead Pond.

Edmonton, in eighth place in the Western Conference with 87 points, had not lost since an overtime defeat to Detroit on March 13. But the Oilers did not have an answer for Giguere, who was as good as he needed to be in making 26 saves.

With the loss, the Oilers blew an opportunity to move into a tie with the Kings and Phoenix for sixth place in the West.

With Dallas and Vancouver winning, the Oilers' hold on the final playoff spot is down to one point.

Edmonton, which lost to the Ducks for the first time this season, will play the Kings tonight at Staples Center.

Captain Paul Kariya scored the first goal on a first-period power play and German Titov added an insurance goal in the third for Anaheim, which is 3-3-1 in its last seven games.

"We've played hard for a long time," Coach Bryan Murray said about the Ducks, who finished with 30 shots on goal. "It's just been so difficult for us to get that third goal every night."

Thanks to Giguere, who recorded his fourth shutout, Anaheim needed only two.

Giguere was at his best early in the third period with the Oilers pressing to tie the score. He made several impressive stops, which set the stage for Titov and John Leclerc, who teamed for the final goal.

"The [Matt] Cullen line has been good with Titov and Leclerc stepping up their games [over the last two weeks]," Murray said. "I don't have a lot of complaints as far as effort. The players are learning how to play together and I think they are more respectful of the team philosophy versus doing things by themselves."

The Ducks, who have sat near the basement of the Western Conference most of the season, benefited from some rare production from their power play.

Entering Friday's game, Anaheim ranked last in the league when playing with a man advantage, scoring only 42 goals in 358 attempts.

"We've just haven't played well together. We've tried every possible setup and line combinations," Kariya said. "We just haven't made smart plays out there. We make bad decisions with the puck. When you look at a team like Detroit, everyone knows who's on the ice and where they are without looking.

"On our power play, no one wants the puck and then we don't make plays with it."

Coach Bryan Murray agreed, saying the Ducks are lacking a quarterback on the power play.

"We've needed a guy who can really take charge," Murray said. "A playmaker. [Steve] Rucchin could be the guy or we may have the guy in the system. But that's something we'll have to find for next season."

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