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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 hustled and hit and skated hard, but still were swept out of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-0 loss Tuesday to the more skillful and experienced Detroit Red Wings 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 two-time defending champion Red Wings in the first three games of the series.

The Ducks vowed to make it difficult on the Red Wings in Game 4 and delivered on that promise.

"I thought that was our best game," said Kariya, who watched on TV in the dressing room after suffering a broken right foot Sunday in Game 3. "I thought we came out well in the first period and hung with them until the end. Give [the Red Wings] credit. They are probably the best team in the world right now."

Added Coach Craig Hartsburg: "They're the best team I've seen since I started coaching. We played hard and battled, but we probably lost to the team that's going to win the Stanley Cup."

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 series, 2-0.

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, who was injured after 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 the playoffs. "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 his quiet for more than 24 hours.

He 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 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 shot by Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom early in the third period Sunday. He hoped to stop the puck 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.

"If the swelling had come down I definitely thought I could play," Kariya said. "The opposite happened. The swelling got worse."

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

At game's end, Chelios broke from the tradition post-series handshake to speak to Kariya, who made his way to the Duck bench. Detroit's Steve Yzerman, Martin Lapointe and backup goalie Bill Ranford then joined Chelios.

"He just said, 'Good job. Good luck,' " Kariya said of his short conversation with Chelios.

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.

Duck defenseman Jason Marshall's clearing attempt near the blue line went awry. The puck trickled into the high slot with several players chasing it. Holmstrom got his stick on it first and flicked it past goalie 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.

*

* 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

* SILENCING CRITICS: Detroit goalie Chris Osgood might not be flashy, but he is proving he can get the job done. Page 4

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

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