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Approaches Vary to Shootout Troubles

Times Staff Writer

The topic of discussion at Ducks practice Monday was the NHL shootout, a subject that is as near and dear to Jean-Sebastien Giguere as the size of his goaltending equipment.

“My favorite,” said Giguere, with a sarcastic grin.

The Ducks’ 0-for-2 shootout record is nothing to shout about. They’re coming off consecutive losses to the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars. And that comes on the heels of last year’s 3-7 shootout record.

Installed by the NHL after the lockout, the tiebreaking format has been tough on the Ducks, who didn’t win their first one until December. The last two games have shown much of the same; the Ducks have been either unable to score or powerless to stop the other team.

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“The shootout has been a thorn in my side for a long time,” said Coach Randy Carlyle, who dealt with it in the American Hockey League. “I’ve beaten my head against the wall, I guarantee you, more times than you would like to think about.”

Giguere said it is important not to put too much emphasis on the shootout, citing Sunday’s game against Dallas in which the Ducks managed a point after being down 3-1 midway through the third period.

“It feels like [a loss] but it shouldn’t,” he said. “You worked hard to get that point. Really, what’s just down the line is an extra point. You don’t lose what you’ve already got.”

But center Andy McDonald said it is time they accept the shootout’s importance, even if it rankles purists.

“We’ve got to accept that it’s part of the game now,” McDonald said. “You can’t sulk about it. The shootout is the way you’re going to get that extra point.”

Ryan Shannon may help end their shootout struggles.

Shannon, successful against the Islanders, earned a shot against Dallas. The rookie did a complete spin to his backhand, a move he’s worked on since college, and nearly beat the Stars’ Marty Turco, but the veteran goalie make a diving stick save.

Shannon said he wasn’t trying to show off.

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“I don’t try to embarrass anyone,” he said. “I don’t try to be a hotshot. I just want to put the puck in the net.”

Said Carlyle: “The way I look at it, if you score, it’s a great move. If you don’t score, it’s a little bit of a hot-dog move.”

McDonald saw it coming.

“We’ve seen him do it in practice and score,” he said. “I think guys were kind of encouraging him to do it.”

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eric.stephens@latimes.com


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