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Anaheim 5, Nashville 3

Jan. 15, 2002 at 4:29 AM   |   Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Paul Kariya recorded his sixth career hat track as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim snapped an eight-game winless streak with a 5-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Kariya had just two points in his last nine games before tallying twice in the first period and once in the second. The three-goal game was his first since March 29, 2001.

"They weren't the greatest goals but better shots haven't gone in (this season)," Kariya said. "It's nice to get a few bounces."

Marty McInnis opened the scoring with his ninth goal and Matt Cullen capped things with an empty-netter for the Mighty Ducks, who won for the first time since a 2-1 victory at San Jose on Dec. 26.

The five goals were Anaheim's most since defeating Minnesota, 5-1, on Dec. 18. The Ducks had been held to three goals or less during each game of their streak.

"When you get five goals in this league you can win, barely, but you can win," Anaheim coach Bryan Murray said. "We played so well for two periods. (Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere) didn't have one of his better games, but he (carried) us on a lot of nights so he deserved to win."

Giguere needed to make only 16 saves for his first win since a 4-0 shutout at Phoenix on Dec. 23.

"The guys have to feel good about themselves tonight, scoring a lot of goals," he said. "Hopefully, it can be something we can keep going. I felt kind of shaky tonight."

Rookie Martin Erat, Cliff Ronning and Kimmo Timonen scored for Nashville, which lost its fourth straight road game.

"We've talked about it," Timonen said of his team's road woes. "We know we have to get off to a good start on the road and we didn't."

Anaheim held a 3-0 lead after the first period.

McInnis' shot from the top of the left circle deflected off Predators center Greg Johnson and past Dunham at 6:38.

Less than seven minutes later, Kariya fooled his old college teammate with a shot from the right circle that appeared to hit Timonen and went through the goaltender's legs.

"They came out strong," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We were soft on our checks and they put a few in the net. Two of there goals were off deflections."

Kariya notched his first two-point game since December 18 with 1:34 left in the period while on a 4-on-4. Mike Leclerc stole the puck from defenseman Cale Hulse behind Nashville's net and passed it out front to Kariya, who put a wrist shot between Dunham's stick and the left post from the lower left circle.

"Mike used to own me when we practiced (at Maine)," Kariya said. "Back then I couldn't shoot through a wet paper bag. He had my number so it was nice to get a few on him tonight."

A little more than 10 minutes after Erat tallied his sixth goal at 1:03 of the second, Kariya completed his hat track with his 17th goal. After a nice passing sequence between Leclerc and Cullen, Nashville defenseman Andy Delmore tried to clear the puck from the crease but Kariya won the battle beat backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

"He's played hard, he's played well," Murray said of Kariya. "He's really has helped us in all areas of the game. But the puck just wasn't going in for him. He probably could have scored five tonight but he got three and it's good to see he got rewarded for his efforts."

Kariya has eight goals and nine assists in 13 career games against Nashville.

"I think he was awesome," said Timonen, who was on ice for all three of Kariya's goals. "He was all over the place. He was the guy this team has to stop and we didn't do that tonight."

Vokoun came in at the start of the second period and made 14 saves but fell to 3-8-2.

"We didn't give Dunham much support but it wasn't his night," Trotz said. "The pucks were finding the net and we wanted to shake up the team just a bit."

"We battled hard at the end but we just couldn't pull even," said Dunham, who stopped 8-of-11 shots. "When you're having bad luck you just don't get the bounces."

Ronning got the Predators within 4-2 with his 12th goal at 15:10. His long slap shot beat Giguere to the glove side.

Timonen made it a one-goal game 3:23 into the third. Mark Mowers passed the puck from behind Anaheim's net out to the left circle, where Timonen beat Giguere over the left shoulder.

But Giguere kept the Predators at bay with a right pad save on Ronning with 12:06 left and another on Timonen a little more than seven minutes later.

"After they scored the third goal, I felt I had nothing to lose so I tried to make the big saves and go one shot at a time," Giguere said. "I don't know if this is a payoff (for all the one-goal losses). It is an ugly win for me and I'll take it."

Although the Ducks failed to score on a 5-on-3 earlier in the period, they improved to 7-1-0 in eight home games against Nashville.

"We let them get back in the game, but Giggy made some big saves at the end and we got the win," Kariya said.

Anaheim lost right wing Jeff Friesen in the second period to a sprained ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.

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