ANAHEIM — It was an odd night at the Pond on Wednesday as the Mighty Ducks lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 4-3, in the Ducks' home opener.
First came an underwhelming pregame show, then the game.
One puck spun on end on the Ducks' goal line, but never clearly crossed it and was ruled no goal.
Another puck was intentionally headed by Duck defenseman Fredrik Olausson as he attempted to keep it in the zone.
Three goals were scored by former Kings--two of them now Ducks, Kevin Todd and Warren Rychel, the other a Flyer, John Druce.
The end result, though, was a Duck loss in a game they once led by two goals and still led by one goal going into the third period, only to allow two goals and nearly a third in the final 20 minutes.
After six games, the Ducks have won one game, lost three and tied two.
"The first period, we were just all over them," defenseman David Karpa said. "Then it was like they turned the tide back against us. They outmuscled us off the puck some, but we're not using that as an excuse. We're all grown men.
"We know we started 2-8 last year," Karpa said. "We had a decent road trip, but we can't waste points early in the year. We have enough veterans in here that we know that's costly."
The Flyers, struggling without injured center Eric Lindros, managed to win for the first time in four games.
Duck goalie Guy Hebert was having his best outing of the season and the Ducks were leading, 3-2, in the third until a shot by Kjell Samuelsson trickled past him, then sat spinning on end on the goal line before being swept away.
Referee Don Van Massenhoven ruled there was no goal after a video review at the next stoppage in play, even though the Flyers argued the puck was briefly over the goal line.
That bit of luck only delayed the tying goal, scored by Mikael Renberg a few minutes later at 7:44 of the third after John LeClair skated around defenseman Jason Marshall. That made the score 3-3.
Then things turned ugly for the Ducks when John Druce skated in on Hebert but left the puck behind, only for Pat Falloon to pick it up and put it into the net behind Hebert, who had sprawled to stop Druce. That made the lead 4-3 at 12:07 and it stood up.
"On the tying goal, we turned the puck over three times in our end when we had opportunities to get it out," Duck Coach Ron Wilson said. "On the winning goal, we turned it over at the offensive blue line, and one of our defensemen got beat."
Wilson blamed "missed assignments" by the defense, but said of the Flyers, "You've got to give them credit. They applied pressure."
The Ducks are still without Paul Kariya, although reports from Vancouver, where he is rehabilitating, are "very encouraging," a team spokesman said. Neither Kariya nor the team will put a timetable on his possible return, but the most optimistic speculation is that he could rejoin the team as soon as this weekend and start playing after a few days of practice. At the same time, club officials once expected him to be ready for the first game of the season.
Philadelphia scored the first goal of Wednesday's game when LeClair pushed the puck into the net during a power play at 11:44 of the first period even though Marshall nearly tackled him in the slot.
The Ducks' Todd, the former King claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh just before the season, tied the score, 1-1, at 13:04, when his persistence around the net paid off after he tried a wraparound and the puck slipped underneath goalie Ron Hextall.
Then Rychel found open ice coming down the left wing and rifled a pass from Steve Rucchin past Hextall for his second goal of the season. Signed largely for toughness, Rychel is proving he has other skills and has moved up from the fourth line.
Teemu Selanne made the Ducks' lead 3-1 only 2:18 into the second period with his fifth goal of the season when he intercepted Hextall's clearing attempt during a power play and slung the puck past Hextall from high in the slot.
Philadelphia tightened the game a few minutes after Selanne's second-period goal when Druce--yet another ex-King--scored on a power play with Bobby Dollas in the penalty box serving a double-minor for roughing against LeClair. Druce's goal, which came at 6:03 of the second, cut the Duck lead to 3-2.
"We just backed off late in the second period," Wilson said. "Why? I don't know."