Ducks Rally To Tie Up Coyotes

One strong period of hockey wasn't enough for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to salvage more than a tie with the Phoenix Coyotes.
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Teemu Selanne scored once and set up Steve Rucchin's tying goal with 4:28 remaining as the Ducks rallied for a 2-2 draw Sunday.

"This game all comes down to whether you're ready to work every shift for 60 minutes," said Ducks coach Craig Hartsburg, whose team was nearly flawless in its 3-0 victory over Boston in its home opener Wednesday night.

"And when they worked in the third period, they proved they couldn't be stopped. The good sign is that we got mad, we kicked ourselves at the end of the second and came out in the third with a lot more purpose."

Nikolai Khabibulin, who blanked the Ducks 6-0 in their preseason finale on Oct. 6 in Phoenix, stopped Anaheim's first 26 shots before Selanne scored his third goal of the season with 11:38 left in the third period. It trimmed the Coyotes' margin to 2-1, following goals by Oleg Tverdovsky and Keith Tkachuk.

"I think we're all disappointed to go into the third period with a two-goal lead and only come out with one point," Phoenix left wing Greg Adams said. "It might have been a combination of them getting their legs in the third period and us sitting back on a lead.

"We were a little hesitant going into the third. And instead of going after them, we sat back and gave them room to come back at us."

Paul Kariya had the puck in the neutral zone and made a flip pass across the blue line that led Selanne in alone on Khabibulin, who was beaten to the glove side from 10 feet out.

Rucchin, the center between Selanne and Kariya, then converted a rebound from deep in the slot under Khabibulin's pads for the tying goal after the goalie turned aside Selanne's wraparound attempt.

"He's so underrated," Ducks goalie Guy Hebert said of Rucchin. "Whoever plays between those two guys is gointo get overlooked, but he accepts that role and he fits great into it. He's a guy who's going to score 20 goals and maybe get 70-80 points without anybody realizing it. So it's important for him to feel like he's contributing on the scoresheet."

The Ducks had a great opportunity to win it in overtime, but Travis Green couldn't lift the puck over the sprawling Khabibulin with four minutes to play with the puck disappearing under the goalie's leg pad.

Kariya, who assisted on both Anaheim goals, had another scoring chance with two minutes to go in the extra period, but Khabibulin stopped a one-timer from 15 feet with his blocking pad.

"We weren't right to start the game," Kariya said. "We had a horrible warmup and the guys' heads were not in it. We finally started to work hard in the third period and we were lucky to get out of it with a point."

Tverdovsky, whom the Ducks tabbed as the second overall pick in the 1994 draft before trading him for Selanne in February 1996, opened the scoring just 51 seconds after the opening faceoff. The Russian defenseman took a pass from behind the net from Rich Tocchet and stuffed his third goal between Hebert's leg and the right post.

Tkachuk, who led the NHL with 52 goals two seasons ago, made it 2-0 at 6:23 of the second period with his second of the season. Jyrki Lumme took a cross-ice pass from Dallas Drake in the left circle, faked Hebert to the ice and circled the net before Tkachuk tapped in his centering pass from the edge of the crease before Hebert could get back.

Anaheim defenseman Ruslan Salei -- suspended five games for "slew-footing" Daniel Briere of Phoenix in the Oct. 6 preseason game -- didn't dress despite being eligible to play.

The reason Hartsburg gave was that he didn't want to break up any of his three defense pairings, who had held Anaheim's opponents to nine goals in the first five games.

"He's going to play another time, but I don't think it's going to change too much," Adams said. "We can't run out and try and get revenge on someone. We have to wait for our chance. And if it happens, it happens. But who's to say that it even would have happened tonight if he played?"

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