The All-Star defenseman had a goal and an assist against his
former team, and Martin Gerber stopped 28 shots for his first
career shutout as the Mighty Ducks beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0
"He's at a time in his career where he wants to get to a place
and stay,'' Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said of Ozolinsh, who has
logged time with Colorado, Florida, Carolina and now the Mighty
Ducks since 2000.
"He's been way better defensively than we were told he was and
he's starting to pick up the pace,'' added Babcock, whose club
traded for Ozolinsh on Jan. 30. "To me, he paced his game way too
much before. We want him to play fast -- and then he makes
exceptional plays. He's a pretty nice player.''
And once again, Ozolinsh hurt the Hurricanes at the RBC Center.
In his first game back last January, he scored early in the first
period of a 1-1 tie.
"It's just coincidence, I guess,'' Ozolinsh said. "I don't pay
too much attention to it. Of course, the first game (back) was a
bit more special than the other ones, but after the first game it's
like any other regular-season game.''
Carolina coach Paul Maurice wasn't too happy with his team's
effort, or that Ozolinsh scored.
"You would think we would pick him up coming over the blue
line,'' Maurice said.
Anaheim improved to 7-3 in its last 10 road games and has 70
points, one better than last season with 20 games left.
Meanwhile, Carolina saw its modest three-game home unbeaten
streak snapped and has won just three times since Dec. 22.
"There are no excuses,'' Carolina's Bret Hedican said. "We've
made a lot of steps forward in the last five or six games and we
just weren't ready to play. I wasn't ready to play and I made some
mistakes that cost us some goals.''
Adam Oates scored in the first and Paul Kariya added his 23rd of
the season early in the second on the power play to give the Mighty
Ducks a 2-0 lead 24 minutes in.
Anaheim, ninth in the NHL with the man advantage, had been
slumping on the power play, going 0-for-16 in its previous four
games before Kariya scored on a rebound.
Ozolinsh then sealed it 57 seconds into the third with his 10th.
Jason Krog closed out the scoring with 6:32 left.
The Mighty Ducks gave up their second-most goals of the season
in a 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers at home on Friday, but
buckled down on defense in this one, not allowing the Hurricanes
much skating room or many good scoring chances against Gerber.
"We played a good road game for a team that traveled,'' Babcock
said. "We were real patient.''
The 28-year-old rookie goalie was giving Jean-Sebastien Giguere,
who beat Carolina 2-1 two weeks ago and is fifth in the league with
26 wins, the day off. Gerber didn't let his club down, picking up
his third career win in the first game of a four-game road trip.
"He did a real good job of sort of eating everything up,''
Carolina captain Ron Francis said of a lack of rebounds. "I don't
know if our shots were maybe a little too high or not. We were
hoping for that bounce or something that stirs it up a little bit,
but he froze a lot of it.''
Ozolinsh helped get Anaheim on the board first when his shot
from the side boards was tipped past Kevin Weekes by Oates with
7:54 left in the first.
"That first goal is one we wouldn't have scored without him
here because we didn't have defensemen jumping into the play,''
Kariya said of Ozolinsh. "Sandis still has a lot more to give us
when he gets more used to us.''
Kariya's 298th career goal came just 21 seconds into a
questionable cross-checking penalty against Carolina defenseman
The Mighty Ducks scored in the first period for just the
second time in the last 10 games ... Ozolinsh's two points moved
him within two of 500 for his career. ... Anaheim improved to 4-0-1
against teams from the Southeast Division. The Mighty Ducks were
3-6 against those teams a season ago. ... Carolina's Jeff O'Neill
had his five-game point streak snapped on his 27th birthday.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: PNC Arena Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Referees: Kelly Sutherland Linesmen: Pat Dapuzzo, Pierre Racicot
Attendance: 15,053 (80.4% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Adam Oates (6)
Assist: Sandis Ozolinsh
Paul Kariya (22)
(Power Play) Assists: Petr Sykora, Steve Rucchin
Sandis Ozolinsh (10)
Assists: Petr Sykora, Adam Oates
Jason Krog (8)
Assists: Stanislav Chistov, Mike Leclerc