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22 SOG
35 SOG
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Avalanche-Mighty Ducks Preview

Sunday, 05.07.2006 / 9:00 AM

Associated Press

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Avalanche-Mighty Ducks Preview
Colorado Avalanche vs. Anaheim Ducks

GAME: Colorado Avalanche at Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference semifinals; Mighty Ducks lead 1-0.

TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EDT.

If Ilya Bryzgalov keeps stopping pucks and Teemu Selanne continues to put them in the net, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks may be headed to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three seasons.

The sixth-seeded Mighty Ducks try for a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series when they host the seventh-seeded Colorado Avalanche.

Anaheim earned home-ice advantage after the top four seeds in the conference were eliminated in the quarterfinals and the Ducks didn't waste any time capitalizing on their opportunity

After outshooting Colorado 14-4 in the first period Friday, the Ducks erupted for four second-period goals en route to a 5-0 win. Samuel Pahlsson got the game-winning goal 2:38 into the second period and Chris Kunitz, Selanne and Joffrey Lupul also scored before Travis Moen's third-period tally.

Selanne, who added two assists, extended his point streak to seven games with four goals and five assists in that span. The Ducks' right wing scored the game-winner Wednesday to give his team a 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of the quarterfinals and said the quick turnaround to Friday's second-round opener helped.

"The Game 7 in Calgary, we played really well and this was a carryover of that," said Selanne, a former member of the Avalanche, who tied playoff single-game career highs in points and assists. "Sometimes you don't have so much time to think about the next series, and we just jumped into this series right away."

Bryzgalov didn't have much time to think about his new starting role after a lower-body injury to starting goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave the Russian his first playoff start in Game 1 of the quarterfinals.

The 25-year-old netminder lost that first contest, but has won his three starts since then.

Bryzgalov made 29 saves Friday for his second straight shutout, becoming the first rookie to post back-to-back playoff shutouts since Toronto's Frank McCool had three straight in 1945.

"I wasn't nervous. Definitely not. It's hockey," said the 25-year-old rookie from Togliatti, Russia. "Why am I supposed to be nervous? It's a game."

Bryzgalov has a 0.63 postseason goals-against average and a .975 save percentage, but gave credit for his strong play to his teammates.

"The defensemen make my job easier. Our team is playing very well and I am feeling very well, too," Bryzgalov said. "Our team had a great performance and they didn't give a lot of scoring chances. The guys played great."

The Avalanche failed to score on five power-play opportunities and are 0-for-14 over the last three games.

"Physically they were stronger and they wanted the puck more that we did," Colorado defenseman Rob Blake said. "They dominated pretty much all facets of the game. We've got to compete more.

"We weren't ready for that game at all. They stood up to Calgary and they're going to stand up to us. We've got to get that in our game."

Jose Theodore, who made 29 saves, allowed five goals for the fifth time in 32 career postseason games.

"We need to play with more emotion. They went seven games (against Calgary) but they still had more energy than us," said Colorado's Ian Laperriere, alluding to the fact the Avalanche had eliminated Dallas on Sunday.

Colorado is 7-8 in postseason series where it dropped the first game.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Avalanche - 95 points; 7th seed, defeated Dallas Stars 4-1 in quarterfinals. Mighty Ducks - 98 points; 6th seed, defeated Calgary Flames 4-3 in quarterfinals.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Avalanche - Andrew Brunette and Joe Sakic, 3 goals; Milan Hejduk, 5 assists; Brunette, Hejduk and Sakic, 7 points; Dan Hinote, 29 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Selanne, 4 goals and 9 points; Selanne and Francois Beauchemin, 5 assists; Lupul, 21 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Avalanche - Power play: 15.2 percent (5 for 33). Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (30 for 36). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 14.3 percent (7 for 49). Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (42 for 48).

GOALTENDERS: Avalanche - Theodore (4-2, 3.02 GAA); Peter Budaj (no appearances). Mighty Ducks - Bryzgalov (3-1, 2 SO, 0.63); Giguere (2-2, 3.88).

series schedule/results
DateScoreW. Goal
May 11 '06ANA 4 at COL 1T. Selanne
May 09 '06ANA 4 at COL 3 - OTJ. Lupul
May 07 '06COL 0 at ANA 3R. Getzlaf
May 05 '06COL 0 at ANA 5S. Pahlsson
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GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%

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