ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Anaheim Mighty Ducks didn’t mind skating off with this tie.
Petr Sykora scored in the final minute of the second period and set up Vinny Prospal’s goal with one minute left in the third to rally the Ducks to a 2-2 draw with the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
“Lately we’ve been getting ties and going away with a pretty empty feeling because we’ve let games slip away that we felt we could have won,” Anaheim captain Steve Rucchin said. “But tonight we were on the other end of that and were able to battle back. So we should feel pretty good about ourselves.”
It was the Red Wings’ first visit to the Pond since they were swept by Anaheim in the first round of last year’s playoffs, ending their reign as Stanley Cup champions.
Martin Gerber made 22 saves for the Ducks, who are last in the Pacific Division after reaching Game 7 of last season’s finals. They are 1-6-4 in their last 11 games, have scored two goals or fewer in 17 of 19 games, and are 0-for-26 on the power play over eight games. A return trip to the playoffs is doubtful.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’re staying positive,” Rucchin said. “We’re playing a lot better hockey now, and I think it’s just a matter of time before we start reeling off some wins. Things have to start going our way eventually. We just need to stick with it.”
Sergei Fedorov, who had a goal in each of his first two games against his former Detroit teammates, was scratched just before the game because of stomach flu. It was the first game Anaheim’s leading scorer missed since signing with the Ducks after 13 seasons with the Red Wings.
“The good thing was it happened right before the game, so we didn’t have too much time to think about it because we were on our way out to the ice,” Rucchin said. “We obviously missed him on the power play, and he could have been the difference.”
On the tying goal, Sykora had the puck in the right corner and threw it in front to Joffrey Lupul, who hit the left post. But Prospal got the carom and put it past Manny Legace to tie it after Gerber was pulled for a sixth attacker.
“We were outnumbered six-on-five and we didn’t have a chance to get the puck out of the zone after they dumped it in,” Detroit’s Chris Chelios said. “We should be able to protect that one-goal lead, but with the extra attacker, they had two guys in front of the net and made a good play.”
Pavel Datsyuk and Mathieu Schneider scored for Detroit. But Brett Hull, whose 732 career goals are more than anyone except Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe, failed to score for the 20th consecutive game following a seven-game goal-scoring streak. The drought is his longest in 17 full NHL seasons.
“I don’t think his game has changed at all,” Schneider said. “He’s still very unselfish with the puck and he’s always looking to make plays out there. He’s just going out there and working hard to try and break the jinx.”
The Red Wings, one point behind Toronto and Colorado in the race for the NHL’s best record, have gone winless in three games for the first time since an 0-4-1 stretch from Oct. 25 through Nov. 3. They are 2-for-30 on the power play over their last six games.
“I think our power play needs to produce a little better,” Schneider said. “Teams have been playing us hard, and this time of year, points are very meaningful.”
Datsyuk, who had two goals and two assists against the Ducks on Dec. 3, opened the scoring 12:12 in during a power play. His wrist shot bounced back out of the net so quickly that the referees let play continue for another 39 seconds before going to the video goal judge for a ruling.
Sykora scored his 14th goal just 13 seconds before the second intermission to cut Detroit’s lead to 2-1. Todd Simpson dumped the puck behind the net and Legace left his crease to clear it. But Samuel Pahlsson outhustled him to it, and Sykora scored into an open net after Pahlsson backhanded the puck into the low slot.
“I thought I could get it and play it into the corner, but the guy pushed me out of the way and beat me to the puck and the guy was wide open in front of the net,” Legace said. “If I don’t mess up there, we walk away with it. I thought we deserved better.”
Schneider scored Detroit’s second goal just one second after Anaheim killedoff a boarding penalty against Cam Severson.
Steve Thomas, who signed with Detroit on Dec. 5 after helping lead Anaheim to the Stanley Cup finals, returned to the Red Wings lineup after missing 19 games with a knee injury. … Fedorov scored Anaheim’s only goal inthree of the team’s previous nine games.