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Unknown Ducks Tie the Capitals : Hockey: Wilson satisfied with decision after his injury-riddled team squanders a two-goal lead against Washington.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ron Wilson stood behind the Mighty Duck bench, searching for familiar faces Wednesday night at The Pond. It wasn’t an easy task.

Instead of Patrik Carnback, Bob Corkum, David Karpa and Steve Rucchin, there sat the likes of Viacheslav Butsayev, Milos Holan, Dwayne Norris and Sean Pronger.

Who are they, you ask? Well, now you understand what Wilson had to work with against the Washington Capitals.

The Ducks fashioned a 2-2 tie against the Capitals, a result that might have been more pleasing if they hadn’t let a 2-0 lead in the second period slip away.

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At game’s end, the crowd of 17,174 let out a smattering of boos. That seemed a bit misdirected. All things considered, it could have been far worse for the Ducks.

“If you noticed we were without [six] regulars tonight,” Wilson said. “So getting a point is a win as far as I’m concerned. Mikhail [Shtalenkov] played great tonight. He’ll play again in Detroit [Friday]. If he plays well again, he’ll get another start.”

Shtalenkov started in goal in place of Guy Hebert, who hasn’t been sharp enough lately to please Wilson. Particularly troubling to Wilson was Hebert’s performance against Chicago Friday. The Ducks butchered a 4-1 lead early in the third period, eventually losing, 5-4, in overtime.

Certainly, there wasn’t a bit of room for error Wednesday.

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“I think we responded well tonight,” winger Todd Krygier said. “We got scrambled on a few shifts defensively, but the young guys stepped up.”

Facing Washington goaltender Jim Carey, who went into the game with a 2.50 goals-against average, isn’t the easiest chore, even with a team’s lineup fully stocked.

Carey wasn’t spectacular against the Ducks, but he didn’t have to be. Still, the Ducks built a 2-0 lead by the midway point of the second period, only to lose it in the next 10 minutes.

Peter Bondra, playing his first game after missing five in a row because of a separated left shoulder, set up Pat Peake for the Capitals’ first goal, then scored to tie it, 2-2, with three seconds left in the period.

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Bondra became the first Capital to reach 10 goals, one sign why the team’s offense is considered among the weakest in the league. Washington averages only 2.6 goals per game--and only 2.0 while Bondra was sidelined--so two in 10 minutes ranked as a offensive explosion for the Capitals.

Rookie Chad Kilger scored in the first period and Paul Kariya pushed the lead to 2-0 on a breakaway with the Ducks shorthanded at the 10:07 mark of the second.

Krygier’s outlet pass sent Kariya on his way for the breakaway.

“It just sort of happened,” Krygier said of the play. “Paul anticipated and it just happened.”

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Wednesday, it seemed a Band-aid over the names of the injured on the roster would have been more appropriate than a pencil mark.

The roll of the injured: Carnback, out with a strained muscle in his rib cage, Corkum (47 stitches to close a cut near his mouth), Todd Ewen (surgery on left hand), Karpa (bruised right knee), Rucchin (sprained left knee) and Shaun Van Allen (dislocated right thumb).

Carnback, Corkum and Karpa could play against Detroit Friday. The others probably will remain sidelined.

That didn’t leave Wilson with many options, so he relied on some unfamiliar names. He was resigned to mixing up his lines, hoping to “just get through” the recent rash of injuries.

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For instance, Kariya played on a line with recent minor-leaguers Butsayev and Norris. At least Kariya knew Norris. They played together on a line for the 1994 Canadian Olympic team.

“You can’t sit back and worry about who’s not playing,” defenseman Bobby Dollas said. “This was the team we had and we had to make do with the opportunities.”

Duck Notes

Coach Ron Wilson started defenseman Milos Holan instead of Oleg Mikulchik. Holan hadn’t played since Oct. 27, benched for 14 consecutive games. . . . The Ducks are 9-5-1 in the past 15 games, the best 15-game stretch in their three-year history.

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* SHTALENKOV’S TURN: Mikhail Shtalenkov is in net for the Ducks and he plays well enough to earn another start, Friday in Detroit. C13


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