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Pro Hockey | DUCK REPORT

December Ends on Bitter Note

January 01, 2002|Chris Foster

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This was how one of the most successful months in Mighty Duck history ended: Not with a bang, but a whimper.

The Ducks, who had 17 points through the first two months, picked up 17 more in December with a 6-5-2-3 record. But they ended the month with consecutive losses to Chicago and Columbus in games that were scoreless after two periods.

"The only disappointing thing is this game tonight," Coach Bryan Murray said after a 3-1 loss to Columbus on Monday. "Where we played so well so early, we didn't get any reward. If you don't get paid at the end of the month, you're not as happy."

The Ducks' success in December can be attributed to their goalies, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Steve Shields. Giguere gave up only 13 goals in 10 games during the month, yet had only a 4-4-2 record to show for it.

The Ducks' woes can be traced to their offense, which has scored more than two goals only 12 times.

"These guys are playing hard," Murray said. "We've looked after the defense zone pretty well.

"That's the first stages of getting the franchise and the team turned around a little bit. The next step now is to score some goals and win some games on a more consistent basis."

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Columbus was 3-10-1 in its last 14 games. The Blue Jackets have only six victories since Nov. 16, but three have come against the Ducks.

"Obviously, they play very well against us," Matt Cullen said. "They come into the game with good thoughts in their heads.

"We come into the game knowing they have had a lot of success against us."

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Duck defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski sat out a third consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.

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