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Goose Eggs for Ducks

Game 4: Red Wings sweep series with 3-0 victory. Ducks give staunch performance despite playing without Kariya, who broke foot in Sunday's game.

April 28, 1999|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Mighty Ducks did not embarrass themselves without captain Paul Kariya. They were outstanding for long stretches, showing an energy not seen before in their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings.

They also were swept out of the playoffs with a 3-0 loss to the more skillful, more experienced Red Wings before a roaring sellout crowd of 17,174 at the Arrowhead Pond.

That was probably to be expected. Even a healthy Kariya, playing at the top of his game, was powerless to halt the Red Wings in the first three games of the series.

But do not say that the Ducks rolled over and let the Red Wings take what they wished in the clinching Game 4. The Ducks could be proud of their effort, but they could not claim a victory.

Tomas Holmstrom's power-play goal at 16:44 of the second period broke a scoreless tie and propelled the Red Wings into the second round. Brendan Shanahan and Vyacheslav Kozlov also scored for Detroit, which will play the winner of the Colorado-San Jose series.

The Avalanche leads the that series, two games to none.

The Ducks were left to wonder where all that energy was in the first two games of the series, when they lost in timid fashion, 5-3, in Game 1 and by 5-1 in Game 2.

The Ducks' hearts were in the right place in Game 3, but Stu Grimson's match penalty for cross checking Kris Draper in the neck changed the course of that game and they lost, 4-2.

Sunday also turned out to be the day they lost Kariya to a broken right foot, suffered while blocking a shot as the Ducks were killing a penalty early in the third period.

"I don't feel sorry for myself," said Kariya, who had one goal and three assists in three postseason games. "Everything happens for a reason. Right now, I just don't know what that reason is."

Concealing injuries during the playoffs is a time-honored tradition for NHL teams. And Kariya kept a doozy of an injury quiet for more than 24 hours.

Kariya knew immediately it might be more than a simple bruise, but didn't learn his foot was broken until after X-rays were taken Monday morning. The team announced the injury Tuesday morning, only hours before the Ducks faced elimination in Game 4.

There was no official medical report available from the team, but Kariya said he believed he would be sidelined from four to six weeks. It's the third serious injury he has suffered in the last three seasons.

In 1996-97, he missed training camp, the World Cup of Hockey and the season's first 11 games because of a lower abdominal strain. Last season, he was sidelined for the final 28 games because of a concussion.

"I'm really disappointed," said Kariya, who was the league's third-leading scorer with 101 points (39 goals, 62 assists) during the regular season. "But I still would have blocked it."

Kariya was injured while blocking a point shot by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom early in the third period. He hoped to stop the shot with the inside of his skate boot, but was in an awkward position and deflected it with the outside of his foot instead.

He played the rest of the game in pain.

"I could tell it was broken," he said. "I was hit in a bad spot."

Said Coach Craig Hartsburg: "It's really tough. He's been the heart and soul of our team. He's more disappointed than any of us. He loves the playoffs. When you play as hard as he does, these things happen."

Kariya's absence robbed the game of one of its few intriguing matchups: Kariya versus Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios. Their mutual disdain enlivened this one-sided series from the start.

"Chelios must be happy," Duck winger Ted Drury said at the morning skate. "He's been in Chelios' face as Chelios has been in his this whole series. I think [Kariya] has played unbelievable. I've never seen him play so hard."

Kariya watched the game on a TV in the Duck dressing room. Grimson, serving a one-game suspension for clobbering Draper, joined him. At game's end, Chelios broke ranks at the post-series handshake to speak to Kariya, who made his way to the Duck bench.

The Ducks vowed to put up a fight without Kariya and certainly made good on that promise with a feisty showing.

Neither team could score in the first period, but Detroit got the break it needed late in the second period. A slashing penalty on Marty McInnis at center ice against Detroit's Mathieu Dandenault put the Red Wings on the power play at the 16:20 mark of the second period.

Jason Marshall's clearing attempt near the blue line went awry. The puck tricked into the high slot with several players chasing it. Holmstrom got his stick to it first and flicked it past Guy Hebert at 16:44.

Shanahan's goal, on a breakaway at 11:51 of the third period, appeared to be set up by a two-line pass from Sergei Fedorov. Kozlov added the back-breaking goal at 14:57.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

BY THE NUMBERS

3: Playoff series for Ducks in franchise history

2: Times Ducks have been swept in playoff series

8: Consecutive losses for Ducks against Detroit in postseason

17-6: Detroit's scoring advantage in series

1: Shots in Game 4 for Teemu Selanne, the Ducks' leading goal scorer this season

4-11: Ducks' overall playoff record. Their .267 postseason winning percentage is the worst in NHL history.

*

* DIANE PUCIN: It was a virtual certainty that Detroit would finish off the Mighty Ducks, as sure as an octopus has eight tentacles. Page 5

* NOTES: The signing of defenseman Maxim Balmochnykh, a second-round pick in 1997 draft, gave the Ducks some good news. Page 4

* ROUNDUP: The Buffalo Sabres, behind goaltender Dominik Hasek, did the unexpected and swept the Ottawa Senators. Page 3

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