And Mighty Duck Coach Ron Wilson thought he wasn't really in the Christmas mood before Friday night?
He's going to be the Grinch and Scrooge all rolled into one after Friday's disastrous finish, when the Ducks gave up four goals in the final 3:15 of a 6-2 loss to Vancouver--including, incredibly, a hat trick by Alexander Mogilny in a span of 2:55.
Mogilny broke a 2-2 tie when he came down the left wing on an outnumbered rush and beat Mikhail Shtalenkov, the puck trickling between his pads with 3:15 left.
With 2:11 left, Josef Beranek batted a rebound out of the air and into the top of the net.
With 34 seconds to play, Mogilny outraced a couple of Ducks and scored again, and trailing defenseman David Karpa fired the puck into the stands in anger.
When Mogilny got his third goal--and 26th of the season--with 19.5 seconds left, Shtalenkov snapped his stick and tossed it in the back of his net, where it stayed until game's end.
Wilson somehow was more upset by the booing crowd of 17,174 at The Pond of Anaheim than he was at his own team.
"You've almost got to think people around here think we're not [expletive] trying, and we're trying our [butts] off," Wilson said. "We worked our rear ends off the whole game. With what we had in this lineup, the guys worked real hard. Their big gun scored a big goal, then we go down and have three or four golden opportunities and don't score.
"To get booed by our crowd, a lot of people don't know what we are up against. We have a lot of young guys in the lineup trying their hearts out."
Wilson attributed the blow-up to the Ducks' opening up the game to try to get back in it.
"After it was 4-2 we had to try to make it 4-3," he said, angered by suggestions his team gave up. "I don't think we did. They shot the puck, it gets batted down and goes in. It's 4-2, what should we do, quit and make sure it doesn't go 5-2? We want to go to 4-3 so we take some offensive chances. People don't understand. We've got seven, eight, nine guys out with injuries and we've played 36, 37 games. . . . We're an exhausted, frustrated team right now and deservedly so."
The latest blow came Friday morning, when center David Sacco was lost for a month after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Sacco, brought up from minor league affiliate Baltimore because of other injuries, had been playing on a line with Paul Kariya. The team was already without its top two centers, Steve Rucchin and Shaun Van Allen, both out with injuries.
Until the end, the game had gone much better for the Ducks, who had lost their previous three games by a combined score of 16-7.
Kariya pulled them into a 2-2 tie at 8:24 of the third with his 23rd goal. It didn't last--not at all.
"Sure, we're frustrated right now," center Bob Corkum said. "Who wouldn't be?"
Defenseman Randy Ladouceur, 35, played his 900th NHL game and said his goal is to reach 1,000, something only 105 players have done. "A hundred goals is kind of out of the question," said Ladouceur, a stay-at-home defenseman with only 29 career goals and 154 career points. "Five hundred points is out of the question too. I guess 1,000 games is what I might be able to accomplish." . . . Left wing Garry Valk didn't play after requiring stitches Wednesday when his left ear was cut by an elbow from Detroit's Darren McCarty.