Mighty Ducks Prove That They Still Have the Rangers’ Number : Hockey: Kariya sparks team to a 7-4 victory over New York, its third consecutive win and fourth in a row at home.
The New York Rangers are going to beat the Mighty Ducks some day, but they’ve got only one more chance this year or they’ll be zero for the Ducks’ first three seasons.
The Ducks’ 7-4 victory over New York in front of 17,174 Friday at The Pond of Anaheim was their most dominant yet after sweeping the Rangers during their 1993-94 Stanley Cup championship season. The teams didn’t meet last season because the lockout wiped out interconference play.
A week ago, the Ducks were scuffling along at 2-8. Now they’ve won three games in a row and have a four-game home winning streak, the longest in franchise history.
They’ve outscored their last three opponents--Calgary, St. Louis and the Rangers--by a combined 17-6.
“It’s come around for us, and it’s emotional, especially against a team like the Rangers,” said right wing Paul Kariya. “You look down their lineup, they have some unbelievable hockey players, and we held them in check most of the game and were able to score on them. That has to do a lot for your confidence.”
The Rangers’ Alexei Kovalev scored first, but then Kariya started an avalanche of Duck goals, deftly feeding Bob Corkum with a no-look pass on a two-on-one.
Corkum’s goal--his first of the season--tied the score 1-1 at 11:14 of the first. By the time the Rangers scored their next goal in the final minute of the second period, the Ducks had scored six .
The Rangers started goalie Glenn Healy after watching Mike Richter allow Wayne Gretzky to score on a dribbler off a faceoff the night before in a 5-3 loss to the Kings.
But the Ducks got to Healy twice in the first period, and when he gave up two more goals in the first five minutes of the second--one of them a laugher when Joe Sacco scored his first goal of the season on a shot from the blue line--Coach Colin Campbell had seen enough.
Richter came in, but gave up a goal on the second shot he saw, when Steve Rucchin swept in a rebound from in front of the net for the second time in the game.
“We were playing a team that played last night and we jumped on all their mistakes,” Duck Coach Ron Wilson said. “That might be the best we’ve ever played for 2 1/2 periods.”
Rucchin had a terrific chance for the hat trick late in the second but Richter dived to his right with Rucchin bearing down on him one-on-one, stopping a low shot with his outstretched stick and blocker.
Kariya, a passer by reputation who had turned into a pure goal-scorer early this season, showed off his assist ability with three in the first two periods, assisting on goals by Corkum, Patrik Carnback and Mike Sillinger.
It was the first three-assist game of Kariya’s career--and his third three-point game in 13 games this season. He leads the Ducks with 10 goals and 16 points.
Kariya also has helped energize the Duck power play since moving to the point, and the Ducks scored on two of their nine power-play opportunities.
The Rangers were so thoroughly outplayed that Shaun Van Allen, perhaps the slowest skater on the team, outraced Adam Graves to score on a breakaway in the third to make the score 7-2.
After that, the Ducks let their five-goal lead dwindle by giving the Rangers too many power-play opportunities, with Pat Verbeek scoring his second goal of the game--this one with the Rangers holding a two-man advantage--and Mark Messier added another goal on the same power play.
Nonetheless, Wilson said, “Your confidence grows and you start to believe anybody. Now we’ve beat two good teams in a row, two contenders, and we’ve got the Stanley Cup champions [New Jersey] coming in Sunday.”