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Another defeat for the struggling Ducks

Almost nothing goes Anaheim's way as it falls to 1-5 with a 3-1 loss to Carolina.

October 20, 2008|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

Whatever momentum the Ducks had heading into their game Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes was washed away by another stream of missed opportunities.

The top scoring line continued to struggle, even against a backup goalie, the power-play unit remained dysfunctional, even with a two-man advantage, and goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere looked indecisive, even though he managed to keep the Ducks in the game for the first 59 minutes.

Those shortfalls proved too much to overcome as the Ducks lost for the fifth time in six games to start the season, 3-1, at the Honda Center.

After beating San Jose, 4-0, Friday, the Ducks were hoping to maintain positive energy heading into their four-game trip beginning Tuesday in Toronto. Now, it appears they'll have to start from scratch.

"We just never got it going offensively," defenseman Scott Niedermayer said. "The puck wasn't really doing what we wanted it to do."

An example came midway through the third period, when Teemu Selanne shot the puck at Carolina goalie Michael Leighton. The puck popped into the air and Ducks center Brendan Morrison got a stick on it, but the puck nicked off the inside of the post and slid to a stop about three inches in front of the goal line. It sat there for about two seconds before Leighton pounced on it.

"I thought it was in, initially," Morrison said. "I put my hands up."

Later in the period, Selanne stopped the puck with his chest while camped in front of the open net. He expected the puck to fall to his feet, but it hung up in his pads just long enough for him to get knocked off balance by a defender.

"I would have had an empty net there," Selanne said. "Little things like that could change the hockey game."

The top scoring line of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Chris Kunitz also had a number of scoring chances, but they couldn't convert, leaving the leading scorers from last season without a goal through the first six games.

"We haven't found a way to put the puck across the line," Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's not for lack of effort or lack of quality scoring chances."

Carlyle said he's not ready to break up Getzlaf and Perry, who have been nearly inseparable since both were chosen in the first round of the 2003 draft.

"Getzlaf and Perry will come out of it," Carlyle said. "I'm sure of it."

The Ducks also had four power plays, including a five-on-three advantage for 23 seconds early in the third period. They've scored just one goal in 24 power-play opportunities, the lowest percentage in the league. Niedermayer said the solutions to their power-play woes aren't complicated.

"Take the shots when they're there and be in good positions for rebounds," Niedermayer said.

Giguere left the net with 1:20 remaining in the game and the Ducks trailing, 2-1. The Ducks appeared headed for a two-man advantage 11 seconds later when a Carolina player shot the puck over the glass, causing a linesman to raise his arm for an apparent delay of game penalty. But the officials huddled and ruled the puck had caromed off another stick before sailing over the glass.

Carlyle said replays showed otherwise.

"It clearly was shot out of the building," he said. "There's no way that puck touched anybody's stick."

About 30 seconds later, Eric Staal scored an empty-net goal to secure the victory.

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dan.arritt@latimes.com

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