Fedorov Atones for Duck Sins

Times Staff Writer

Sergei Fedorov can erase mistakes and misfortune like so much writing on a chalkboard.

A flick of the wrist and what seemed etched in stone -- another overtime and another missed opportunity for the Mighty Ducks -- was removed from this rerun script.

Fedorov's goal 11 minutes 13 seconds into the third period gave the Ducks a 4-3 victory over Chicago -- and an inexpensive lesson -- in front of an announced 15,117 at the Arrowhead Pond on Friday.

A two-goal lead vanishes in the third period. Fedorov scores; Ducks win.

A group of young Blackhawk whippersnappers -- five rookies, three of whom scored goals -- works harder and skates faster. Fedorov scores; Ducks win.

A moment of self-destruction arrived, with the Ducks minutes away from their eighth overtime in the last 10 games. Fedorov scores; Ducks win.

"I don't think we played that well, but sometimes you get away with it," Duck forward Petr Sykora said.

Not lately.

This was the Ducks' first victory in two weeks. They have blown third-period leads eight times. That they managed points in six of those games, four in overtime losses, meant something to the glass-is-half-full crowd. But there is nothing a like real, dyed-in-the-wool victory -- no overtime, no hey-we-got-a-point spin.

Fedorov provided that. Andy McDonald beat Chicago's Scott Nichol to the puck and whipped a pass from behind the net. Fedorov crashed in and cashed in, zipping the puck past rookie goaltender Craig Anderson for his third goal in two games.

This was easy math for the Ducks. When Fedorov scores a point, they have an 8-2-1-1 record. They are 0-5-2-4 when he does not. Fedorov, who assisted on the Ducks' first goal, had two points Friday, and has scored a goal in consecutive games for the first time this season.

"He's a guy who wants to carry the torch for you," Coach Mike Babcock said. "I think he feels more and more like he's getting the opportunity to do that."

Fedorov's bigger point may have come afterward in the dressing room.

"Getting the win is a big boost," he said. "But again, if we play 60 minutes the way we did the first two periods and the first five shifts of the third, then it is a much better boost. Then we just didn't get a lucky break."

Sykora and Joffrey Lupul scored 17 seconds apart in the first period and the Ducks were in control. Even going scoreless on a four-minute power play during the second period seemed harmless enough, especially after Jason Krog spun and fired a puck past Anderson 5:26 into the third period for a 3-1 lead.

That was the Ducks' high-water mark. A lot of dog paddling followed.

"They went to the Stanley Cup final, but for the most part we outplayed them," Blackhawk Coach Brian Sutter said. "I'm looking forward to playing them again."

Igor Radulov and Mikhail Yakubov, both rookies, scored within three minutes of each other, tying the score. Babcock called a what's-going-on-here timeout. Fedorov answered a minute later.

"Sergei had to dig us out one more time, was the bottom line," Babcock said.

Fedorov then dug in during the postgame re-hash.

"We started the third period pretty well, then again we kind of backed out from the forceful plays and gave the other team a chance," Fedorov said. "We were basically on our heels playing defense the whole third period.

"I don't know what it is.... Unfortunately when we have the puck in our section, we can't get it out. We make a turnover and here we go again. We've got to take care of that."

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World