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Kariya Finds the Net, Ducks Get the Victory

Hockey: Anaheim captain records his first hat trick this season in 5-3 win at home over Nashville.


It might have been a horrible night for ticket scalpers outside the Arrowhead Pond on Monday but you won't hear any complaints from Paul Kariya and the Mighty Ducks, who certainly enjoyed themselves inside against the Nashville Predators.

Kariya scored three goals for his sixth career hat trick and first this season to lead the Ducks to a 5-3 victory over Nashville in front of an announced crowd of 9,522, the third-smallest home crowd in franchise history.

Kariya, who has had problems finding the net this season, scored two goals in the first period and one in the second to help the Ducks end an eight-game winless streak. Anaheim, which improved to 14-25-6-3, had not won since a 2-1 victory at San Jose on Dec. 26.

"What it basically amounts to is that we have needed one more goal a game," Anaheim Coach Bryan Murray said. "Not every game but a lot of games, when we score three goals we have a pretty good chance to win."

The Ducks entered Monday's game 26th out of 30 teams in goals with 99.

"That's why we keep searching, looking, hoping and working to get that other goal," Murray said. "It's a group thing that everyone has to be a part of."

On Monday, Kariya fixed that problem all by himself with the 49th multi-goal game of his career.

"Paul is one of the best players in the world and it's great to see him finally [have a big game]," said winger Marty McInnis, who scored his ninth goal of the season in the first period.

Anaheim goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had a 1.91 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in 13 home games before Monday, made 16 saves to win his ninth this season.

After losing, 2-1, at Nashville on Saturday, the Ducks got off to a strong start against the Predators on Monday. McInnis scored the first goal when his shot from the left circle deflected off Nashville center Greg Johnson's skate past goaltender Mike Dunham to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead 6:38 into the first period.

Kariya joined the fun with his first goal of the night at 13:31 when he gathered in a drop pass from defenseman Niclas Havelid and blasted a shot from the top of the right circle to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead.

Before the period ended, Kariya added another goal when he scored on a four-on-four situation off a great assist from Mike Leclerc at 18:26, to extend the Ducks' lead to three.

Nashville cut the deficit to 3-1 when left wing Martin Erat scored 1:03 into the second period off a four-on-two rush by the Predators. That set the stage for Kariya.

Skating on a line with Matt Cullen and Leclerc, Kariya scored his third goal of the game and his 17th of the season at 11:19 of the second period when he knocked in a rebound past backup goalie Tomas Vokoun, who had replaced Dunham at the start of the second.

The goal gave Kariya his first hat trick since March 29, 2001 at San Jose and his first at home since Feb. 19, 2001 when he scored three times against Calgary.

The Predators, who dropped to 1-5-1 at the Arrowhead Pond and 5-15-2-0 on the road this season, made the game close with a late second-period goal from Cliff Ronning, who scored from outside the blue line, and an early third-period score by Kimmo Timonen.

But the Ducks finished the scoring when Cullen scored an empty-net goal for his 10th of the season with 33.6 seconds remaining.

Former Duck Petr Tenkrat, who scored the winning goal for the Predators Saturday, did not score Monday. Anaheim's Jeff Friesen did not play after the second period because of an ankle injury.

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