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Askey’s Effort Might Open Some Doors

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jimi Hendrix got the nod over Jim Morrison.

There was no particular reason. It was simply his turn, Mighty Duck goaltender Tom Askey said after making his first NHL start in Sunday’s 3-3 tie against the Calgary Flames at the Arrowhead Pond.

Are you experienced?

No. Askey is not, which might explain why his undershirt preference leans toward dead rock ‘n roll stars of the 1960s.

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Call him a little strange if you must. But you also must call Askey unbeaten after one NHL start.

“It’s kind of sick, I know, but it’s my thing,” said Askey, in only his second professional season after a standout career at Ohio State.

Askey says he feels “power” from the T-shirts he wears under his No. 67 Duck jersey.

“The game is 90% mental,” said Askey, who ended Mikhail Shtalenkov’s streak of 13 consecutive starts. “I concentrate on the mental side of it. It helps me.

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“I just alternate the two shirts, just rotate them around. I don’t always have to go with one guy. I did that in the minors. I played Morrison five games in a row. Played pretty good too.”

Askey made 32 saves Sunday against the Flames, wearing a black Hendrix T-shirt he purchased while playing for Cincinnati of the American Hockey League before he was recalled March 9 by the Ducks.

He gave up goals on a quirky bounce off the ice in the first period and a tic-tac-toe play and a point-blank shot in the second period.

“I was really happy about his game,” goalie consultant Francois Allaire said. “He deserved what he got tonight.”

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Someone saved the puck for Askey at the final buzzer. He said he plans to keep it as a reminder of how far he’s come.

Of course, Sunday still couldn’t match his NHL debut March 13 against the Dallas Stars. Down, 4-1, Coach Pierre Page replaced Shtalenkov with Askey to start the final period.

By game’s end, fights had broken out all over the ice in the wake of Craig Ludwig’s elbow to Duck captain Teemu Selanne’s head.

“That was a weird game, but a memorable one,” said Askey, who had made two other relief appearances before Sunday.

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Until a third-period rally, the announced sellout crowd of 17,174 had only Selanne’s NHL-leading and franchise record-tying 51st goal to cheer. But a healthy dose of luck altered the course of the game with the Ducks trailing, 3-1, to start the third period.

Center Travis Green scored the first of his two goals by deflecting a shot from the blue line past Calgary goalie Dwanye Roloson at 5:36 of the third period. It took a bit of skill to get his stick on the puck, but Green did so and he narrowed the Ducks’ deficit to 3-2.

Less than three minutes later, Green scored again.

This time skill had little to do with it.

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It was all luck.

Forward Ted Drury fired the puck down the right-wing boards to set up your basic dump-and-chase into the Calgary zone.

But when Roloson went to play the puck as it zipped around the top of the boards, it wasn’t there. It hit one of the metal braces between the glass and kicked out in front of the net.

Green, skating toward the net on the left wing, merely had to shoot the puck into the vacant net for the game-tying goal at 8:21.

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“We got lucky for once,” Page said.

Calgary Coach Brian Sutter said he warned the Flames to be mindful of bad bounces in the Pond, but they couldn’t react in time to prevent the goal.

Who could have expected such a wild bounce?

“We talked about it yesterday,” Sutter said. “We talked it before the game. These guys know this place [the Pond] has the worst glass in the league.”

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