Mighty Ducks 4, Avalanche 0
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, a young team shooting for their first-ever playoff berth, are playing their best at the right time.
Now, if they only had more home games against the powerful Colorado Avalanche, they might have an even better shot of overtaking one of the teams ahead of them.
Valeri Karpov had his first career two-goal game and Guy Hebert registered his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career as the Mighty Ducks blanked the Avalanche 4-0 on Wednesday night for their seventh victory in the last 11 games.
Anaheim is 3-0 at the Anaheim Arena against Colorado, which has a 38-21-10 record for 86 points _ second in the Western Conference behind Detroit. Colorado hasn’t lost anywhere else on the road more than once this season.
``We have the type of team that can surprise any given team on any given night,″ said Garry Valk, who scored one of Anaheim’s goals. ``We’re a hard-working team, we’re very disciplined right now, we’re playing great defense and getting great goaltending.″
The Mighty Ducks, in their third year of existence, are 26-36-6 for 58 points, and are five points behind Winnipeg in the battle for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
Winnipeg is one point behind Toronto and two behind Calgary. The Mighty Ducks are one point ahead of Los Angeles, two in front of Dallas and three ahead of Edmonton.
The game featured a second-period fight between Hebert and Colorado goalie Patrick Roy.
``I just wanted to get down there so that it was an even-man situation and if something did happen, it wouldn’t be 6-on-5,″ Hebert said of the circumstances leading up to his tussle with Roy. ``I was just kind of excited to get down there and see what was going on, but I don’t think he was excited to see me.″
With his team trailing 3-0, Roy went into the left corner to clear the puck and lost his footing as he collided with Anaheim rookie J.F. Jomphe.
Moments later, Colorado’s Warren Rychel and Anaheim’s David Karpa exchanged punches after the puck was frozen along the boards. Roy sprinted about 40 feet out of his net and began flailing away at Karpa.
``After I gave up the second goal, I was mad at myself I kind of lost it a bit near the end of the period,″ Roy sad. ``It’s happened a few times, and it makes you feel good because you let your frustration out. Nobody likes to lose.″
Hebert soon joined the fray, and was greeted by a jab to the face from Roy. Each goalie was penalized two minutes for leaving the crease, while Roy got an additional two for roughing.
``He just kind of poked me, but he was so frustrated,″ Hebert said. ``It was like, what am I going to do, take a swing at one of my idols growing up? Besides, everybody snaps once in a while.″
The Mighty Ducks were taken aback when Roy went after one of their players.
``I’ve never really seen him get that upset before,″ Valk said. ``He’s not like a Ron Hextall-type goalie, so it was kind of surprising. But he hasn’t done real well in his career against the Ducks and he was kind of frustrated because we got a lead early and we kept piling it on and tried to score more.″
The Avalanche had a goal disallowed by video replay at 7:23 of the opening period, after Mike Ricci used his skate to redirect Chris Simon’s centering pass through Hebert’s pads.
That would be as close as Colorado would come to scoring.
Steve Rucchin scored his first career shorthanded goal and Teemu Selanne extended his point-scoring streak to a club-record 14 games with an assist.