The Anaheim Mighty Ducks were off their game. Good thing for them that goaltender Guy Hebert was on his.
The Mighty Ducks, outshot two to one, got another solid performance from Hebert, along with a goal and two assists by Steve Rucchin to beat theNew York Rangers 3-1 Wednesday night.
"Tonight wasn't our best effort and we still got the win," said Marty McInnis, who scored the go-ahead goal on a third-period power play for the Mighty Ducks. "That's the sign of a good team, a team that's improving."
Anaheim got off only 15 shots to the Rangers' 30, but Hebert let just one get past him, running his personal winning streak to four.
"Special teams won the game for us, and good goaltending," Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg said after the Mighty Ducks' third straight win.
"Guy played great. He's been good for us all year and he's given us a chance to win every night."
Hartsburg wasn't, however , pleased with his team's overall play.
"It probably was one of our worst games of the year, but we found a way to get it done, so that's a good sign," he said. "We were chasing the puck all night and not doing the job position-wise."
The Mighty Ducks have never lost to the Rangers in Anaheim, with a 5-0 all-time record at home against them.
Rucchin scored in the second period and assisted on Anaheim's other two goals, including Paul Kariya's empty-net goal in the closing seconds.
The Rangers failed to score on eight power-play opportunities, their worst showing of the season with the man advantage.
"Tonight was discouraging in the sense that we had a lot of opportunities," said Wayne Gretzky who had an assist on the Rangers' lone goal. "We moved the puck well; we just didn't score goals.
"It was a tough loss but we played well and did a lot of good things."
New York coach John Muckler didn't fault his players' effort, but he did blame mistakes for costing them the game.
"It's been like this all year; we haven't been able to finish (scoring opportunities)," Muckler said. "I thought our defensive effort was very good, holding them to 16 shots.
"But we self-destructed in the third and took bad penalties. We're not playing smart."
McInnis scored his fifth goal at 6:42 of the third, knocking a rebound past goaltender Mike Richter. Kariya set up the goal when he skated around New York defenseman Adam Graves as Graves fell to the ice. Kariya fired a shot from the left circle, Richter blocked it, and McInnis wristed the puck into the net.
In the second period, Rucchin intercepted a feeble pass by New York's Alexei Kovalev near the Anaheim blue line and had clear sailing down the ice for his score at 15:12 of the period. Rucchin faked to his left as he skated into the crease, then flipped a backhander past Richter for his fifth goal.
The Rangers answered just 1:22 later when Gretzky got the puck behind the Anaheim net and laid a perfect pass on the stick of Niklas Sundstrom, who was cutting across the top of the crease. Sundstrom slammed the puck past Hebert, who had no time to react.
Anaheim has won four of its last five games despite being without high-scoring Teemu Selanne, who has been out with a strained thigh muscle.
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