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McDonald's hat trick leads Ducks past Canucks

Apr 26, 2007 - 7:22 AM
ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Andy McDonald and the Anaheim Ducks showed no indications of rust. Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks displayed signs of fatigue.

McDonald recorded a hat trick and Chris Kunitz registered three assists as the Ducks posted a 5-1 victory over the Canucks on Wednesday in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series.

Teemu Selanne and Ryan Getzlaf each had a tally and an assist and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 saves for Anaheim, which looks to take a two-games-to-none lead when it hosts Game Two on Friday.

"It was a quick turnaround for them," Kunitz said. "We're expecting them to come out hard and be a better team for Game Two. They probably won't be so jet-lagged."

"The first game is important in any series," McDonald added. "That was, overall, a pretty good game, but it's one game and they're going to come back even stronger. They're a good team."

Vancouver defenseman Willie Mitchell did not believe the loss was a result of lack of rest.

"It's a non-issue, in my book," he said. "I thought we had better legs to start the hockey game. ... I thought our jump was actually pretty good to start the game. We were taking it to them, then we got really undisciplined."

"We started pretty well, had some good jump in our legs," Canucks left wing Taylor Pyatt added. "We can't be using fatigue as an excuse."

Idle since eliminating the Minnesota Wild in five games of their conference quarterfinal matchup on Thursday, the Ducks fell behind just over seven minutes into the contest.

"We went through a bit of a situation like that last year," Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer said. "A lot was talked about it this time around. We tried to keep our focus and intensity just to play when the puck was dropped. It still took a few shifts, but we got to it eventually."

"There were a lot of questions - did we do enough, was a five-day layoff going to hurt our hockey club?" Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "I thought it did for about the first 10 minutes. We were a little rusty and turned the puck over. After that, we got it going."

The Ducks rebounded to score three goals on six shots later in the first period against Luongo, who endured a grueling seven-game quarterfinal battle against Dallas in his first foray into the postseason, a series that saw three games go to overtime - including an opener that needed nearly four full extra sessions and saw the All-Star goaltender record 72 saves, one shy of the league playoff record.

"I felt fine," Luongo said. "I wasn't feeling tired. I don't think that's a factor at all."

"We have a lot of respect for what he can do in there," Niedermayer said. "Everybody said the same thing - get traffic, just get the puck in there and look for rebounds. We did a good job of getting hungry around the net, and that's what we're going to have to do. That's how you score goals in the playoffs."

McDonald began the surge with a power-play tally at 9:24. Defenseman Chris Pronger, who reached the Stanley Cup Finals with Edmonton last year, unleashed a one-timer from the blue line that hit Kunitz in front.

Standing in the slot, McDonald picked up the loose puck and skated around the crowd before sliding it past Luongo for his fourth goal of the playoffs.

"They got a lot of guys in front of the net," Luongo said. "This is probably the most traffic I've seen so far. They've got two guys in front on the power play, and then a third guy coming in for a rebound."

After Selanne gave the Ducks a 2-1 edge with just over five minutes left in the session, the "Finnish Flash" sent McDonald in on a partial breakaway against Luongo, who was unable to make the save with 49 seconds remaining.

"I thought we had good jump and we were pretty sharp in the first period," McDonald said. "(We) came out with a lot of speed. That was the difference."

Following a scoreless second period in which Vancouver was outshot, 14-6, Anaheim extended its lead just over nine minutes into the third thanks to a giveaway by Luongo.

From near the left goalpost, Luongo attempted to bank the puck off the end boards to a teammate. But Corey Perry got to the puck first and dished to rookie Dustin Penner, who fed Getzlaf in front for an easy tally at 9:05.

"Luongo played pretty well," Getzlaf said. "We had a few shots he didn't have too much of a chance on. He battled hard in there and made a few big saves for them when he needed to."

Luongo, who stopped 27 shots, immediately was pulled in favor of Dany Sabourin, who surrendered McDonald's third goal. With the Ducks on a 5-on-3 power play late in the period, defenseman Kent Huskins passed down low to the All-Star, who fired a shot between Sabourin's pads from the bottom of the right faceoff circle at 19:08 to seal the victory.

