Chistov Hits a Slump as Sophomore

Times Staff Writer

Mighty Duck winger Stanislav Chistov has had something on his mind.

"When will I get my first goal?" Chistov said. "I think about that every day."

The same thought has occurred to those running the Ducks. But Chistov is learning that life in the NHL doesn't necessarily get easier.

He had 12 goals and 30 points during a solid rookie season a year ago. That led to a strong playoff performance in which he scored four goals.

Yet he has none through his first 15 games this season.

"He was a kid who came in last year and there wasn't a lot competition to get on the team," Coach Mike Babcock said. "He got put on the team. He got in shape on the team. He became a darn good player on the team.

" ... Then he comes back and his picture is on the building and he thinks the NHL is easier the second year because you know what the NHL is about. You go through training camp and don't score a goal. Then you get into November and you still don't have a goal. You thought the league was going to be easier, but actually it gets harder every year because they know who you are."

Chistov admits all that has made life more difficult his second season.

"It's hard, but you've got to keep playing hard," he said. "The first couple of games, I had some chances. After that, I had no confidence with the puck. I'm feeling better. I'm getting more chances on the power play."

Chistov is more a playmaker than a scorer and he does have five assists. But too often, he has held onto the puck too long before deciding whether to pass or shoot.

"When you're a goal scorer and the puck never goes in the net, that net gets smaller and smaller," Babcock said. "You pass when you should shoot and you're shooting when you should pass. But you've got to battle through that."


Defenseman Kurt Sauer, who suffered what is being called a high ankle sprain against Phoenix on Saturday, tried to skate Tuesday but left the ice before practice began. Babcock said that Sauer would not play against Toronto tonight.



vs. Toronto, 7:30, Fox Sports Net 2

Site -- Arrowhead Pond.

Radio -- XPRS (1090).

Records -- Ducks 5-7-1-3, Maple Leafs 7-4-3-1.

Record vs. Maple Leafs -- (2002-03) 0-1.

Update -- Maple Leaf center Joe Nieuwendyk, out four games with a back injury, could return to the lineup tonight. Defenseman Karel Pilar, who has missed 11 months because of a mysterious virus that endangered his heart, has rejoined the team and may play.

Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.

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