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NHL PLAYOFFS / MINNESOTA VS. MIGHTY DUCKS / SERIES
REPORT | DUCK NOTES

They Render Opponents Powerless

May 14, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

A cornerstone to the Ducks' success has been their ability to kill penalties. They rank fourth in the playoffs, and second to Ottawa among the teams still left, having given up only five power-play goals. The Ducks ranked second to New Jersey during the regular season.

"That's an area anyone can excel in, as long as they are willing to work," said Duck assistant coach Lorne Henning, who runs the penalty killing unit.

The Ducks got two short-handed goals Monday, by defenseman Kurt Sauer and winger Rob Niedermayer, in a 2-0 victory over Minnesota.

"It's all about taking away seams and cutting the angles down," Henning said. "You have to be able to anticipate passes."

The Ducks have excelled at this for two seasons. A year ago, they were seventh in the NHL in penalty killing with a franchise-record .861.

That rate has become even more important, as the Ducks' power play has wallowed during the playoffs. The Ducks have four power-play goals in 45 opportunities. Meanwhile, the Duck penalty killers have scored three goals while killing 41 penalties.

"It's great killing penalties with Rooch," Dan Bylsma said of Steve Rucchin. "He's always yelling out there. You know where he is and you know where you're supposed to be."

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Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere feels he has been given a free ride by local media.

"You don't have a lot of media coverage, like you get in Toronto and Montreal," Giguere said. "For me, it was probably a good thing the last two years to be able to develop without getting the media pressure."

For the record, Giguere was average to terrible in regular-season games against the New York Rangers, Kings, Calgary, San Jose, to name a few.

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Rookie winger Stanislav Chistov, who has been effective in the playoffs, has established himself physically.

At 5 feet 10, 195 pounds, Chistov was tested by opponents, who have checked, bashed, folded, spindled and mutilated him at every opportunity. Chistov has fought back, including during a January game when he whacked Dallas defenseman Derian Hatcher from behind near the bench. Moments before, Hatcher had knocked Chistov to the ice and sat on him.

"I can't let guys get away with that stuff," said Chistov, who has three goals in the playoffs. "I have to let them know I'm not going to take that. So I hit back."

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A tough shift: Duck defenseman Keith Carney reached the safety of the bench Monday ... then got clobbered.

Carney had just finished his shift and had climbed over the boards. He turned his head and got hit in the mouth by an errant puck. He needed several stitches and will see a dentist to look at some sore teeth. It will not keep him out of tonight's game.

"I first thought someone threw something at our bench from the crowd," Carney said. "It stunned me for a second. Man, you're supposed to be safe on the bench."

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