Maple Leafs 2, Mighty Ducks 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Dave Gagner couldn’t have picked a more opportune time for his first goal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gagner snapped a 1-1 tie late in the second period Wednesday night against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Felix Potvin made the goal stand up with 21 saves in a 2-1 victory that snapped Toronto’s nine-game winless streak.
``That was pretty early in the game to call it a winning goal, but it’s been desperate times around here,″ Gagner said. ``I just got here, but it’s been a tough week for everybody and it really feels great to finally get a win.″
Gagner, who joined the Leafs on Jan. 29 in a trade for Benoit Hogue and Randy Wood, scored his 15th goal of the season on a superlative individual effort to help Toronto snap a four-game losing streak and earn its first win since Jan. 10 against the Kings at Maple Leaf Gardens.
``We have a great team on paper, but you have to put it on the ice and every guy in here knows it,″ Gagner said. ``Every guy in here has been through this before, so if it’s going to happen, it’s better to happen now than a month from now.″
Jamie Macoun sent Gagner into the Anaheim zone, where he stickhandled past Bobby Dollas at the right boards, swerved in front of Alex Hicks and faked Mikhail Shtalenkov to his knees before beating him to the stick side at 14:37 of the second period.
Dave Andreychuk also scored for Toronto against Shtalenkov, who started for the first time since Dec. 27 after Guy Hebert started a club-record 14 consecutive games. Shtalenkov, who relieved Hebert twice during that span, has lost his last four starts.
The Ducks played without Teemu Selanne, the three-time All-Star right wing whom they acquired earlier on Wednesday from Winnipeg for No. 1 draft picks Oleg Tverdovsky and Chad Kilger. Selanne, the NHL’s ninth-leading scorer this season, will join his new club at practice on Friday on Long Island and make his debut Saturday against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.
``With Teemu, the other teams will respect us a lot more and have to prepare differently,″ Ducks coach Ron Wilson said. ``I saw the look in (Toronto coach) Pat Burns’ eyes today, and he was looking like, `Is he here yet? Thank God Teemu Selanne’s not here yet.‴
Paul Kariya, the only No. 1 draft pick the third-year expansion team still has following the trade of Tverdovsky and Kilger, punctuated his 100th NHL game by scoring Anaheim’s only goal for the second game in a row. The Ducks hope the arrival of Selanne will ease the pressure on their top offensive threat.
``I had a sense that Paul might be starting to get a little frustrated,″ Wilson said. ``It’s very easy for other teams to focus their checkers on one guy because they essentially don’t respect the other people on our team.
``Paul’s had a great year to this point. And now he can focus on playing with someone like Teemu and learning from him _ because, let’s face it, Teemu’s a better hockey player right now than Paul Kariya in terms of his background and what he’s accomplished in the league.″
Andreychuk, who beat Shtalenkov with an overtime goal in their previous meeting on Dec. 17, had five of Toronto’s eight shots on net in the first period and tied the score just 25 seconds before intermission. The power-play goal came with Anaheim’s Garry Valk serving a boarding penalty for shoving Dimitri Yushkevich into the Ducks’ bench.
Andreychuk, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer among active left wings, notched his 461st career goal and 13th of the season after Doug Gilmour took Mats Sundin’s carom off the backboards at the base of the right circle and slid the puck toward the crease under the stick of defenseman Randy Ladouceur.
Kariya’s 29th goal and 11th on the power play opened the scoring at 5:50 of the period, after staggered penalties to Macoun for interference and Gilmour for cross-checking gave the Ducks a two-man advantage for 63 seconds.
Moments after Potvin lost his stick during a scramble in the crease, rookie Jim Campbell had the Toronto goalie at his mercy from 15 feet out and shot it wide to Potvin’s glove side. But Kariya connected four seconds after the first penalty expired, one-timing Dollas’ cross-ice pass from just outside the crease to open the scoring.
The game marked the return of defenseman Don McSween to the Ducks’ lineup for the first time since Jan. 21 of last season, when he suffered a severe laceration on his right forearm and underwent surgery to repair nine tendons and two nerves.
``All along, I felt like I could come back and play, but you really never know until you get out there,″ McSween said. ``But once I got out there and got a few shifts under my belt, I realized that I can do this. I might not be able to do a few things I did before, but I can contribute to this team.″