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It Isn't Pretty, but the Ducks Find Net in Win Over Kings

September 23, 2000|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Having cornered the market on highlight-reel goals over the years, the Ducks decided to go in search of ugly goals this season. After all, the tick-tack-toe setups from Paul Kariya to Teemu Selanne and from Selanne to Kariya got the Ducks only so far--last place in the Pacific Division, in the case of last season.

So, Coach Craig Hartsburg asked his players to look for more rebounds and deflections in front of the opposing net. It's harder work than the Ducks are used to, but they seemed to be getting the hang of it in the last two exhibitions.

The Ducks scored three ugly goals in a 3-2 victory Friday against the Kings at the Arrowhead Pond, none more than five feet from the net. Selanne converted his rebound in the first period and Kariya and defenseman Pavel Trnka added rebound goals on second-period power plays.

Wednesday, the Ducks defeated the expansion Minnesota Wild, 3-0, as winger Mike Leclerc scored on a rebound and a deflection and center Steve Rucchin converted on a short rebound.

"We've got to get more people doing it," Hartsburg said of crashing the net. "If you go there, first of all, you might get a scoring chance and, second, you might actually score."

Kariya and Selanne are capable of scoring from almost anywhere in the attacking zone, but Hartsburg hopes to see Leclerc and right wing Jonas Ronnqvist giving the team a stronger presence in front of the net.

"It's my specialty," Leclerc said. "When I've scored, it's usually been around the net, tipping them in. You can make a good living doing it. Consistency is a part of my game I'd like to improve on."

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Guy Hebert, fully recovered from a mild groin strain that sidelined him last weekend, made his exhibition debut in goal. He made 22 saves. . . . Kariya's power-play goal 3:09 into the second period ended the Ducks' scoreless streak with the man advantage at 38 chances. . . . The Ducks outshot the Kings, 33-24.

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When Kings' goalie Stephane Fiset gave up a goal to Selanne at 4:19 of the opening period, it was the first goal scored against him in 74:19 of exhibition play.

Fiset had teamed with Steve Passmore to shut out the Mighty Ducks and Phoenix in earlier exhibition appearances.

At 9:05 of the first period, Fiset suffered a strained left knee in a collision with the Ducks' Dan Bylsma, a former King teammate. Passmore replaced Fiset and gave up his first goal, a rebound by Kariya on a power play at 3:09 of the second period. Passmore had played 62 shutout minutes in the exhibition season.

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King winger Stu Grimson, playing against his former Duck teammates, was assessed a roughing penalty at 10:55 of the first period when he went at Bylsma on the play on which Fiset was injured.

But there was no dropping of glove because Grimson is playing with stitches in his right hand after a scrap last Saturday with Colorado's Scott Parker.

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The Kings' Jamie Storr will start in goal tonight against San Jose at Bakersfield, and will be backed up Marcel Cousineau.

Storr and Cousineau gave up five goals last Saturday in a 5-1 loss to Colorado.

This weekend's exhibitions are particularly important for several Kings because a cut to about 28 players is expected Sunday.

That means 11 players will be sent out, including at least one goalie, depending on the extent of Fiset's injury.

Also expected to go are some of the six defensemen who appear to be competing for two available spots.

Among those battling for spots who have stood out in exhibitions are veteran Jaroslav Modry and rookie Lubomir Visnovsky. They are scheduled to be paired tonight against the Sharks.

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Staff writer Jim Hodges contributed to this story.

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