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Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are coming off their best games of 2006-07 for Tampa Bay, but they're having trouble matching what Teemu Selanne and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have done this season for Anaheim.
Selanne, Giguere and the Ducks continue a five-game road trip on Saturday with their only regular-season visit to the St. Pete Times Forum to take on Lecavalier, St. Louis and the Lightning.
League-leading Anaheim (22-3-6) kicked off its road swing with a 6-1 rout of Washington on Friday, behind a goal and an assist from Selanne and 26 saves from Giguere. The win was the Ducks' season-high fourth in a row on the road, where they are 9-1-2.
Since Nov. 1, Selanne leads the league in scoring with 15 goals - five of them to win games - and 16 assists in 19 games. Anaheim has gone 12-1-3 in that span when Selanne registers a point.
Coach Randy Carlyle, though, was impressed with Selanne's defense, which limited Alexander Ovechkin to one assist. The reigning rookie of the year recorded his only career hat trick against the Ducks last season.
"He was the difference in the game the last time we played them, and that was last year. It's a different game, a different set of circumstances," Carlyle said. "He's still a very dynamic player."
Giguere has allowed only seven goals to win his last four road starts, and leads all goaltenders this season with 18 wins. He's been particularly dominant in Tampa Bay, winning both career starts there with a shutout and an 0.53 goals-against average.
Giguere will likely be in net to focus on Lecavalier and St. Louis. Lecavalier recorded his first hat trick of the season and added two assists in the Lightning's 8-0 rout of Southeast Division-leading Atlanta on Thursday to end a four-game skid.
The top overall pick in 1998, Lecavalier scored his first goal in the final minute of the opening period, then the first two in a four-goal second.
"It seemed like every shot went in," said Lecavalier, who needed six shots for his fourth career hat trick. "Some nights you can have 10 shots and nothing goes in. Tonight, three go in. I don't know what to say."
Lecavalier has scored seven goals in the last five games, with at least one in each contest. He's scored just one goal with six assists in 10 career games versus the Ducks, however.
St. Louis had his first career five-point night with a short-handed goal and four assists - three coming on Lecavalier's goals. His last assist also was the 200th of his career.
Lecavalier and St. Louis are tied for the team lead with 17 goals. St. Louis also has team highs of 20 assists and 37 points, one more than Lecavalier.
The players also rank second and third in scoring since Nov. 1 behind Selanne. St. Louis has 10 goals and 28 points in that span, while Lecavalier has 11 goals and 25 points.
Marc Denis finished with 21 saves for his first shutout in a Tampa Bay uniform and the 16th of his career. He had been 0-5-2 with a 4.33 GAA in nine games since beating defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina on Oct. 26.
"It was a total team effort," Denis said on the Lightning's official Web site. "Guys are finding ways to put pucks past the other other goalie ... It's nice to get back on the winning track."
|Dec 09 '06||ANA 4 at TBL 3||C. Kunitz|
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