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Ducks Tied Up in Stretch : Hockey: Anaheim squanders three-goal lead. Toronto scores with 2:24 left in third period for 3-3 deadlock.


TORONTO — Happiness came in measured doses for the Mighty Ducks Tuesday night.

They tied the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-3, in front of 15,728 at Maple Leaf Gardens. And that should have ranked as one of the season's best, most pleasing performances.

But the Ducks had a three-goal lead late in the second period and let it slip away.

They led, 3-2, with less than three minutes to play when Toronto defenseman Dmitri Mironov scored the game-tying goal on a shot from the blue line.

Goaltender Guy Hebert kept the Maple Leafs scoreless for more than 36 minutes, but never saw Mironov's shot. Hebert, who defeated Toronto, 1-0, on Dec. 15, said the Ducks should have won again.

So did Coach Ron Wilson, defenseman Randy Ladouceur and left wing Troy Loney.

Only when the Ducks considered the notion of an expansion team winning and tying against the Maple Leafs in their two Toronto appearances this season, did their spirits lift.

"It's quite an accomplishment to come in here and take three out of four points," Wilson said after the Ducks improved to 12-12-1 away from Anaheim Arena. They are 3-0-1 in their last four on the road.

The Ducks also extended their unbeaten streak in Canada to seven and stopped Toronto's six-game winning streak.

"I'm disappointed we didn't come out of here with another point," Wilson said. "But one point will do."

Ladouceur, playing for the first time in four games after bruising his thigh against Detroit Jan. 10, put it this way:

"The big picture looks pretty good. Three points in Maple Leaf Gardens is pretty good hockey."

Loney scored two second-period goals putting the Ducks ahead, 3-0, at the 12:54 mark.

Toronto seemed punchless for long stretches--going without a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes to start the second period, for instance.

But when the Maple Leafs finally came to life, they were swift and decisive around the Duck net.

Dave Ellett scored on a shot from the blue line at the 16:33 mark of the second period, then Dave Andreychuk scored on a backhander from the slot a little more than two minutes later. Doug Gilmour's assist on Andreychuk's goal was the 600th of his career.

In the third period, Hebert kept the swarming Maple Leafs scoreless until 2:24 remained in the game, when Mironov scored.

"I lost sight of it (the puck)," Hebert said later. "I thought about going down, but I wanted to stay on my feet in case they dumped it into the corner. They'd been doing that all night."

Instead, Mironov fired away with several players blocking Hebert's view, and the puck went between his pads and into the net. Mike Eastwood won a faceoff in the right circle, sending the puck back to Mironov.

Mironov was about as unlikely a hero for Toronto as you could get, what with Gilmour and Andreychuk the NHL's third- and fourth-leading scorers buzzing Hebert in the third period.

Gilmour has 15 goals and 52 assists and Andreychuk has 38 goals and 28 assists. Mironov scored only his fifth goal, his first since Jan 8.

Hebert stopped 29 shots, but wasn't content with a tie, especially when the Ducks controlled the

game for so long.

"I think we played an excellent game," he said. "We frustrated them all night long and I think we got under their skin. We probably should have sneaked out of here with another win."

There was no argument from any of his teammates, but they seemed pleased enough with the consolation prize.

"We'll take the tie in this building," Loney said.

Duck Notes

Right wing Steven King, who played in a 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Sunday, did not play Tuesday. King continues to be bothered by a sprained left shoulder and his status is day-to-day. . . . The Ducks announced that $322,566.85 was raised for fire relief from the Dec. 9 exhibition against the Kings. All proceeds will be donated to chapters of the American Red Cross in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

* KINGS SEE STARS: Dallas gets a three-goal lead early and beats the Kings, 5-3, in a bruising game. C4

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