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Lowly Islanders Make Ducks Pay in Shootout

York's goal in the sixth round lifts New York to a 5-4 victory, handing Anaheim its first loss.

October 12, 2006|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

Uniforms and arena names may change in the land of the Ducks but not everything is different.

For one, shootouts are still a sticking point. The skills competition used to break ties in the post-lockout NHL gave the Ducks fits last season and their first try at it in the new season resulted in a 5-4 loss Wednesday night to the New York Islanders.

It won't be the shootout the Ducks will fret over, finally decided by Mike York in the sixth round. It'll be the many opportunities lost prior to it, making two goals by Samuel Pahlsson and Chris Pronger's first among their 50 shots inconsequential.

"We had our fair share of chances and opportunities to win the hockey game," Coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's the way sometimes sports goes. You do everything but get the job done."

The Islanders, they of the goofy owner who hands out 15-year contracts and a backup goaltender-turned-novice general manager, were supposed to offer little resistance and even a little comedy relief as they exited town.

Who would have thought drama would have been in the offing?

It would take lightning-quick goals on the power play by Pronger and Corey Perry in the third period just to put the Ducks back in position for a win after a desultory second period.

But before everything seemed right again, New York captain Alexei Yashin tied the score at 16 minutes 17 seconds of the third with a wrist shot that got through Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The Islanders' Brendan Witt offered the game up to the Ducks by taking a slashing penalty with 1:25 remaining in regulation but they couldn't convert the power play that stretched into overtime. Mike Dunham did his part for New York as he made 46 saves.

"Those are situations, especially four on three, where you've got to find a way to score," Pronger said.

Everything about the game seemingly was in the Ducks' favor. They were sitting at home with the first 3-0 record in franchise history with five power-play goals and only four goals given up.

Meanwhile, the lowly Islanders were coming off a 4-2 loss to the Kings 24 hours earlier and were on the last leg of a season-opening four-game West Coast trip.

It was a sure thing for the Ducks. Or so they thought. The Islanders were the ones laughing in the second period, erasing a 1-0 deficit with three goals on consecutive shots.

York was left open in the slot area to receive Arron Asham's pass from behind the net and the Islanders' center buried a one-timer. Trent Hunter followed 43 seconds later with a deflection off a point shot by Witt.

By the time Chris Simon snapped in a one-timer a minute later on the power play, the befuddled Ducks were searching for answers.

"We did a lot of good things but we had some mental lapses in the second period that cost us," Carlyle said.

Pahlsson got one back midway through the period when he finished a two-on-one break with Travis Moen. Pronger set up the play with a breakout pass to Moen at the right boards.

The Ducks held a 17-5 shot advantage after the first period but only managed Pahlsson's first goal of the season as they failed on a number of prime scoring chances that would have put away the Islanders early.

Instead, they never did land the finishing blow.

"If you watched the first period, the first 10 minutes even, you'd be like, 'Wow, this game is over,' the way I thought we came out and dominated," McDonald said. "Give them credit for making the adjustments and sticking with it."

eric.stephens@latimes.com

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