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KINGS-DUCKS REPORT

Veteran goalie Burke fits in nicely

February 18, 2007|Chris Foster and Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writers

Desperate times brought goaltender Sean Burke, 40, to the Kings for what seemed to be for him a last tour of the NHL. Circumstances could lead to an extended run.

Dan Cloutier's situation remains murky after hip surgery. Mathieu Garon, meanwhile, will be an unrestricted free agent.

That could leave the Kings needing an experienced goaltender. Burke has been solid in the net, with numbers that look even more impressive when compared to the Kings' other goaltenders. He has a 2.16 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

Coach Marc Crawford did not rule out Burke returning for another season.

"Sean's demeanor has been reassuring to our guys," Crawford said. "I don't think we've seen him be spectacular yet, but he has been steady and that has had a calming effect. His personality and leadership is something you need. I'm sure we're going to look at that."

Burke, who spent the season at Springfield, Mass., in the American Hockey League before being claimed on waivers, isn't looking that far ahead.

"I haven't even thought about next season," Burke said. "At this stage of my career, it was nice to get this opportunity. Right now, I have a job to do here. I have two kids and I have been gone a lot the last two years. I'll sit down this summer and decide if I want to play again."

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Ducks rookie Shane O'Brien added to his fight card with a first-period scrap against Kings winger Tom Kostopoulos on Saturday.

O'Brien has 12 fighting majors, one behind teammate George Parros. Both are among the league leaders as the Ducks have an NHL-high 56.

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Kings defenseman Mattias Norstrom suffered what team officials said was a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return.

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Until Thursday night's five-goal outburst against the Phoenix Coyotes, teammates had offered little support for Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastian Giguere, who had been able to keep his calm during a rocky return from a groin injury.

Giguere quickly regained the form he displayed all season. The 29-year-old veteran had a 2.29 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in seven starts following the All-Star break but his record was just 4-3.

The three losses were among his best performances during that stretch, but the Ducks were shut out in each defeat. Giguere, however, didn't see the need to add to the team's frustration.

"My job is to try to give the team a chance to win," said Giguere, who entered Saturday night's game against the Kings with a 27-7-5 record. "And we'll go through phases where we won't score enough goals.

"There'll be other times when I'm going to give up too many goals. That's just the way the season goes. You can't get caught up in that. You've got to control what you can control and try to bring positive energy into the room so guys can feed off that."

Giguere's two worst games during that stretch were ones in which the Ducks did bail him out. He allowed all four goals in a 7-4 victory over San Jose on Feb. 6 and was the beneficiary of their 5-4 come-from-behind win on Thursday.

Before that, the Ducks had gone 142 minutes 49 seconds without scoring.

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TONIGHT

5, Ch. 56

Site -- Honda Center.

Radio -- 1150, 830.

Records -- Kings 19-31-10, Ducks 35-16-8.

Series record -- Ducks lead, 4-1.

Update -- The Kings signed forward John Zeiler to a one-year contract and recalled him from Manchester. Zeiler was a free agent signed by the Monarchs in September. Forward Konstantin Pushkkarev was re-assigned to Manchester.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946

eric.stephens@latimes.com

chris.foster@latimes.com

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