Posted January 23, 2012 on AP on Fox
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The Anaheim Ducks cut it a little closer than they wanted in their fifth straight victory. Bobby Ryan scored twice, Jonas Hiller made 43 saves and the Ducks survived a late Colorado rally to beat the Avalanche 3-2 on Sunday night. Captain Ryan Getzlaf scored on a power play early in the third period and assisted on Ryan's second goal to help the Ducks beat the team they're trying to catch in the standings. Hiller made 28 saves through the first two periods and was working on his third shutout of the season before Ryan O'Reilly and Milan Hejduk scored late in the third period. ''You worry for a second, but you realize there is a bigger task at hand,'' Ryan said. ''We still had the lead. The urgency was there. We realized that there were two points we needed to get and didn't want them to slip away.'' Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed the three goals on 18 shots against his former team. Giguere spent 8 1/2 seasons with the Ducks and helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2007. Colorado was coming off a 3-1 victory at Los Angeles on Saturday night. ''I thought we deserved a better fate. We obviously played a good game,'' Giguere said. ''We had a couple of breakdowns that they capitalized on.'' The Ducks are 8-0-1 in their past nine games to move within 11 points of the Avalanche for the No. 8 spot in the West. Anaheim next faces Dallas, which holds a seven-point lead in the standings, on Tuesday in the final game before the All-Star break. ''Our goal going into this was to win out going into the All-Star break,'' Ryan said. ''Every two points going forward is monumental.'' Hiller has been the key to the Ducks' recent run. He is 6-0-1 with a .947 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average in his past eight appearances. ''The whole team is playing its best lately, so that makes it easier on me,'' Hiller said. The Avalanche outshot Anaheim 15-2 in the first period, but still found themselves down 1-0. The Ducks scored on their first shot, taking advantage of O'Reilly's turnover at the Avalanche blue line. Ryan picked up the puck and beat Giguere with a wrist shot on a short-handed breakaway at 2:49. Getzlaf scored at 20 seconds of the third period with Colorado's Shane O'Brien off for delay of game for sending the puck out of play late in the second. The Ducks won the opening faceoff and Teemu Selanne raced down the right side, wrapped behind the net and fed Getzlaf. A video review confirmed that the puck crossed under the sprawled Giguere. Getzlaf then set up Ryan's goal at 3:56 with a pass from deep in the Anaheim zone. Ryan has 19 goals this season. He extended his points streak to eight games and has 14 points in his last 13 games. The Ducks won their sixth in a row at the Honda Center, second only to Detroit's current run of 16 straight at home. ''It wasn't our prettiest game but we found a way to get it done,'' Getzlaf said. ''You've got to win the ones you're supposed to.'' O'Reilly scored with 5:09 left, and Hejduk connected on a power play with 3:32 to go to make it close. The Avalanche weren't able to capitalize with the extra skater in the closing minutes. ''I think our guys deserve a lot of credit, they didn't mail it in,'' Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. NOTES : Ducks have won seven of eight in the series. ... Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson missed his second straight game because of a groin injury. ... Anaheim was without defenseman Toni Lydman because of an illness. ... The Ducks reassigned right wing Kyle Palmieri to Syracuse of the AHL on Sunday, a day after the former first-round pick was recalled.
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