Senators Get a Little Respect, but Ducks Get the 3-2 Victory : Hockey: Karpa scores first goal of season with a minute to play as Anaheim nails down sixth victory in seven games.
The Ottawa Civic Centre is a far cry from the Montreal Forum, and the Senators are no Canadiens. So the high-flying Mighty Ducks seemed to start Saturday’s game against Ottawa as if the Senators finally had given them someone to look down on.
Midway through the third period, however, the Ducks were scrambling to avoid losing. Instead, they pulled out a 3-2 victory--their sixth in the last seven games--when defenseman David Karpa knocked in a loose puck from a crowd in front of the net with a minute remaining.
With that, the Ducks are only a game shy of .500 at 8-9 despite losing eight of their first 10 games.
“No matter how ugly it is, a win is a win,” said goalie Guy Hebert, whose resurgence has been the backbone of the Ducks’ run. “We haven’t had the luxury of not playing well and winning a lot of games the last couple of years.”
Karpa, better known as an irritant than as an offensive threat, couldn’t think of one in his time with the team.
“I’d have to say there aren’t any games where we haven’t played as well as we could have and still won,” said Karpa, who scored his first game-winner and only his seventh goal in 118 NHL games.
The Ducks’ comeback followed a script similar to their 3-2 overtime victory over Montreal on Wednesday, and it spared them the displeasure of Coach Ron Wilson.
“Ottawa’s no different than we are; they don’t get a lot of respect from other teams and players, especially,” Wilson said. “I don’t think we respected them coming in. We sort of slept through the first [period].”
Wilson admitted he would have been happy with a tie after the Ducks fell behind, 2-1, at 8:55 of the third. Karpa was far more worried, having helped cause the two-on-one rush Rob Gaudreau scored on when he gave up the puck at mid-ice with all his teammates going the other way.
“It was kind of redemption for me,” Karpa said.
Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, 19, played the same role he did against Montreal, tying the score, 2-2, in the third period with a blast from the blue line. The goal, his third of the season, came at 14:35 after Mike Sillinger won a faceoff and Bobby Dollas sent the puck quickly over to Tverdovsky. Ottawa goalie Don Beaupre didn’t have much of a chance, with defenseman Frank Musil and the Ducks’ Chad Kilger screening his view.
“Oleg’s got the big one-timer going,” Wilson said. “It’s great to see him get so excited every time he scores. The last four or five games, we’ve seen Oleg coming into his own.”
Sillinger has improved too, fulfilling some of the promise that made him a first-round draft pick in 1989. Stuck behind a stable of stars when he was with Detroit, he gets all the ice time he wants with the Ducks. In return, he has given them seven goals already this season and set a club record with a five-game goal streak. His fifth in five games Saturday came off a pass from Paul Kariya on a power play at 9:57 of the second, tying the score, 1-1.
“It’s all confidence,” said Sillinger, who couldn’t build up much of it when he was in and out of the lineup.
He started his tenure with the Ducks late last season specializing in hitting the crossbar, but he’s hitting the net now.
“The more I play, the better I do,” Sillinger said.
Hebert has a chance to keep his run going too, with Wilson saying he’s through playing guessing games about who’s going to start.
“I’ve got to get Guy on a roll here. If it takes a two-week spurt for us to get over .500 and into the thick of things, we’ll go with Guy every night,” Wilson said. “We’re on a roll and we’re not going to give ourselves any excuses not to be on a roll.”
The Ducks begin a four-game home stand Monday against the Kings in a rare 6 p.m. game. Six of their next eight games are at home, where they have a 5-2 record.