Ducks 3, Stars 2 (OT)
With the win, the Ducks also set club records for wins (44) and points (100).
Chris Kunitz had two power-play goals for Anaheim, with Niedermayer assisting on the second.
Niedermayer scored his 13th goal of the season on a slap shot down the slot that sailed past goalie Marty Turco and into the top-right corner of the net.
Kunitz scored his second goal of the game to draw the Ducks even at 2-2 at 4:56 of the third period, just 3:16 after Mike Modano had given the Stars the lead.
With players from both teams scrambling for the puck in the slot, the puck popped out to Kunitz, all alone and within point-blank range of the goal. Kunitz took a brief moment to set up his shot, then knocked the puck past Turco.
The goal, which came with Mattias Norstrom off for tripping, was Kunitz's 25th.
Modano scored on a wraparound shot for his 19th goal.
Anaheim all-star and former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Chris Pronger was back in the lineup after missing seven games with a broken left toe. Pronger was hurt during a post-game workout on March 4.
2:28 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER (13). Niedermayer rifles a wrist shot from the high slot over the glove of Marty Turco to win it. With the victory and a Colorado loss tonight to Edmonton, the Ducks have clinched a spot in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
0:00 - Overtime is under way at Honda Center.
20:00 - END OF 3RD PERIOD - SHOTS ON GOAL: ANA 9-34, DAL 8-34
4:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - CHRIS KUNITZ (25). Kunitz picks up a loose puck in front of Marty Turco and drives it five-hole to even the contest 2-2. The goal is Kunitz's second of the game and assists go to Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer.
1:40 - DALLAS GOAL - MIKE MODANO (19). Modano takes the puck behind the Anaheim net and wraps it around and in to give Dallas a 2-1 lead at the start of the third period. The assists on the goal go to Antti Miettinen and Ladislav Nagy.
0:00 - The third period is under way in Anaheim. The Ducks start with 1:08 remaining on a Dallas minor penalty.
20:00 - END OF 2ND PERIOD - NO SCORING - SHOTS ON GOAL: ANA 13-25, DAL 12-26
15:00 - Still no scoring in the period but no lack of action. The line of Brad May, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry has been the energy line for the Ducks this period. May is playing with fire landing several big hits on Stars' targets.
0:00 - The second period is under way.
20:00 - END OF 1ST PERIOD - SHOTS ON GOAL: ANA 12, DAL 14
16:00 - DALLAS GOAL - POWER PLAY - SERGEI ZUBOV (11). Zubov skates the puck into the Anaheim zone and unloads a slap shot past JS Giguere to tie the contest 1-1. The goal is unassisted.
14:19 - ANAHEIM GOAL - POWER PLAY - CHRIS KUNITZ (24). With eight seconds remaining on a tripping minor to the Stars' Jeff Halpern, Kunitz gets the puck at the side of the Dallas net and fires a wrist shot past Marty Turco. Kunitz's 24th goal of the season is assisted by Andy McDonald and Corey Perry and gives Anaheim a first period 1-0 lead.
8:20 - The Ducks' top line of Chris Kunitz, Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne have generated most of the Ducks offense to this point with six scoring chances. The Ducks have also laid a few big hits including two by Francois Beauchemin on Ladislav Nagy and one by Shawn Thornton on Mattias Norstrom.
0:00 - The first period is under way in Anaheim. Defenseman Chris Pronger makes his return to the Ducks' lineup tonight and starts alongside partner Sean O'Donnell.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA 35 JS Giguere, DAL 35 M. Turco.
Scratches: ANA 5 R. Jackman, 16 G. Parros, 38 R. Shannon; DAL 3 S. Robidas, 21 L. Eriksson, 25 N. Baumgartner, 65 C. Conner, 88 E. Lindros
The Dallas Stars believe their work ethic and experience can provide more than just a return trip to the playoffs. They think another Pacific Division title is also well within reach.
Looking to move closer to their third crown in four seasons, the Stars close out their final regular-season swing through California with a matchup Friday night against the division-leading Anaheim Ducks.
Dallas (44-24-5) has taken two straight from Anaheim (43-19-12) after dropping three of the first four matchups this season. However, the Stars have just one regulation win in their last five trips to the Honda Center.
Against its other Southern California division rival, Dallas capped an eight-game season-series sweep with a 4-2 win Wednesday night over Los Angeles, the last-place team in the Pacific. Antti Miettinen and Krys Barch scored 1:19 apart early in the third period to erase a 2-1 deficit.
"You cannot lose to the teams below you, and our guys understand that," said Stars center Mike Ribeiro, who added a power-play goal. "We know we can beat those guys because we have more talent. And if we play the way we're supposed to and match their work ethic, we have a better chance to win."
With nine games remaining, the third-place Stars still have a chance to move into first. Dallas has 93 points, three behind second-place San Jose and five in back of Anaheim. The Stars also have two games in hand on the Sharks and have played one fewer than the Ducks.
"We are getting ready for the playoffs and these games are key for us to get where we want to be in the standings," Dallas defenseman Philippe Boucher said on the Stars' official Web site. "They are also key in gearing our game to what we want it to be for the playoffs ... We all know about Anaheim. So, it's not going to be a piece of cake going from now to the end of the year."
Following this contest, though, Dallas plays four of its final eight games against Phoenix, Columbus and Chicago - none of which are headed to the postseason.
Anaheim, meanwhile, will have to bounce back from a loss that denied the team some new franchise records. With a 2-1 loss to the Coyotes on Thursday night, the Ducks failed to achieve club marks for points and wins in a season, both set in 2005-06.
Travis Moen's goal with 2:33 to play helped Anaheim avoid the shutout, but the Ducks fell to 0-9-0 on the road this season when scoring one goal or less.
"We had people with no legs," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Certainly, this was not a good game for our guys. We really didn't generate very much until the end."
The Ducks return home looking to avoid losing their third straight overall in regulation for only the fourth time in 2006-07, and to finally eclipse both franchise records. They will look for another good outing against the Stars from forwards Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne.
McDonald has a team-leading eight points versus the Stars this season, and has scored all three of his goals against them at home. Selanne, meanwhile, has four goals and two assists in the Ducks' three wins over Dallas, but has failed to record a point in three losses during the season series.
- Associated Press