Series (Game 2 of 2)

Anaheim leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, October 29th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 5th

Canadiens 1

(24-28-7, 63 pts)

Ducks 3

(32-24-4, 76 pts)

10:30 PM ET, March 5, 2003

Honda Center, Anaheim, California

1 2 3 T
MTL 1 0 01
ANA 1 0 23

V. Vishnevski (Ducks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

M. Gerber (Ducks - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

P. Kariya (Ducks - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Two goals in 63 seconds too much for Habs

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Anaheim Mighty Ducks are rounding into playoff form, outlasting teams in the third period and scoring critical goals down the stretch.

Mike Leclerc and Patric Kjellberg scored 63 seconds apart in the third period and Petr Sykora scored late in the first as the Ducks extended the Montreal Canadiens' winless streak to seven games Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory and moved up another notch in the Western Conference race.

"We've been in this same position going into the third period tied or up a goal in quite a few games this year, and the more you do it the better you get,'' Leclerc said. "We're building experience, and tonight we stepped up and made the plays when it counted.''

The victory lifted the Ducks into sixth place in the conference, one point ahead of Minnesota and six points behind fifth-place St. Louis.

Anaheim backup goalie Martin Gerber made 24 saves and won for the third time in four starts after going 0-7-3 in his previous 10 decisions -- including 1-0 losses to Philadelphia and Edmonton. He has not allowed more than two goals in any of his last nine starts.

"Lately we've been scoring some goals for him, which is nice, because he's been playing great for us and we hadn't been able to give him any support,'' said defenseman Keith Carney, who got an assist on Kjellberg's goal. "He works hard and he deserves to get the Ws.''

Saku Koivu scored for Montreal, 0-6-1 since beating Edmonton 3-2 on Feb. 15. The Canadiens have scored no more than three goals in any of their last 15 games, and are 3-for-53 on the power play during that span. They remain six points out of a playoff spot with 15 to play.

"We can't afford to be down. We still have some games left, and you never know,'' said Donald Audette, who set up Koivu's 17th goal. "It's never over until it's over, so we're definitely not going to quit.

"We have to win about 10 out of 15, but we have to start playing one game at a time and see where it takes us.''

Leclerc put the Ducks ahead to stay with his sixth goal, screening goalie Jose Theodore at the edge of the crease and getting his stick on a 25-foot wrist shot from the slot by defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski with 11:28 to play.

"The key is getting pucks to the net and traffic in front, but that's the same against any goalie,'' Leclerc said. "You don't see too many guys scoring fancy goals all the time. You have to get deflections and rebounds.''

Kjellberg added his eighth goal after Steve Rucchin hustled for a loose puck behind the net and fed it in front, where Kjellberg's shot from the slot broke off Theodore's pads.

Theodore, who last season became the first goalie since Jacques Plante in 1961-62 to be the league's top goalie and MVP, is 1-9-1 in his last 11 starts. The Canadiens matched their longest winless streak of the season, when they were 0-6-1 during a seven-game road trip.

The teams skated to a 1-1 tie during a penalty-free first period in which neither club had a shot on net for the first five minutes. Sykora opened the scoring at 18:07, converting Paul Kariya's pass from behind the net for his 25th goal. But the lead lasted just 30 seconds.

Koivu headed to the net unchecked and redirected Donald Audette's centering feed past Gerber's glove.

"It was important to get the momentum back,'' Audette said. "We played a solid first two periods and started off good in the third, but we got down for about four or five minutes. And you can't do that when you're battling for a playoff spot.''

Game notes

It was only the second time the Ducks scored more than three goals in their last 11 games. ... Koivu has scored just twice in 17 games since getting his 100th career goal on Jan. 25 against Washington. The Canadiens are only 5-8-2 when their captain scores. ... Koivu has played all 67 games for Montreal after missing all but three games last season because of cancer. ... Montreal native Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 1-1-1 against the Canadiens with a 2.59 goals-against average, got the night off following Anaheim's 2-1 victory Tuesday night at Los Angeles. ... Canadiens LW Chad Kilger, a former No. 1 draft pick of the Ducks and part of the trade that brought Teemu Selanne to Anaheim in February 1996, has 53 goals in 374 NHL games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press