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 did so 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, 2002.
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 [playoff hopes of the] Ducks 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 apiece, 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. If 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 into 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 stick side.
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 the two-goal margin for Anaheim, 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 play.
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 it in."
Before Ulinov scored, Edmonton's previous 14 goals had been scored by 14 different players. ... Lupul became the fourth Anaheim rookie to reach double digits in goals, joining Paul Kariya, Patrik Carnback and Stanislav Chistov. ... The Ducks entered the game 5-for-41 on the power play against Edmonton since the start of the 2001-02 season. ... Dvorak returned after missing four games because of a groin strain. ... Giguere improved to 2-6-1 lifetime against the Oilers. ... Edmonton C Adam Oates, who helped Anaheim get to the Stanley Cup finals last year, played in his 1,318th NHL game, tying Guy Carbonneau for 32nd place. ... The Oilers were 0-for-3 on the power play and finished the season series against the Ducks 0-for-13.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Honda Center Location: Anaheim, California
Referees: Rob Martell, Rob Shick Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Mark Wheler
Attendance: 15,235 (88.7% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
No scoring this period
Niclas Havelid (4)
(Power Play) Assists: Petr Sykora, Vinny Prospal
Samuel Pahlsson (4)
Assists: Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz
Cory Cross (7)
Assist: Radek Dvorak
Joffrey Lupul (10)
Assists: Ruslan Salei, Chris Kunitz
Igor Ulanov (2)
Assists: Jason Chimera, Georges Laraque
Joffrey Lupul (11)
(Power Play) Assists: Sergei Fedorov, Martin Skoula