Series (Game 2 of 2)

Anaheim leads 1-0

Game 1: Sunday, November 24th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 26th

Ducks 2

(30-22-4, 72 pts)

Panthers 1

(19-23-9, 59 pts)

7:30 PM ET, February 26, 2003

BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

1 2 3 T
ANA 1 0 12
FLA 0 0 11

J. Giguere (Ducks - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .969

P. Kariya (Ducks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

V. Kozlov (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Ducks avoid first losing streak in 24 games

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were in danger of their first losing streak in 24 games when Paul Kariya and Petr Sykora turned their latest deficit around.



Kariya and Sykora supplied the offense and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 31 saves as the Ducks beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Wednesday night. Anaheim lost 2-0 to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

"Every time you lose you have to respond,'' Mighty Ducks coach Mike Babcock said.

Anaheim, 8-4-1 in its last 13, went ahead 2-1 at 12:10 of the third period. Adam Oates passed from the right circle in front to Sykora, who poked in the puck for his 24th goal.

"That's why Oates gets the big cash,'' Babcock said. "He and Sykora made a heck of a play.''

Mathieu Biron defended on the play for Florida.

"I knew he (Oates) wasn't going to shoot it because he's such a great passer,'' Biron said. "He just passed it between my skates.''

Oates waited as long as he could to make the pass.

"I had a good angle and I was able to get the pass across,'' Oates said.

Viktor Kozlov scored a power-play goal at 9:05 of the third to tie it 1-1 for Florida. Kozlov intercepted a pass from Nicals Havelid deep in the Anaheim zone at the left circle. Kozlov's shot went past Giguere on the stick side into the corner of the net.

"When you give that kind of guy that kind of chance, chances are he's going to score,'' Giguere said. "The whole thing took one or two seconds. It was really quick.''

Roberto Luongo made 27 saves for the Panthers.

Just 2:17 into the game, Paul Kariya took the ice late during a line change and got behind the Panthers defense and took control of the puck. His wrist shot went over Luongo's glove hand into the net.

"I knew he was going to shoot it but his release is so quick he still beat me,'' Luongo said.

The game got physical early. In the first period, former Panthers player Lance Ward slammed Kyle Rossiter into the boards. Rossiter left with a head injury and didn't return. A few minutes later, Brad Ference and Ward drew fighting penalties.

"We got a guy who's out of the lineup,'' Ference said. "It's not a good situation. It's desperation, we want to win.''

In the second period, Giguere made several nice saves on shots by Matt Cullen and Olli Jokinen.

"When you have a hot goaltender who's played pretty well you've got to stay persistent,'' Florida coach Mike Keenan said. "We dropped off of that because we were frustrated.''

Giguere bounced back after Tuesday's loss.

"I felt I owed the guys one,'' Giguere said. "Personally, this was one of the games I felt the best all year. It feels good.''

The Panthers have the fewest home wins with seven and points (26) in the NHL.

"Maybe we should let that go for a while and just play hockey,'' Luongo said.

Game notes

Ward and Sandis Ozolinsh played against the Panthers for the first time since being traded to Anaheim on Jan. 30. Cullen played for the first time against his former teammates since being traded to Florida. ... Kozlov matched a career-high, seven-game point streak. He has nine goals and 17 points in 14 games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press