for this game

Giguere, Selanne-Kunitz combo too much for Predators

Dec 7, 2006 - 5:52 AM
ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz supplied the offense for the Anaheim Ducks. Jean-Sebastien Giguere took care of the rest.

Selanne and Kunitz combined for three goals and four assists and Giguere made 21 saves for his league-leading fourth shutout as the Ducks cruised to a 4-0 triumph over the Nashville Predators.

Entering with 10 points in his previous 12 games, Selanne again was a force for the Ducks, who had their five-game winning streak snapped by Los Angeles on Sunday. The "Finnish Flash" opened the scoring with 57 seconds to go in the first period and gave Anaheim a 3-0 cushion with a power-play tally midway through the third.

"He's an elite-level player," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's healthy and he's huge for us. Teemu is always dangerous when he has the puck."

Selanne's first goal proved to be his league-leading fifth game-winner. The second gave him two multi-goal performances in his last three games and fourth in the last nine.

Kunitz set up both of Selanne's tallies as well as one by Ryan Getzlaf in the second period. The 27-year-old capped the second four-point game of his career with a power-play goal late in the third.

"I guess it's just hard work," Kunitz said. "The coach puts (our line) in a good position to get the points. We play a lot of power-play time, we get to play a lot of offensive position time. So when we can be in their end, good things happen."

"Where has this guy been?" Selanne asked of Kunitz. "He barely made the team last year. I think the new rules really help him."

The strong offensive effort by the duo made things easy for Giguere, who stopped seven shots in the first period, eight in the second and six in the third en route to tying Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen, Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff and Detroit's Dominik Hasek for the league lead in shutouts. It also increased the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner's wins total to 17 - also tops in the NHL.

"The defensemen did a great job," Giguere said. "They've been doing this all year. They're not afraid to get their nose dirty and they know that I'm going to battle like crazy for that first shot, and they're always ready for that second shot to get the rebound away."

Andy McDonald added two assists for the Ducks, whose 106 goals trail only Buffalo (117) for most in the league.

Chris Mason made 28 saves for Nashville, which has lost four straight meetings with Anaheim.

"They're a good team," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They don't beat themselves. They bent a few times but didn't break."

The Ducks grabbed a 2-0 lead on a pair of excellent passing plays. Late in the opening period, McDonald got the puck around defenseman Shea Weber to Selanne, who glided down the left side and beat Mason high to the glove side for his 14th of the season.

"It as just a great pass, a key pass in the middle and I tried to shoot high," Selanne said. "A good feeling to find a way to get some goals, and at that point in the game, it was important to get the lead."

"It was really big," Kunitz added. "Anytime after penalty trouble you can get on the board after 20 minutes and be ahead, it's a great feeling to have at home, especially after a loss."

Midway through the middle session, defenseman Chris Pronger fired a pass from deep in his own zone to Kunitz at Nashville's blue line. Kunitz followed with a feed in the slot to Getzlaf, who came in alone and deked before sliding a backhander past Mason at 9:43 for his fifth tally in six games.

"The new rule (allowing the two-line pass) was a great play, we can catch them (off-guard), especially when they're changing and we can stretch them out a little," Kunitz said. "I guess (the pass) came through really nice and (Getzlaf) made a great move on the goal. ... Pronger made a great pass and Getzie came off the bench and made a great move."

"It was maybe a bit of a bad (line) change on our part," Mason said. "When the guys pass across the other side against the grain, it's tough because your momentum is going one way, and if he's already coming this way and there's no pressure on a guy like that, it's a lot easier for him to prepare for what he's going to do. You can't really give guys that much time or they're going to score."

Selanne made another nifty move at 9:53 of the third, getting the puck from Kunitz alone in the slot and flipping a backhander in for a three-goal cushion.

"I saw Teemu standing there alone," Kunitz said. "He didn't holler for it, but he's usually in the right position all the time. If you just get the puck to him, he's usually in a good spot and has a good chance to score."

Anaheim went 2-for-5 on the power play, while Nashville was scoreless on six man-advantage opportunities.

"Our power play was horrible," said Predators left wing Paul Kariya, who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Ducks. "We had three or four opportunities in the first period and what did we get? Three or four shots. There's no way we're going to win like that."

Kariya, a former captain who helped lead Anaheim to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003, was booed throughout the game. However, the two-time Lady Byng Trophy winner claimed he was not affected.

"It sounds the same as cheering," he said. "Fans pay a lot of money to go to the game and they can do what they want to do."

"Here's a guy they used to cheer, and now they boo," Trotz said. "There's a guy who was the foundation of this hockey team. I feel a little sorry for Paul because he helped establish hockey in this area."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0 0 0
    ANAHEIM 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 14 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 19:03
    2ND PRD: ANA - RYAN GETZLAF 13 (CHRIS KUNITZ, CHRIS PRONGER) 9:43
    3RD PRD: ANA - (PP) TEEMU SELANNE 15 (CHRIS KUNITZ, ROB NIEDERMAYER)
    9:53
    ANA - (PP) CHRIS

    Dec 7 12:33 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    ANAHEIM 4
    3RD PRD: ANA - (PP) CHRIS KUNITZ 15 (TEEMU SELANNE, ANDY MCDONALD)
    15:04

    Predators vs. DucksDec 7 12:23 AM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    ANAHEIM 3
    3RD PRD: ANA - (PP) TEEMU SELANNE 15 (CHRIS KUNITZ, ROB NIEDERMAYER)
    9:53

    Predators vs. DucksDec 7 12:13 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0 0
    ANAHEIM 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 14 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 19:03
    2ND PRD: ANA - RYAN GETZLAF 13 (CHRIS KUNITZ, CHRIS PRONGER) 9:43
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS 7 8

    Dec 6 11:38 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    ANAHEIM 2
    2ND PRD: ANA - RYAN GETZLAF 13 (CHRIS KUNITZ, CHRIS PRONGER) 9:43

    Predators vs. DucksDec 6 11:20 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0
    ANAHEIM 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 14 (ANDY MCDONALD) 19:03
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS 7 7
    ANA 9 9
    GOALIES: NAS - CHRIS MASON
    ANA - JEAN-SEBAS

    Dec 6 10:46 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    ANAHEIM 1
    1ST PRD: ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 14 (ANDY MCDONALD) 19:03

    Predators vs. DucksDec 6 10:45 PM