Beware the 2-1 lead.
That slender margin has turned into something of a margin for error for the Dallas Stars on their trip to Southern California, and this time it was the Mighty Ducks who were able to take advantage on Monday night.
A power play, a slap shot and the two deflections lifted the Ducks to a 2-2 tie against the Stars before an announced crowd of 12,258 at the Arrowhead Pond. The Duck goals came from Steve Rucchin (his 10th of the season) and Rob Niedermayer (seventh), and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 21 saves. Dallas had lost a 2-1 lead against the Kings in the final minute on Saturday.
The power play? It took the Ducks only about 2 1/2 periods to get their first one when Dallas defenseman Richard Matvichuk went off for high-sticking at 9:17 of the third.
The slap shot? None other than Sergei Fedorov, who blasted a shot from above the right circle to set up the goal, which came at 9:59 of the third. The other assist went to Petr Sykora.
The deflections? Coaches preach the virtue of traffic in front of the net, and there were plenty of bodies in the vicinity. Niedermayer was stationed in front, slightly off to the right of Dallas goaltender Marty Turco, and Star defenseman Teppo Numminen was trying to contain Niedermayer, not exactly an easy task.
Fedorov's shot changed direction and appeared to have glanced off two players before it skipped past Turco on the stick side. It was Fedorov's first point in three games. A couple of times, it appeared to be his 14th goal of the season.
If that sounds confusing, well, it was. The public address announcer told the crowd it was Fedorov's 14th goal and 27th point. Upon further review, the goal was given to Niedermayer, then was given back to Fedorov at the end of overtime.
Talk about a game-tying goal turning into a hot potato.
Duck Coach Mike Babcock wasn't certain what happened. Star Coach Dave Tippett said there were two deflections.
Finally, Niedermayer himself shed some light on the issue. He was having his sore groin worked on in the training room afterward, but told Duck officials the puck went off his left knee pad.
That wasn't the only mystery of the night. The irritated Ducks were busy trying to figure out why they had only one power play to the Stars' five.
"Were we one-for-one on the power play?" Babcock asked. "What were they on their power play?
"The math doesn't work out sometimes. How many shots did they have? How many would we have had if we had five power plays? I don't understand it. You're not allowed to say nothing, but I don't understand.
"You've got momentum and you're playing and suddenly guys can go to the net and get hauled down and tackled and there are no penalties. It either is, or it isn't."
Babcock was walking a fine line. Say too much about the non-calls and it's time to pull out the checkbook and write one to the NHL. The Ducks, who were coming off a 2-4 trip, are 7-2-3-1 in their last 13 home games.
The Stars were without center Mike Modano, who did not make the trip to Southern California because of a groin injury, and lost defenseman Philippe Boucher, who had flu. Then Dallas lost its second-leading scorer, Brenden Morrow, to injury in the game. Morrow did not play the third period, and the Stars said he had an "upper-body injury."