Anaheim Ducks center Todd Marchant (22) moves the puck on a break away with Colorado Avalanche right wing Brandon Yip, right, attempting to get back on defense in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
ANAHEIM, Calif. - Todd Marchant has 186 goals during his 17-year NHL career, including 23 game-winners. When he ended a 70-game drought Sunday, he did it with another meaningful score.
Marchant's timely goal late in the second period helped the Anaheim Ducks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 to snap a five-game losing streak. Brandon McMillan got the game-winner during a four-minute power play with 8:37 remaining.
"My son scored a goal the other day in his game and he said: 'Now it's your turn, dad.' So everybody's been very supportive," Marchant said through a gap-toothed grin. "A lot of guys were poking fun at me. Even the linesmen were having fun with me. A lot of guys were saying: 'Should we go get you the puck?' But it's all in good fun. I'll take the ribbing to get that first one out of the way. Every guy in this locker room was pretty happy for me."
The goal, which came on Marchant's 48th shot of the season, was his first since March 17, 2010, against Chicago. The 37-year-old centre carried the puck into the Colorado zone and fed it to defenceman Luca Sbisa, who threw it back toward the slot from the right circle and celebrated with the rest of the Ducks after Marchant stuck out his stick and redirected it past Peter Budaj at 17:51 of the second for a 2-1 lead.
"I don't know what my longest drought was prior to this. It certainly wasn't anywhere near this, but I didn't let it get me down mentally," Marchant said. "I knew that I have many other roles here. I mean, if this team was counting on me scoring goals, we wouldn't be going very far.
"The bottom line is about wins this time of year, getting into the playoffs and seeing how far it takes you—not how many goals I get. This is the best time of the year—to be playing for something. It was a big two points for our hockey club, and now hopefully this can jump-start us."
Marchant's teammates were overjoyed about the long-awaited goal, and not just because it put them ahead.
"You couldn't find a happier group on the bench," Bobby Ryan said. "I know it's a huge monkey off his back, but he's a player that's effective in a lot of other areas like killing penalties and shutting other teams' top guys down. T-bone's your ultimate team player, so it was great for him to chip in like that and get rewarded for everything he does."
Ryan Getzlaf also scored for the Ducks, who remain one point out of a playoff spot with 19 games left. Dan Ellis made 22 saves in his second start since being acquired Thursday in a trade that sent ineffective backup goalie Curtis McElhinney to Tampa Bay.
McElhinney had allowed 19 goals in four starts while filling in for first-time all-star Jonas Hiller, who has been sidelined for six games because of lightheadedness after his 12-save shutout win over Edmonton.
Kevin Porter and David Jones scored for the Avalanche, who've won just once in 14 games, and sit next-to-last in the Western Conference. They have dropped seven straight at Anaheim.
Jones tied it less than two minutes into the third, beating Ellis high to the glove side through a screen with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle.
But Colorado winger Brandon Yip got four minutes for cutting Francois Beauchemin with an inadvertent high stick at 8:19 of the final period, and the Ducks cashed in as McMillan converted a rebound of Ryan's one-timer from the left circle with 56 seconds left on the power play.
The Avalanche came within inches of forcing overtime when Milan Hejduk hit the opposite post with a sharp-angle shot from the right boards just before the final horn sounded.
"I thought it was our best game in a long time," coach Joe Sacco said. "We played as a team tonight. We were alive and there was desperation in our game. Guys were playing for each other. At the end, the double-minor was the turning point in the game."
In a game that featured three fights before the nine-minute mark, Porter opened the scoring at 12:07 of the first. But some persistent forechecking by Ryan made Colorado defenceman Erik Johnson cough up the puck to Corey Perry, who fed Getzlaf in the slot for a short wrist shot that beat Budaj to the stick side at 1:42.
NOTES: Sacco played for the Ducks during the franchise's first five seasons after he was claimed from Toronto in the 1993 expansion draft. ... Colorado is 0-25-3 when scoring fewer than three goals. The Avs are 0-34-4 under those circumstances since Feb. 12, 2010, when Matt Duchene scored twice and recently traded Craig Anderson made 31 saves against Phoenix in a 2-1 victory at Denver. ... Colorado's penalty-killing unit, which came in with the second-worst percentage in the NHL, has allowed 14 power-play goals in 49 chances over the last 12 games.