'Superstar' Niedermayer leads Mighty Ducks

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Scott Niedermayer showed why he was one
of the top free agents in the NHL last summer.

The Anaheim defenseman scored a short-handed goal and logged
nearly 30 minutes of ice time Sunday night to help the Mighty Ducks
beat Calgary 4-3 to even the Western Conference series at a game

"We're happy to be going back like this," said Niedermayer,
who won three Stanley Cups in 12 years with New Jersey before
coming to Anaheim. "If we were going back down two, it would have
been a hole that would've been tough. Now we just shorten the
series a little bit and start again from scratch in a couple

Niedermayer gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead in the first period with a
sensational short-handed goal.

Niedermayer cleanly stripped the puck from Matthew Lombardi in
the Ducks' zone, then showed his speed in racing away on a 150-foot
breakaway. Moving in on Miikka Kiprusoff, Niedermayer cut to his
left and slid a forehand shot under the Flames' goalie for his 18th
career playoff goal.

"He's a superstar," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "He
plays every situation, night in, night out, has the ability to
elevate his game, and does all the things that are necessary to
provide you with leadership."

Sami Pahlsson, Chris Kunitz, and Joffrey Lupul also scored for
Anaheim, and Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Dion Phaneuf
countered for Calgary.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Anaheim.
In Game 1, Darren McCarty scored 9:45 into overtime to give the
Flames a 2-1 victory.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 22 saves in his return to Anaheim's
lineup. Giguere, the Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP in 2003
when Anaheim reached the Stanley Cup final, sat out Anaheim's
overtime loss Friday night because of a lower-body injury.

"It's a big win for us to go back with a 1-1 tie," Giguere
said. "The Flames are not going to give us anything for free and
we're not going to give them anything for free. It will be a hard
battle all the way to the end and most of the games are going to be
pretty tight. That's the way we should expect them."

Anaheim took a 3-0 lead on Lupul's goal at 5:10 of the second
period, but Calgary rallied on Iginla's short-handed goal at 9:09
and Huselius' power-play score with 8:07 left in the period.
Pahlsson made it 4-2 at 7:55 of the third period, and Phaneuf
completed the scoring with a power-play goal with 4:29 to play.

"They were more desperate than us off the start and we didn't
match it," Iginla said. "It was that first period where we were
very flat and they were good. They got out ahead of us and we
didn't fully get back into it."

Giguere held off the Flames on another late power play, and
stopped Lombardi's shot from 15 feet with 2 seconds remaining.

Kunitz opened the scoring for the Mighty Ducks at 9:37 of the
first period and Niedermayer made it 2-0 with his short-handed goal
with 6:40 left in the period.

Kiprusoff made 16 saves. He allowed four goals for the first
time in 38 games dating to a 4-3 overtime loss at Vancouver on Jan.

Calgary was 2-for-12 on the power play, while Anaheim was

"We have to be sharper and do the little things better,"
Flames defenseman Roman Hamrlik. "We have to play a full hockey
game and be better prepared."

Game notes
Calgary made two lineup changes, inserting forwards Craig
MacDonald and Mike Leclerc for Chris Simon and Jamie Lundmark. ...
When Calgary opens a playoff series with a split at home, the
Flames are 4-6 -- including losses the last four times they have
faced that scenario (1990, '91, '93 and '94). Each of those losses
came in the opening round. The last time Calgary won a series after
an initial home split was in the 1989 Stanley Cup final when the
Flames beat Montreal in six games.