Ducks miss chance to clinch playoff spot with 4-3 loss to Stars
It was an evening for the strange, the unusual, and even the unheard of.
Ducks forward Teemu Selanne refused to talk to reporters after a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday at Honda Center. That alone would be enough to send the team’s media relations staff scurrying off to determine whether that was a first.
But there was more … so much more.
The Ducks were on their way to a defeat because of their woeful play, and they lost a chance at redemption when two potential tying goals were waved off in the final minutes of the third period.
Mike Ribeiro’s two goals and goaltender Kari Lehtonen’s 27 saves allowed the Stars to trudge off with a must-win win. The Ducks, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot, not only for themselves, but also for the Kings.
“The important thing is for us not to dwell on it,” forward Bobby Ryan said.
Southern California was abuzz — OK, there was some murmuring — with the thought of the Ducks and Kings reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs in the same season for the first time.
The Ducks needed only to win in regulation. The Stars countered with a big Texas hold-them-playoff-horses, pardner.
Dallas Coach Marc Crawford said the Stars were “determined not to let that happen; not on their watch.”
That Lone-Star-State posing from a Canadian coach was backed by the law … or, rather, the rulebook.
Selanne redirected Francois Beauchemin’s shot for an apparent tying goal with 2 minutes 4 seconds left. But the Ducks’ Saku Koivu was called for goaltender interference. With 48 seconds left, Ryan also appeared to tie the score, but Corey Perry was called for a hand pass.
Selanne, always whimsical and always available, was angry enough to decline interview requests after the game. Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle seemed resigned when asked whether he got an explanation on the disallowed goal.
“Which one?” he said.
On the first, “the ref said I bumped him,” Koivu said. He did, television replays showed.
Carlyle said of Perry’s hand pass, “If it didn’t touch his skate, then it was a good call.” It did not, television replays showed.
Either way, the Ducks were in no position to gripe. They went to the penalty box as if it were a tax write-off, spending six minutes short-handed during an eight-minute stretch in the second period.
The Stars scored once on six power plays — when Ribeiro’s second goal of the game gave them a 4-2 lead — but the penalty killing left the Ducks on their heels.
“It wasn’t the physical part tonight, it was the mental,” Koivu said.
The Ducks’ upsides were all individual. In the second period, Perry scored his NHL-leading 47th goal. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who scored his 18th goal, played a night after suffering a right shoulder injury against San Jose that had panic buttons being pushed.
“Good,” Visnovsky said when asked how his shoulder felt. Then he added, “Don’t ask me about my shoulder.”
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