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Poor Start Leaves a Bitter Taste

October 26, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Personal responsibility was the standing order for the Mighty Ducks on Saturday.

A 5-2 loss to Buffalo on Friday, with the Ducks handing the Sabres four third-period goals, brought soul-searching into the dressing room.

"We have to remember what we did that got us to the [Stanley Cup] finals last year," defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh said.

"We should be concerned about what we should do and not be out there trying to score on every shift, which personally I've been guilty of.... This is back to basics, back to school, and it's the first day."

The Ducks have given up 24 goals through eight games. Only Washington had given up more through Friday's games. The breakdowns led to a postgame players-only meeting.

"You give your goaltender no opportunity to be successful if you don't play with structure in your own zone," Coach Mike Babcock said. "[Buffalo] had 21 scoring chances, and 11 were off our turnovers. That's just carelessness."

The Ducks gave up 193 goals last season, a franchise low for a full season.

They yielded three or more goals in only 14 of their last 41 games last season. The Ducks have surrendered three or more goals in all but one of their first eight games this season.

"Obviously I don't have to say how [ticked] off I am with what happened [Friday] night," center Sergei Fedorov said. "You have to be better defensively. You have to be certain who you have and identify your guy. That will help a lot. I, personally, have to do that and have a better effort than I had last game."

That fix-thyself-first mantra repeated itself.

"It's up to each guy, coaches included, to look after their own house," Babcock said. "First thing in leadership is to get yourself looked after and then you can help other people."


Injury report: Defenseman Keith Carney worked out without the cast on his broken right foot for the first time on Saturday. He hopes to start skating within the next few days.... Mike Leclerc, who is recovering from knee surgery, skated on his own Saturday. He said he is hoping for a January return.


vs. Chicago, 5, Channel 9

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.

Radio -- XPRS (1090).

Records -- Ducks 2-5-0-1, Blackhawks 2-4-1-0.

Record vs. Blackhawks (2002-03) -- 4-0.

Update -- The Ducks will start Martin Gerber in goal tonight. Gerber shut out San Jose in his last start Tuesday.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

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