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Ducks’ Power Play Short-Circuited Again

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Question the Mighty Ducks’ effort. Question their willingness to take punishment, their preparation, their recognition of just how late in the season it has become.

But most of all, question their power play.

The Ducks went 0 for 6 during their 3-1 loss to the Kings Thursday at the Forum, even failing to score on a five-on-three opportunity that lasted 1 minute 20 seconds.

And on their first power play of the game, the Ducks were actually outshot by the Kings, 2-0.

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With that sort of performance, the Ducks watched two more points slip away.

“It’s really a joke. It’s really embarrassing for our team,” center Steve Rucchin said. “We had maybe four or five guys going. We had no intensity. We didn’t want to win any battles. They did, and it cost us a couple of points in the standings.”

The Ducks’ power play seems to be feast or famine--mostly famine lately--an incredible thing considering they have two of the league’s top 10 scorers in Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya. “The effort was pathetic,” said defenseman Bobby Dollas, who took some turns at one of the points. “We do nothing on the power play. It was all perimeter hockey, skating around. I don’t understand what it takes for some guys to get going.

“When we made it 1-0, that team was ready [to cave in]. There was a lackadaisical effort everywhere on the power play. It’s harder for us to score five-on-four than five-on-five. We’re always trying to pass through seams. It’s Hockey 101--Let’s get some shots. The power play was an awful effort.”

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The Ducks got their five-on-three chance after Aki Berg checked Darren Van Impe into the boards from behind with the Ducks holding a man advantage. But they got off no shot more threatening than one by Teemu Selanne that was blocked by a stick in front of the net.

It was definitely dismal, with ill-synchronized units having difficulty even making passes as Jari Kurri, Dan Trebil and Bobby Dollas took turns at one of the points, a position often held by Kariya.

“They came out hitting and we could have punished them if our power play was alive,” Coach Ron Wilson said. “It wasn’t. We tried fancy passes and ended up chasing the puck.

“I’m just disappointed in a lot of people who didn’t show up and didn’t want to play a physical game,” Wilson said. “We put ourselves in position to do well when we got up, 1-0. We had five or six guys who were going hard and a bunch of guys standing around and watching, and you’re not going to win very many games that way. We didn’t show the Kings respect, and I think maybe our guys thought this game was going to be easy. They outworked us and they deserved the two points.”

Those two points kept the Kings’ necks above water--and widened the gulf between the Ducks and a playoff spot to four points.

“I hate to say the word urgency, but we need that,” Dollas said. “It’s time.”


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