After a stirring comeback, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks got some disturbing news.
Trailing by two goals heading into the final period, the Mighty Ducks rallied to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 Wednesday night on Steve Rucchin's goal 1:04 into overtime.
In the locker room, however, Anaheim right wing Teemu Selanne said he strained a muscle in his right thigh and might have to miss some playing time. Selanne scored early in the third period, then went to the bench later in the period and did not return.
"A couple of shifts after the goal, I was skating hard, I turned and felt it right away," Selanne said. "I want to be optimistic. At the same time, I know what kind of injury this is."
"Last year, I had one they said would take a couple weeks. This one isn't quite as bad as that, but it's close."
The injury last season came with just three games remaining.
Paul Kariya scored with 1:07 left in regulation to pull the Mighty Ducks even with Carolina, then Rucchin deflected a shot into the net as the Mighty Ducks came back from a two-goal deficit after two periods for just the second time in franchise history.
Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg voiced his displeasure to his players between the second and third periods.
"Give a lot of credit to Craig," Rucchin said. "He wasn't very happy. He told us we had to get going and to get a lot of traffic in front of the et."
"He told us we had to turn it up a notch and we did."
| The Hurricanes' Glen Wesley attempts to pass while falling away from the Mighty Ducks' Marty McInnis during the first period. (AP) |
Doing what he was told, Rucchin was in the right place at the right time, with Fredrik Olausson's shot from the right point bouncing off Rucchin's stick and past goalie Trevor Kidd.
"I was standing there and I thought, `Why can't that go in?' I looked up and it was in the net,"' Rucchin said of his third goal. "It's what Craig said. He stressed being in front of the net."
Anaheim trailed 3-1 heading into the third period, scored twice to draw even, then fell behind again when Keith Primeau scored the Hurricanes' fourth goal with 3:05 remaining in regulation.
But Kariya answered two minutes later with his seventh goal of the season, picking up a loose puck on the right side, then cutting across and beating Kidd at close range on the stick side.
"This is pretty deflating," Primeau said. "It's not customary for us to relinquish a lead like this. We had the game. We made a couple of mistakes that let them rally, then we gave up a couple of goals that wound up costing us two big points."
Selanne scored his seventh goal and Jim McKenzie his second to pull Anaheim into a 3-3 tie with 5:36 remaining in regulation.
Marty McInnis had the other Anaheim goal, tying it 1-1 early in the second period with his third goal.
Primeau opened the scoring late in the first period, then added his sixth goal to give the Hurricanes their short-lived lead late in regulation.
Sami Kapanen and Nelson Emerson scored as Carolina built its 3-1 lead in the second period, Kapanen with his sixth goal and Emerson with his fourth.
Mighty Ducks goalie Guy Hebert had 25 saves as Anaheim outshot the Hurricanes 41-29.
The only other time Anaheim came back to win after trailing by two goals beginning the third period was in 1996, when they were down 2-0 against Buffalo and won on Kariya's goal at 2:03 of overtime.
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