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Kurri's Game-Winner Eases Duck Worries

Hockey: Finn, whose mind has been elsewhere, scores game-winner in 3-2 victory over Maple Leafs at Pond.

November 14, 1996|ROBYN NORWOOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jari Kurri is the quiet type, so it's not surprising hardly anyone knew what was weighing on his mind in recent weeks.

While the Mighty Ducks were stumbling along and Kurri was playing at less than his best, Kurri's father, Ville, was preparing for open-heart surgery in Finland, General Manager Jack Ferreira revealed Wednesday before Kurri scored the winning goal in the Ducks' 3-2 victory over Toronto at the Pond of Anaheim.

"He's fine. He's at home. He's recovering," Ferreira said. "[Kurri] never said anything about it."

The Ducks won for the fourth time this season, and they did it minus captain Paul Kariya for the final two periods.

Kariya left the game because of a slight concussion after he was upended by Toronto defenseman Mathieu Schneider's elbow in the first period. There was no penalty on the play, which Coach Ron Wilson called "a blatant cheap shot," saying the Ducks will seek NHL discipline.

Kariya was taken to Anaheim Memorial Hospital for observation only.

The Ducks never trailed, but Mats Sundin scored two goals to pull the Maple Leafs into ties before Kurri ended his 13-game goal drought at 10:52 of the third.

With the puck caroming off the boards, Kurri pounced on it in the right circle and beat Toronto goalie Felix Potvin for a 3-2 lead. It was only the fourth goal of the season for Kurri, who scored three in the Ducks' first four games.

"I feel like I lost about 10 pounds," Kurri said of the goal.

Kurri's father underwent surgery about three weeks ago. "It's tough when you're so far away," Kurri said. "You'd rather be right there."

Wednesday's crowd of 16,342 was another non-sellout. The team sold out only once--against the Kings--during its eight-game homestand.

In the Maple Leafs, the Ducks faced one of the teams they figure to have to beat out to make the playoffs. Toronto entered the game in eighth place, seven points ahead of the last-place Ducks.

Potvin hadn't lost to the Ducks in seven previous outings, going 5-0-2 against them. But Duck backup goalie Mikhail Shtalenkov made his third consecutive start and might have earned another by making 26 saves.

It was a game in which the Ducks created numerous scoring chances. Kariya put four shots on goal before getting hurt, with Potvin stopping him on a near-breakaway with the Ducks short-handed. Center Steve Rucchin, who has slumped this season, started the game centering Kariya and Teemu Selanne and had several opportunities in close. Selanne, too, had chance after chance as the Ducks outshot the Maple Leafs early, though the final margin closed late, ending at 34-28.

The Ducks' first and second goals were scored by Kevin Todd 11:44 into the game and Garry Valk 1:26 into the third period.

Staff writer Elliott Teaford contributed to this story.

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