"The guys did a good job of drawing their men out," McDonald said. "I had the puck and saw a spot in the five-hole and shot it."

"Tonight was their night," Carlyle said of his top line. "It's always nice to see that your top offensive players came through."

It was the first career hat trick - regular season or playoffs - for McDonald, who has recorded 13 two-goal performances, including six in 2006-07.

"It's pretty exciting," McDonald said. "I'm pretty fortunate to play with some good players. Teemu and Kuny (Kunitz) have been good for us all year long, and they were great for us tonight. It's important for me to be able to contribute and help the team win."

"He's always the first guy on the ice (during practices) and the last guy off," Giguere said of McDonald. "It's good to see a hard-working guy get rewarded."

The Ducks, who entered with the top power play (25.3 percent) in the playoffs, went 2-for-9 with the man advantage.

"We have to be more disciplined," Mitchell said. "If we're going to be playing like that and taking as many penalties (as we did), the series is going to be over in a hurry. We have to stay out of the penalty box."

"They're not the best power play in the league for nothing," Luongo added.

Jeff Cowan scored the lone goal for the Canucks, who had just one day to recuperate from their draining series against the Stars. After receiving a crushing check from Pronger earlier in his shift, Cowan chased down a loose puck in the left circle and beat Giguere to the stick side at 7:07 of the opening session to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.

"I thought we had a good start to the game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "I really liked our first six, seven minutes."

The tally was the first allowed in the opening 20 minutes this postseason by Anaheim, which kept Minnesota off the scoreboard during the first period in the quarterfinals.

McDonald drew the Ducks even and Selanne put them ahead for good, receiving a feed from the right corner by the center, getting past defenseman Brent Sopel and burying a backhander from the inner edge of the right circle for his 26th career playoff tally.

The Canucks played without regular defensemen Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa, who were sidelined with a back injury and the flu, respectively.

"It's a little different with those guys out, but we've got guys here who can step up, and it's a team effort," Sopel said. "We didn't do what we needed to do tonight."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 1 0 0 1
    ANAHEIM 3 0 2 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JEFF COWAN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:07
    ANA - (PP) ANDY MCDONALD 2 (CHRIS KUNITZ, CHRIS PRONGER)
    9:24
    ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 2 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 14:56
    ANA - ANDY MCDONALD 3 (TEEMU SELANNE, CHRIS KUNI

    Apr 26 12:39 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 5
    3RD PRD: ANA - (PP) ANDY MCDONALD 4 (KENT HUSKINS, RYAN GETZLAF) 19:08

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 26 12:36 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 4
    3RD PRD: ANA - RYAN GETZLAF 3 (DUSTIN PENNER, COREY PERRY) 9:05

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 26 12:15 AM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 1 0 1
    ANAHEIM 3 0 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JEFF COWAN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:07
    ANA - (PP) ANDY MCDONALD 2 (CHRIS KUNITZ, CHRIS PRONGER)
    9:24
    ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 2 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 14:56
    ANA - ANDY MCDONALD 3 (TEEMU SELANN

    Apr 25 11:43 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    VANCOUVER 1 1
    ANAHEIM 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JEFF COWAN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:07
    ANA - (PP) ANDY MCDONALD 2 (CHRIS PRONGER, COREY PERRY) 9:24
    ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 2 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 14:56
    ANA - ANDY MCDONALD 3 (TEEMU SELANNE,

    Apr 25 10:46 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 3
    1ST PRD: ANA - ANDY MCDONALD 3 (TEEMU SELANNE, CHRIS KUNITZ) 19:11

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 25 10:45 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 2
    1ST PRD: ANA - TEEMU SELANNE 2 (ANDY MCDONALD, CHRIS KUNITZ) 14:56

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 25 10:39 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 1
    1ST PRD: ANA - (PP) ANDY MCDONALD 2 (CHRIS PRONGER, COREY PERRY) 9:24

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 25 10:27 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL VANCOUVER 1
    ANAHEIM 0
    1ST PRD: VAN - JEFF COWAN 1 (UNASSISTED) 7:07

    Canucks vs. DucksApr 25 10:22 PM