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Ducks are powered down, 5-3

Anaheim penalties put the team on the defensive and Calgary wears down the penalty killers to turn a 3-3 tie into a victory.

December 30, 2007|Lisa Dillman | Times Staff Writer

CALGARY, Canada -- Name the quickest way to watch a tie score in the third period -- and thus, a four-game winning streak -- evaporate into the Alberta, well, Saddledome, air on Saturday night.

The answer: Four straight power plays, plus part of one that carried over from the second period.

Quite simply, the Ducks' penalty killers could not keep doing the heavy lifting -- most of it Duck imposed -- finally succumbing after Ducks defenseman Mathieu Schneider went off for cross checking Flames center Dustin Boyd at 15:37.

Calgary needed less than a minute to take the lead as Jarome Iginla's shot went through traffic and glanced off the chest of Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger and past goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

That proved to be the winner and the Flames scored an empty-netter to defeat the Ducks, 5-3, having scored four unanswered goals. Iginla scored twice, his 26th and 27th of the season, and had an assist.

The Ducks had it under control, having taken a 3-1 lead early in the second period, sparked by goals from Todd Bertuzzi (sixth), George Parros (first) and Scott Niedermayer (first). The goals by Bertuzzi and Niedermayer came on the power play.

Then the hard-fought momentum vanished, much to the chagrin of Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle. It was the Ducks' first loss in five games and the first time they have lost in regulation since the return of Niedermayer.

"When we got up 3-1, we stopped skating," Carlyle said. "We didn't do the things necessary to win the hockey game. And we didn't play for 60 minutes. For whatever reason, whether if it was energy or lack of concentration, we just didn't be able to seem to get it back.

" . . . You could say it was fluky or whatever it was. Some plays tonight, I can't fault our players on."

He waited and added this punctuation, saying: "I'm not letting them off the hook."

The loss could be attributed to poor decision-making, and downright bizarre plays, the puck going off Pronger's chest and a rare Niedermayer miscue behind his own net on Calgary's third goal, which tied it, 3-3, at 12:48 of the second.

First, the Pronger moment.

"I couldn't even see it," he said. "It kind of floated through and just grazed off me. We had some pretty good momentum after 30 minutes and allowed them to get back in the game. We stopped moving our feet and they took control."

Earlier, what looked like two freakish bounces off a stick made Niedermayer look human.

He made the correct-looking play under the circumstances, turning away from traffic, circling behind his own net. Then came the bouncing weirdness and the Flames' Kristian Huselius took advantage, pouncing on the puck and coming out to the left of Giguere, scoring the unassisted goal.

"I know I'm the last guy with the puck, so I know I have to get it out of trouble," Niedermayer said. "I know it's a bad bounce, but I still have to do better than that. It was the area by the Zamboni, it [the ice] was pretty bad. I just have to make a better play, not take as risky a chance, make a better decision there."

Center Brian Sutherby (strained groin) came off injured reserve earlier in the day but did not play against the Flames.



at Vancouver, 5 p.m., KDOC

Radio -- 830.

Site -- GM Place.

Records -- Ducks -19-16-5, Canucks 21-13-4.

Record vs. Canucks -- 0-2.

Update -- Vancouver has lost only once in regulation in its last six games, and has played once since the Christmas break, beating the Flames, 5-3, on Thursday.


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