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DUCK/KING REPORT

Rucchin Plays in 500th Game

January 23, 2003|Chris Foster; Lonnie White

Steve Rucchin reached a milestone Wednesday by playing in his 500th NHL game, all for the Mighty Ducks. Only Paul Kariya has played more games for the team.

Rucchin celebrated with his 13th and 14th goals of the season, his highest total since 1999-2000.

"As long as I stay healthy, I still have a lot of years left," Rucchin said.

Rucchin, who joined the NHL in the 1994-95 season, missed 110 of 164 games the last two seasons because of injuries.

His return has been a big reason for the Ducks' improvement this season. He has played in all 48 games.

"It really has gone by fast," Rucchin said. "I still remember the second and third years. It makes you kind of humble. I'm grateful I have been able to play for so long, especially here in Anaheim."

-- Chris Foster

*

Before Wednesday's game, King Coach Andy Murray said his team doesn't have an identity problem.

"We've established that over the last three years that we're a hard-working, determined team," Murray said. "We just haven't won as many games."

The Kings again showed hard work by overcoming a three-goal first-period deficit before losing, 6-5. Thanks to second-period goals by Brad Norton, Steve Heinze, Joe Corvo and Ziggy Palffy, the Kings turned a blowout into a competitive game before they surrendered three goals in the third.

"The only thing that we can control is our work ethic," captain Mattias Norstrom said. "We have to work so much harder than our opponents because things are not coming easy for us."

*

KINGS TONIGHT

vs. Minnesota, 7:30, FSN2

Site--Staples Center.

Radio--KSPN (710).

Records--Kings 18-21-4-4, Wild 24-16-7-1.

Record vs. Wild--1-1-1.

Update--Defenseman Mathieu Schneider did not play against Anaheim because of a groin injury. The Kings are 2-7-0 in the second game playing on successive nights.

Tickets--(888) 546-4752.

-- Lonnie White

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