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Strange night ends badly for Ducks

November 01, 2008|HELENE ELLIOTT

Put two elite goaltenders at opposite ends of the ice, playing for teams that last season were among the toughest to score against, and what do you get?

A 7-6 shootout victory by the Canucks over the Ducks, a result determined in the 13th round of the tiebreaker when Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlund snapped a shot over the shoulder of backup goalie Jonas Hiller, who had relieved Jean-Sebastien Giguere in the second period.

"I don't want to think about what went wrong. There was too much stuff," Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin said, a grimace expressing his distaste.

Kyle Wellwood scored in the first round of the shootout and Ryan Getzlaf in the second, the only scorers until Ohlund deflated the announced crowd of 16,704 Friday at the Honda Center. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle was surprisingly calm afterward.

"Every game is not a Mona Lisa that you try to paint," he said.

Maybe. But paint-by-numbers defense doesn't work so well unless you like poker-playing dogs on black velvet.

The Ducks (6-5-1) and Canucks took turns making mistakes as ugly as some of the ghoulish costumes worn by fans in the Halloween night crowd.

The teams scored at even strength, while short-handed, on the power play and after the Ducks pulled Hiller for an extra skater. Corey Perry did the honors in that last category, scoring against Roberto Luongo with 56.9 seconds left in the third period, after Teemu Selanne took a hard hit and got a cut-up mouth as a reward for setting the play in motion with a pass off the end boards to Chris Kunitz.

"It was a weird game," Hiller said. "It seemed like every puck went in somehow."

The Ducks scored three times with the man advantage and the Canucks scored twice, including Steve Bernier's go-ahead goal at 8:34 of the third period.

The Ducks made history major and minor.

Selanne scored two goals to tie Guy Lafleur for 20th place on the career goal-scoring list at 560, and he has seven power-play goals in the last four games. He also had two assists, giving him seven goals and 10 points in his last five games.

Perry scored a personal-best five points (one goal and four assists). That performance, one game after Ryan Getzlaf recorded five assists against Detroit, gave the Ducks two players with five-point efforts in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history.

That was small consolation for Perry after the team's five-game winning streak ended.

"We didn't have a solid game," he said. "Coming away with one point is good, but we always like to get two."

Although the resurgence of their offense should reassure the Ducks, who were one of the lightest-scoring teams in the West last season, the inconsistency of their defense should be a concern.

"I think the game concerned you," Carlyle said. "Our hockey club didn't play the game we're capable of playing. The defense, goaltending, forwards -- they were all part of this. I'm not going to categorize it so one group gets off the hook."

After facing 37 shots over 65 minutes, Luongo was superb in the shootout -- and fortunate when Travis Moen's 11th-round shot hit the crossbar. He stopped 10 shots and the Ducks missed the net three times because he forced them wide or filled the net.

"It would have been a hard one to lose," Luongo said.

His teammates scored five straight goals, one in the first period and four times in the second, to erase the 2-0 lead the Ducks had built on power-play goals by Scott Niedermayer and Selanne.

Bernier scored off a giveaway at 12:43 of the first period, and Ryan Kesler, on a chip shot over Giguere, made it 2-2 at 7:57 of the second.

The Ducks gained a four-minute power play when Sami Salo high-sticked George Parros in the face at 8:24 -- Parros suffered an eye injury and did not return -- but Alex Burrows scored a short-handed goal off a turnover in the neutral zone to put the Canucks ahead, 3-2, at 11:23.

Ohlund scored on a power-play wrist shot at 14:38, the Canucks' 13th shot and the last one Giguere saw before being replaced by Hiller. He didn't fare any better, yielding a long goal to defenseman Kevin Bieksa at 15:19 that set the crowd to booing.

Steve Montador's first goal as a Duck, a wrist shot from about 18 feet out, cut Vancouver's lead to 5-3 at 15:37. Chris Pronger cut that to 5-4 23 seconds later on a 20-foot shot that was deflected on the way to the net.

Willie Mitchell was sent off for hooking at 16:40, and the Ducks pulled even at 5-5 merely 37 seconds later, on a wrist shot by Selanne.

Bernier gave Vancouver a 6-5 lead on a power-play goal, with Selanne serving an interference penalty, but Perry prolonged the madness with his dramatic wrist shot.

"I'm sure both coaches are not going to keep the DVD of this one," Carlyle said.

Not unless they enjoy horror films.


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