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Kings Haunted by Old Friends as Ducks Win

Hockey: Rychel, Todd and Kurri chip in to help end L.A. unbeaten streak at six games, 7-4, before sellout at Pond.


There was a bit of an ex-King factor at work Friday night for the Mighty Ducks, who halted the Kings' six-game unbeaten streak with a 7-4 victory, only the third of the Ducks' season.

The meeting was the first between the teams this season and drew a sellout of 17,174, ending a five-game streak of below-capacity crowds at the Pond.

A quarter of the players in the Anaheim lineup Friday once played for the Kings. Jari Kurri and Kevin Todd were Kings last season. Warren Rychel was with them during the 1993 Stanley Cup playoff run, Ken Baumgartner last played for them in 1989, and David Karpa was a King for a day two seasons ago before the team voided his trade after he failed a physical.

Probably more important than the number of players whose hearts still beat a little faster at the sight of a King jersey was the Ducks' awareness of the importance of the rivalry and their sense that the Kings are off to the start they expected for themselves.

"We got up for our cross-town rival," Rychel said. "And when it comes down to the nitty-gritty in March, I think we'll probably be butting heads to make the playoffs."

The Ducks also were responding to a carefully calculated tirade by Coach Ron Wilson at Thursday's practice, which he cut short after berating Karpa for a turnover on the losing goal against Montreal on Wednesday.

"I'm a big boy. He's frustrated. He blew up," Karpa said. "I know I messed up in the game against Montreal. If it's for the team to turn around, I'll take the heat."

The Ducks started out hotter than they have been but kept letting the Kings answer every time they seemed on the verge of putting the game away.

As for the Kings, who were missing defenseman Doug Zmolek and Mattias Norstrom because of minor injuries, "Tonight was a team flop," center Ray Ferraro said. "I don't think you could say there was a guy on the ice who played a great game."

Coach Larry Robinson seemed to agree.

"The effort wasn't there today. They are not a big club, but yet they outhit us," he said. "We had too many guys play too soft, especially our defense."

The Ducks' Paul Kariya, who had a goal and an assist, and Teemu Selanne, who had a goal and two assists, made their usual contributions. Plus, they got help from ex-Kings all around.

Rychel, a role player who surprisingly is the Ducks' second-leading goal-scorer, scored his sixth goal and assisted on another before receiving a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty in the second period for a slash against John Slaney. Rychel disputed the call, saying it should have been only a minor, and is concerned about a possible one-game suspension.

Todd, carrying a little bit of a grudge, pitched in an assist. He played a key role for the Kings last season but signed a free-agent contract with Pittsburgh after what he considered a low-ball King offer that he said was $100,000 less than the Penguins' $600,000 a year. Todd felt "a little extra" incentive in the game, he said. "Not toward the players, more toward management."

As for Kurri, he set up Steve Rucchin's first goal of the season with a deft backhand drop pass in the slot, with Baumgartner getting the second assist on that goal.

The Ducks led, 4-1, less than five minutes into the second period, but didn't put the Kings away. Kai Nurminen cut the lead to 4-2 with 5:39 gone in the second. Kariya made it 5-2 midway through the period.

The Kings had given up more than two goals only once during their 3-0-3 streak. Stephane Fiset wasn't as sharp as he has been, giving up six goals on 30 shots.

Guy Hebert was supposed to start for the Ducks, but he had cramping in his left leg Friday morning and Mikhail Shtalenkov took his place, making 32 saves for his second victory of the season.


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