Simpson accidentally swept the puck into his own net in the second period, but Lupul scored with 7:10 left in the third to salvage a 1-1 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.
The Blackhawks, who took just four shots in each of the last two periods of Saturday’s 3-2 victory at Los Angeles, had only four shots in the second period against Anaheim. They got a huge break on Simpson’s mistake, right after Kyle Calder was stopped twice in close by goaltender Martin Gerber—the second time while on his stomach after tripping over Sergei Fedorov.
“It was just bad luck,” said Simpson, who was obtained from Phoenix in the waiver draft on Oct. 3. “The puck was about a foot from the goal line and it was such a scramble, guys everywhere. I didn’t really have a good picture of what was going on.
“There were two guys whacking away and I was just trying to get in there. Obviously, I did a pretty good job of letting them get their sticks on the puck. It was terrible, embarrassing and upsetting. I was just hoping we’d score at least two goals.”
That didn’t happen, thanks in part to Michael Leighton’s 31 saves at the other end. But Lupul got Simpson off the hook with his second NHL goal and second in two games.
Chicago’s Scott Nichol was off for holding Petr Sykora when Niclas Havelid got the puck in the high slot from Steve Rucchin. The hard-shooting defenseman faked a slap shot and slid the puck to Lupul, who one-timed it past Leighton’s stick from the left circle.
“I don’t know if he saw me all the way, or if he was going to shoot it and then saw me at the last second. But either way, it’s a great play by him,” said Lupul, the seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft. “I’ve been getting a lot of shots in the last three games and I’ve been able to bury a couple.”
The Blackhawks, who lost all four meetings with Anaheim last season, are 58-1-13-1 in their last 73 games when leading after two periods. Their one regulation loss came to the Ducks, who turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 victory last March 13 at Chicago.
“We’ve got to be a little bit better in the third period. We had a lead going into the third tonight, and we’ve got to learn how to win those,” Steve Sullivan said. “We’re a young team, and that’s the one thing we’ve really got to work on.”
The best chance either team had in overtime came 35 seconds into the extra period, when Chicago’s Nathan Dempsey tried to redirect Sullivan’s feed from the top of the left circle before Gerber slid out to steer it away for one of his 25 saves—including five in the extra five-minute period.
“I was pretty sure Sullivan was going to shoot, and then I saw that he was going for Dempsey. I just tried to get myself over as fast as I could, and fortunately it hit my pads,” Gerber said.
The Blackhawks scored first for only the second time in their first nine games. The other time was on opening night, in Jocelyn Thibault’s 1-0 victoryover Minnesota.
The Mighty Ducks’ management announced that ticket holders unable to get to the game because of wildfires that resulted in the closure of several freeways and the destruction of 264,000 acres and at least 650 homes in Southern California by Sunday, would be able to exchange their tickets for another game. … The attendance at the Pond was announced at 12,845, but did not account for the many no-shows. The Blackhawks drew a sellout crowd of 18,118 at Staples Center the night before. … Ducks D Keith Carney expects to start skating again within the next couple of days. He worked out Saturday without the cast on his broken right foot for the first time since he was injured blocking a shot by Phoenix’s Shane Doan in an exhibition game on Oct.2.