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Ducks End Goal Drought, Lose Game to Blackhawks : Hockey: Anaheim finally breaks through after more than three games without a score, but Chicago wins, 3-2.

March 12, 1994|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — The goal of the game, after all, is to score goals.

The Mighty Ducks finally accomplished that task Friday night--after a scoreless streak of 200 minutes 26 seconds over five games, three of them shutout losses.

But the other goal of the game--scoring more goals than the other team--continued to elude them in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in front of 17,174 at Anaheim Arena.

"If we get shut out, 3-0, or lose, 3-2, we still lost the game," Coach Ron Wilson said. "But the bottom line is we took a step this time by scoring a couple of goals."

It was a bigger step than it should be at this point.

The Ducks--blanked by San Jose, Chicago and Buffalo this week--were the first team to be shut out three consecutive games since the 1988 Minnesota North Stars. And though the NHL record is eight, league statisticians were having difficulty determining when a team last was shut out four consecutive games. The Ducks managed to avoid making it obvious.

They were behind, 1-0, with Chicago on a power play when Bob Corkum stepped in and picked off Jeremy Roenick's cross-ice pass from near the left point. Corkum was off on a breakaway. To end up without a goal again would have been devastating.

But Corkum faked Belfour with his head and shoulders, stickhandled, pulled up and tucked the puck inside the right post at 12:03 of the first period, finally ending the scoreless streak.

"It was kind of a sigh of relief," said Corkum, who scored both goals.

The goal ended Chicago goalie Ed Belfour's shutout streak at 143 minutes 25 seconds. He blanked the Ducks at Phoenix on Tuesday and did the same to the Kings at the Forum on Wednesday.

"With Corkum's (hard) shot, Ed Belfour probably didn't expect that," Wilson said. "The move he made I've only seen a couple of guys do. He stopped, faked and went to his forehand. That requires a lot of skill."

From the crowd's reaction, you'd have thought the Ducks had never scored a goal. The celebration went on for minutes--and frankly, it wasn't that different from the one on opening night Oct. 8 when Sean Hill scored the first goal in franchise history.

That isn't what the Ducks have been working for, though. Only last Sunday, they had an opportunity to cut San Jose's lead in the race for the last Western Conference playoff spot to one point. The Ducks' 6-0 loss started the shutout spiral, and after four consecutive losses they are eight points behind with 14 games left.

"Statistically, it probably is slipping away, but we haven't been thinking about it too much," Corkum said.

Right after Corkum scored short-handed, the Ducks got another golden opportunity with Joe Sacco out on another short-handed breakaway, but his shot went wide.

"Joe Sacco may have missed on what would have been the turning point," Wilson said. "Joe made a great move and the puck bounced over his stick. He had Ed Belfour dead."

Roenick won the game for Chicago, breaking a 2-2 tie at 16:43 of the second when he beat Guy Hebert from the top of the right circle for his 36th goal of the season.

"I told the guys I would get one back for them," Roenick said, referring to the bad pass that created Corkum's breakaway. "It was my fault, I read the play bad, and I needed to get one for them."

Michel Goulet gave the Blackhawks the lead at 5:28 of the first, and Patrick Poulin made it 2-1 when he deflected Chris Chelios' shot at 17:16 of the second.

But Corkum, having broken the ice, scored again from low in the right circle off a pass from Peter Douris, tying the score, 2-2, at 7:55 with his team-leading 22nd goal.

Corkum had a few chances for a hat trick, missing a rebound opportunity, and later missing on a backhanded shot from the slot.

But the Ducks came up empty--just not empty enough to set any records.

* WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

With their problems scoring the last week, the Ducks really could have used Paul Kariya. C8

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