Series (Game 4 of 4)

Anaheim leads 2-1

Game 1: Sunday, October 26th
Game 2: Sunday, November 2nd
Game 3: Friday, November 28th
Game 4: Friday, March 5th

Ducks 5

(25-26-8, 67 pts)

Blackhawks 2

(18-35-5, 50 pts)

8:30 PM ET, March 5, 2004

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
ANA 2 1 25
CHI 0 2 02

S. Rucchin (Ducks - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

E. Daze (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

V. Prospal (Ducks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Rucchin, Giguere lead Anaheim's victory

CHICAGO (AP) -- Steve Rucchin credited Jean-Sebastian Giguere with making the Anahein Mighty Ducks' win look easy.

Giguere made 34 saves and Rucchin scored two third-period goals and an assist to lead the Mighty Ducks over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Friday night.

"It wasn't really a 5-2 game," Rucchin said. "It was a lot closer. They had a lot of good chances. Once again our goaltender, as he has been since the All-Star break, was responsible for our getting two points.

"We had a pretty good team effort, but it wasn't pretty," Rucchin added. "We found a way to win, or basically J.S. found a way for us to win."

Petr Sykora, Sergei Fedorov and Rob Niedermayer also scored for Anaheim, which rolled to its third straight win. The Mighty Ducks are 9-3-1-1 in their last 14 games.

Chicago rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it midway throught the second period.

"We played well in the first period and then we kind of went to sleep in the second," Anaheim coach Mike Babcock said.

Niedermayer's goal with 3:33 left in the second gave Anaheim a 3-2 lead. Then Rucchin -- with help from linemates Vaclac Prospal and Joffrey Lupul -- put the game out of reach in the third.

"I talked to Ruch and his line about their last game," Babcock said. "We didn't think they were very darn good actually. They responded."

Chicago's Eric Daze, playing his first game since undergoing back surgery on Dec. 3, had a goal and an assist. Deron Quint also scored for the Blackhawks, who are winless in five straight (0-3-2).

Daze's goal was his first this season. He has missed 63 games with a herniated disc in his lower back.

"Offensively, I thought we had enough that we could have won," Daze said. "but defensively we struggled in the game."

Michael Leighton made 31 saves, several on rebounds and close-in chances.

Sykora opened the scoring 1:14 into the first period. After Chicago defenseman Jim Vandermeer lost the puck in the slot, Sykora moved in alone on Leighton and fired in a low shot.

Fedorov's power-play goal with 6:29 left in the first gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead. He banged in a shot from a scramble in front of the net.

Quint cut it to 2-1 on a shot from the left point at 11:02 of the second. And Daze tied it 2:23 later on a low slap shot from the top of left circle. The drive struck Giguere's pads, but trickled in between them.

Niedermayer put the Mighty Ducks back in front 3-2 with 3:33 left in the second.

After Leighton stopped three shots during an Anaheim flurry, Niedermayer skated from behind the net, turned and ripped a shot just under the crossbar.

Rucchin made it 4-2 with a power-play goal and 4:35 of the third. He slipped away from coverage in front of the net and fired in Sykora's feed from the corner.

Rucchin completed the scoring with 7:23 left in the third. ^Notes:@ Both Chicago coach Brian Sutter and C Tyler Arnason issued statements on Friday about an altercation that reportedly occurred between them on Sunday night in a Nashville country music bar. Arnason said, "It was an exchange of views between Brian and I that got a little heated. There's a mutual respect between us and we'll just move on from here. Sutter added: "It was a discussion that took place between a player and coach. I care about Arnie like I care about all the players on our team. I believe Tyler Arnason is an important part of what were are trying to do with our team and the direction we are going." Aranason has just one goal and five assists in his last 15 games. ... C Brett McLean and D Alexander Karpovtsev returned to the Blackhawks lineup. McLean missed three games with a concussion. Karpovtzev missed three with a bruised shoulder. ... Chicago G Adam Munro is out indefinitely with a concussion he sustained Wednesday against Tampa Bay. The Blackhawks recalled Matt Underhill to replace him. ... Chicago has had a team-record six goalies on its roster this season. ... Sykora's goal was his first in nine games. ... Niedermayer's goal was his first since Jan 24. During that span he missed 15 games with a groin injury.

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