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Ducks Sharp, so They Get Point

November 16, 2002|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT — These things are expected here.

The Red Wings' Brett Hull plops his carcass down in the slot and waits. Goal.

Teammate Sergei Fedorov has time to line up an uncontested shot like he's on a putting green. Goal.

Those things are rock-solid certain, as predictable as a bumpy cab ride in Detroit.

Now for something that can raise an eyebrow, make a person do a double take. How about the Mighty Ducks being a little unhappy with getting just one measly point out of Joe Louis Arena?

Fedorov did his bit. He had enough time to dash off a note to former girlfriend Anna Kournikova before firing a shot past goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere with 20.8 seconds left for a 2-1 overtime victory that sent 20,058 home relieved Friday. Hull had already done his bit, tying the score with a one-timer five minutes into the third period.

The Ducks, however, were not in the mood to take the point and skedaddle.

"That was a big point for us, but the way our mind-set is now, this doesn't put us on cloud nine," Duck center Matt Cullen said.

The Ducks' feet should have been airborne.

Giguere was brilliant, stopping 43 of 45 shots. The Ducks, who had played Thursday in Columbus, gritted out 65 minutes. The overtime loss gave the Ducks points in six consecutive road games, a franchise record.

And still they craved more.

"I'm disappointed with giving up that goal [in overtime]," Coach Mike Babcock said. "We weren't going to get another point for the tie, but the moral victory is something special."

The bird-in-the-hand fact is the Ducks are 5-1-1-2 in their last nine games and have moved into second place in the Pacific Division. But expectations seem to have changed for a team that used to be happy with scraps off the table from teams like the Red Wings.

"We came into this building and played a great team and did get a point," defenseman Keith Carney said. "We're on the road getting points and that's going to mean a lot. Now when we come to Detroit, we expect to play hard and we know we can get some points out of the game."

Fedorov got Detroit the two points Friday. He cruised into the Duck zone in overtime and patiently waited for an opening. He fired his shot into the left corner.

"[Brendan] Shanahan ran into me in the crease and created some obstruction," Giguere said. "It would have been a tough call to make, but I don't think the goal should have counted. I didn't see the shot. You give a chance like that to a guy like [Fedorov] and I can't see him, he's going to score."

Just about everything Giguere saw, he stopped. From the start, he frustrated the Red Wings. They had only 10 shots in the first period, but six were quality chances.

In the second period, a freak ricochet left the Red Wings with a three-on-none rush. Giguere held his ground and Kirk Maltby fired a wild shot over the net.

"On that kind of play, you got to show patience and try to get the guy to panic a little bit," Giguere said.

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