Ducks Get Cooled Off on Their Home Ice, 4-3 : Hockey: They blow a 2-0 lead to the Sharks after winning four in a row on the road.
Maybe the Mighty Ducks should sleep in hotel rooms before home games and wash their hair with mini-bottles of shampoo. Maybe Coach Ron Wilson should make them don overcoats four times a day and go shiver in meat lockers.
The Mighty Duck road show that swept through Western Canada played Anaheim Arena on Friday afternoon and laid an egg in a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
A crowd of 17,174, the first sellout since opening night, came out to welcome home a team that had beaten Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg in succession and could have set a record for recent expansion teams by winning a fifth game in succession.
Instead, they saw a game that began without a referee on the ice, a game in which the Ducks blew a 2-0 lead with a defensive performance that Wilson said was awful.
Chuck Harrison, the replacement referee assigned to the game in place of striking NHL officials, had been stranded at his home in Dallas since Thursday evening because of the ice storm that resulted in numerous flights out of the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport being canceled. He finally got on a flight Friday but didn’t arrive until the second period. A league spokesman said no local substitute had been available.
Linesmen Don Moffatt and Stephen Metcalf handled the game alone in the first period, calling only one penalty, on Duck defenseman Randy Ladouceur for cross-checking.
“I was very pleased with the way the linesmen were reffing in the first period,” Duck enforcer Todd Ewen said. “I was extremely pleased.”
The players and coaches had no complaints, and supervisor of officials Jim Christison, who was in radio contact with the linesmen from upstairs, said the situation could as well have arisen with regular officials.
The Ducks played the first period using the physical, as opposed to reckless, style they succeeded with on the road, and had a two-goal lead after Steven King had scored his second goal of the season and Patrik Carnback his first of two in the game.
They collapsed in the second, giving up three goals. Mike Sullivan scored the go-ahead goal short-handed after defenseman Mark Ferner’s giveaway at his own blue line.
“I thought our defense had a particularly poor (game) in terms of turnovers and some decisions, and it ended up costing us the game,” Wilson said. “Maybe the fact that we were up 2-0 and playing quite well, we eased off. . . . I just personally felt our defensemen were awful tonight.”
“We had a rough night,” defenseman Bill Houlder said. “We started off well, but we started backing up, and they started gaining the blue line. . . . Once they get moving at that speed, you’re a dead duck--so to speak.”
The Ducks had seen Johan Garpenlov walk in unbothered for a back-hander right in front of the net for the Sharks’ first goal, and Bob Errey pass across the slot to Pat Falloon for the second.
Gaetan Duchesne scored the Sharks’ final goal midway through the third with a spectacular effort, tipping Falloon’s pass in with his outstretched stick.
Carnback cut the lead to one goal at 13:50.
The Ducks, whose radio broadcasts were being split by two flagship stations, are dropping KLAC after Thursday’s game against the Kings at the Forum, making KEZY-FM (95.9) the sole flagship for the rest of the season.