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Ducks See Their Lead Vanish, 5-4 : Hockey: Ahead by three goals in the third period, they fall to Blackhawks in overtime.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The only Disney magic on display at The Pond of Anaheim on Friday afternoon came from the Mighty Ducks: They made another lead disappear.

Ahead by three goals early in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks, they collapsed again, giving up the tying goal in the final minute of regulation play, then losing in overtime, 5-4, when Brent Sutter beat goaltender Guy Hebert from high in the slot.

Hebert made 40 saves but didn’t look sharp on the third-period goals, and Duck Coach Ron Wilson noticed.

“I’m not going to say anything, but it was pretty obvious what happened,” Wilson said. “I’m not going to criticize anybody. We got shaky, they were putting pressure on us, and we didn’t get any saves and got nervous about it.”

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Hebert accepted blame for the Blackhawks’ first goal of the period, when Bob Probert beat him on the stick side during a power play.

“It was my fault,” Hebert said. “It was a bad goal.”

But he also defended himself.

“I don’t know what to say. I’d put my performance against anybody’s. I think I stopped a lot of shots that could have been goals,” Hebert said.

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"[Backup goalie Mikhail Shtalenkov] or myself shouldn’t take the brunt personally when we lose unless we’re god-awful, and we shouldn’t get all the credit when we win. There are 21 guys on the bench. If I wanted to be an individual player, I should have picked tennis or golf.”

It was the second time in a week the Ducks have lost a game after leading by at least two goals in the third. They blew a 3-1 lead in a 4-3 loss to Florida last Sunday.

“I think a fresh Duck team would have held that lead,” defenseman Bobby Dollas said.

The game was the Ducks’ third in four days.

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“I don’t like to use excuses,” Dollas said. “There’s no excuse when you lose a game like that. But we got in [after a road game] at 4:30 the other night and then practiced [Thursday]. Myself, I was in bed at 9:30 last night and I never go to bed that early. These next two days off are going to help.”

The Ducks led, 3-1, and were on a power play only 14 seconds into the third when Steve Rucchin put in a rebound for his second goal of the game and 11th of the season.

But Probert made it 4-2 at 2:13, and then Gary Suter beat Hebert from the blue line at 8:14 with a shot Hebert said seemed to change direction.

Hebert was knocked flat about midway through the period when Dollas and Tony Amonte fell into him in the crease, but Hebert stayed in even though he re-injured his sore right ankle.

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“Maybe I should have taken myself out of the game after I re-injured my ankle,” Hebert said. “But you have to be pretty much dead to take yourself out of a game.”

Then, in the final minute, Suter hit Amonte with a breakout pass and Amonte sprinted through the neutral zone, split Dollas and Robert Dirk and beat Hebert high on the stick side, tying the score, 4-4, with 57.1 seconds left.

And in overtime, Sutter let fly with a shot and beat Hebert on the stick side again 3:08 into the five-minute extra period, after Dollas had made a futile last-ditch attempt to block it.

“I didn’t really see it,” Hebert said. “I saw it come out from under Bobby. I didn’t pick it up until late.”

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Duck Notes

The mascot follies continued Friday when Wild Wing got stuck about three-quarters of the way down in his descent from the rafters to the ice. The players came out for warm-ups while he was dangling, gamely trying to keep up the act until he was reeled back in. “So they clipped his wings, right?” quipped defenseman Bobby Dollas. A team spokesman said Wild Wing was “overly animated” on his descent, causing excess pressure on the rigging’s pulley. They were able to raise him safely. That was only his latest adventure. On opening night, Wild Wing tripped into a wall of flame he was supposed to leap. The next home game, he leaped safely but there was no flame because the device had run out of gas.

The latest costly injury might be to defenseman David Karpa, who hurt his right knee running into the boards while chasing the puck. . . . Chicago’s Chris Chelios had a goal and an assist, extending his scoring streak to 13 games, longest in the NHL this season.


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