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Ducks Let One Point Slip Away

Hockey: On verge of victory, Blues score late in third period, leaving Anaheim frustrated.


ANAHEIM — There's that ringing sound again. Hear it?

The Mighty Ducks certainly did Friday night against the St. Louis Blues at the Pond.

It was the unmistakable drone of a wake-up call.

For nine games and much of the first 50 minutes or so of game No. 10, the Ducks had things pretty much in control.

But the Blues hit the Ducks with a dose of reality in rallying for a 4-4 tie in front of 17,174.

"At this stage of the season, it's kind of a bad tie," veteran winger Brian Bellows said at game's end.

Coach Ron Wilson chalked it up to fatigue--mental and physical.

Bellows agreed.

"Every game here lately has been a battle," he said. "We really struggled in our own end tonight. It just seemed like one of those games. It was tough. We couldn't seem to carry the momentum for more than three or four minutes."

Twice Bellows gave the Ducks a lead Friday.

Twice the Blues rallied to tie.

It seemed a shame to waste Bellows' first two-goal game since March 7, 1996, when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning--especially to Bellows.

Plus, his second goal was the 457th of his career, moving him past Alex Delvecchio into 34th place on the all-time NHL scoring list.

It also gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead at the 13:58 mark of the first period, only nine seconds after Chris Pronger had scored a power-play goal for the Blues.

But the Ducks couldn't hold the lead and were left muttering to themselves.

"To lose that second point in your own rink--you hope that doesn't happen," Bellows said, mindful of the ever-changing Western Conference playoff picture. "We kept the streak going anyway."

The tie extended the Ducks' franchise-record unbeaten streak to 10 games (6-0-4). That provided just a shred of consolation for Bellows, who said he hasn't been much good to the Ducks the past few days. He has been attempting to recover from a bout with the flu and He hadn't practiced much recently.

"I just more or less got out of bed and jumped into the last game [Wednesday's victory over Detroit]," he said.

If there were any lingering symptoms they didn't show, however, as Bellows played one of his strongest all-around games since the Ducks traded for him in mid-November.

First, Bellows gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead with a blast from just inside the blue line that beat St. Louis goaltender Grant Fuhr at the 11:17 mark of the first period.

Then, about three minutes later, Bellows darted into the Blues' zone right off the faceoff following Pronger's goal. He slipped past the St. Louis defense and beat Fuhr again.

It was Bellows' 11th goal this season, but his first multiple-point game since he had a goal and an assist Dec. 11 against Pittsburgh.

"Maybe some rest will help," Bellow said. "We've been playing every second day and we've had a lot of travel. Maybe we'll rest up and come back harder on Sunday."

Wilson gave the Ducks the day off today, hoping the rest will energize them for Sunday's game against Calgary at the Pond.

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