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Plenty Still to Fix When It Comes to the Power Play

Times Staff Writer

There was plenty to celebrate for the Mighty Ducks after a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Arrowhead Pond on Sunday. That they won despite continuing to wallow on the power play was not one of them.

The Ducks were scoreless on eight power plays, leaving them with only two goals in their last 50 chances. Their power play has dropped to 16th in the NHL after being among the league leaders a month ago.

“Everything we do is the same-old, same-old and that’s not working,” Coach Mike Babcock said. “It’s broke so we’re going to fix it Tuesday.”

A one-day turnaround is all it will take?

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“We can do it in one day because it doesn’t have anything to do with the skill level,” Babcock said.

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Duck captain Paul Kariya and Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios renewed their cuddly friendship Sunday. Chelios cross-checked Kariya against the boards late in the second period, then jawed at him before heading to the penalty box.

“He said, ‘There’s another dive,’ or something like that,” Kariya said.

Last week, Chelios called Kariya the top diver in the NHL.

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Steve Rucchin and Kariya showed that persistence pays off, as they overwhelmed Detroit goalie Curtis Joseph to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. Rucchin got off a shot, then chipped at the rebound. Kariya charged the net and batted the puck. Rucchin circled the net and knocked in the rebound.

It was Rucchin’s 20th goal, three shy of his career high set during the 1999-2000 season. He had only 10 goals combined the last two seasons as he sat out 110 of 164 games because of injuries.

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“Having Steve back in the lineup is like we signed a top free agent last summer,” Kariya said.

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Defenseman Ruslan Salei missed a second consecutive game because of a strained back.... Left wing Mike Brown was re-assigned to minor league Cincinnati.... Center Andy McDonald and left wing Kevin Sawyer, both recovering from concussions, will resume skating today.... Stanislav Chistov’s first-period goal ended a 15-game goalless streak.


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