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Ducks give up three third-period goals in 4-1 loss to Blackhawks

The Ducks give up a short-handed goal in the second and struggle on power plays as they lose for the sixth consecutive time.

November 26, 2010|By Mike DiGiovanna

It began with an unsightly turnover in the Ducks' end by defenseman Andy Sutton and ended with Coach Randy Carlyle pulling goaltender Jonas Hiller in favor of Curtis McElhinney.

In what may have been their ugliest seven-minute stretch of hockey this season, the Ducks gave up three third-period goals and lost to the defending Stanley Cup-champion Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, at the Honda Center on Friday.

Two weeks ago, the Ducks capped a six-game win streak with a 4-2 victory over Dallas, improving to 7-1-1 at home. They have now lost six straight, two in overtime and the last three at home, and they travel to Phoenix to play the red-hot Coyotes on Saturday night.

"We gave the puck away way too often and way too easily," Hiller said after the Ducks suffered a rare Black Friday loss at home; they were 6-1-3 in the Honda Center on the day after Thanksgiving entering Friday.

"They didn't have to work too hard for their chances. We need some lucky bounces, but we're not working hard enough to get them. It seems like as soon as something happens, everyone is panicking instead of just continuing to play."

The Ducks were productive on the power play before Friday, converting 17 of 77 opportunities, their 22.1% rating seventh in the league.

But after taking a 1-0 lead when Dan Sexton redirected a Saku Koivu shot past goaltender Corey Crawford for a power-play goal in the first, the Ducks gave up a short-handed goal in the second and came up empty-handed on four other power plays.

"The short-handed goal was huge, but it wasn't just that," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said. "Our power-play unit — our line — was terrible tonight."

It didn't help that Ducks veteran Teemu Selanne, who ranks second on the team with 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists), sat out his second straight game because of a groin strain.

"The guy has 600-plus goals, and a lot of them have come on the power play," Getzlaf said. "But we have the personnel here to make up for it. That's no excuse."

Sutton made no excuses for his third-period gaffe, when the 12-year veteran flipped a back-hand pass from the side of his net onto the stick of Patrick Sharp, who snapped his team-leading 14th goal past Hiller for a 2-1 lead 2 minutes, 55 seconds into the third.

"I've got to make a stronger, veteran play," Sutton said. "That couldn't have been a more wrong play at the wrong time."

Could Sutton, who returned Sunday after missing all but one game this season because of a broken right thumb, be a little rusty?

"Nah," he said. "I've been doing this long enough to know you shouldn't put the puck in the middle of the ice at the back end. I just made a terrible turnover that cost us. That's the truth."

Three minutes later, Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson took a pass at the point, feigned a shot and, after Sexton skated by, fired a slap shot by Hiller for a 3-1 lead.

The Blackhawks iced the victory at the 9:40 mark on a goal by Troy Brouwer, whose crushing hit on Todd Marchant in Chicago's end dislodged the puck from the Ducks center and led to a Blackhawks rush.

Hiller was pulled, but the three goals in the third weren't as frustrating for him as the one in the second, when Hiller appeared to stop Duncan Keith's shot, only to have the puck squirt through his pads for a short-handed goal and a 1-1 tie.

"I thought I made the save, but I couldn't find the puck," Hiller said. "I didn't want to move in case it was behind my pad. It's always tough to give up a short-hander."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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