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Despite Injuries, Ducks Take 2-0 Lead, Hold On for a 2-2 Tie

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Mighty Ducks didn’t have much to work with against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night at The Pond.

Certainly, there wasn’t a bit of room for error. Not with six quality players in the stands, watching instead of playing. Not with their backup goaltender playing because the starter had been ineffective and nursing a gimpy ankle too.

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.

At game’s end, the crowd of 17,174 let out a smattering of boos. They seemed a bit misdirected.

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All things considered, it could have been far worse for the Ducks.

“If you noticed, we were without six regulars, so getting a point is a win as far as I’m concerned,” Duck Coach Ron Wilson said. “Mikhail [Shtalenkov] played great tonight. He will play again in Detroit. If he plays well again, he will get another start. The bottom line is if you stop the puck.”

Shtalenkov started in place Guy Hebert in goal.

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

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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.

Bondra became the first Capital to reach 10 goals, one sign why the team’s offensive firepower 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 an 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.

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Joe Sacco made a brilliant move around a Capital defenseman, but couldn’t slide a wraparound attempt into the net. A goal would have given the Ducks a 3-1 lead with less than six minutes to go in the second.

Shorthanded was probably the best way to describe the Ducks, who scratched six regulars because of various injuries Wednesday. It seemed a Band-Aid over their names on the roster would have been more appropriate than a pencil mark.

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

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

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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.

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

Wilson even played defenseman Milos Holan, who had been scratched for 14 consecutive games. Holan was found to have leukemia during training camp but is fit enough to play, according to doctors. Wilson simply had been disappointed with Holan’s play and unwilling to change a winning combination.

Kilger’s third goal of the season, on a two-on-one break with Peter Douris 6:55 into the game, gave the Ducks their lead. Shtalenkov got the first assist by a goalie in team history when he started the break with a quick pass up the boards to Oleg Tverdovsky.

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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 in the past 14 games, the best 14-game stretch in their three-year history.


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