<
>

Defenseman ties game in final period

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Mighty
Ducks turned up the offense in their first meeting of the season.

Defenseman Todd Simpson scored the tying goal with 9:06 left to
end an 84-game scoring drought, and Michael Holmqvist scored his
first two NHL goals to help the Mighty Ducks salvage a 4-4 tie with
their Southern California rivals Wednesday night.

"For the most part, we usually have some entertaining games,"
Anaheim captain Steve Rucchin said. "I don't really know why we're
scoring this much in our games because both teams have solid
goaltending and don't give up a lot of goals. But with the
intensity and the atmosphere in these games, guys are going to get
excited and things open up a bit.

"Guys are pressing a little harder offensively and not being as
responsible defensively. It's a completely entirely different
atmosphere than a lot of games we play."

The Ducks played 39 games before getting their first crack at
the Kings. The only other season in which Anaheim didn't face them
during the first 27 games of a season was 1997-98, when the first
meeting was in game No. 47.

"Every time we hook up with them, we know how good a team they
are and hard they work. And they're well-coached, so you need to be
prepared," Anaheim defenseman Keith Carney said. "We were
prepared, we came out and battled hard. But it's going to take
everybody in the room playing as hard as we can for each other and
doing it consistently, night in and night out."

Sergei Fedorov also scored for the Ducks, who had allowed more
than three goals just once in their previous 13 games. Andy
McDonald and Vaclav Prospal each had two assists.

Kings forward Sean Avery returned from a one-game disciplinary
benching to score a goal and add an assist. Brad Chartrand, Trent
Klatt and Alexander Frolov also scored and Luc Robitaille had two
assists for the Kings, who got center Ian Laperriere back in the
lineup after he missed 19 games because of a concussion.

Avery, who leads the league with 164 penalty minutes, was
benched for Saturday's 2-2 tie against Dallas. His actions in an
altercation with Phoenix's Mike Sillinger last Wednesday caused the
Kings to be short-handed for nine consecutive minutes -- and he
exacerbated the situation by making remarks criticizing his team's
lack of toughness.

"I certainly didn't want to sit and watch that game," Avery
said. "It was disappointing, but it was a situation made by the
coaching staff and you have to deal with it and move on to the next
game -- which I did tonight. It was just like any other game. I
don't think I had to go out there and prove anything."

Simpson, whose previous goal was Dec. 13, 2002, got the
equalizer on a rebound after Roman Cechmanek stopped a wraparound
attempt by McDonald. The tie extended the Kings' winless streak
extend to nine games (0-2-6-1) -- their longest since a 10-game
drought from Feb. 10-28, 1996 (0-7-3).

"I don't even want to think about that," Robitaille said. "We
made a few mistakes in the first period and it cost us. Then we
found a way to come back."

Anaheim scored on three of its first six shots against Cristobal
Huet, taking a 3-2 lead at 14:06 of the first on Fedorov's 26th
career goal against Los Angeles.

Huet, who surrendered Klatt's goal on the first shot he faced,
was replaced after the first intermission by Roman Cechmanek. It
was the second time the Kings activated Cechmanek from the injured
list and started Huet the same night.

Cechmanek, who missed the previous six games because of a
bruised hip, faced only four shots in the second period and 15
altogether.

Game notes
Former Anaheim enforcer Kevin Sawyer, who became an
unrestricted free agent this summer after the Ducks gave up his
rights, hasn't played in an NHL game since Dec. 19 of last season --
when Kings D Brad Norton decked him with two quick rights to the
face and left him with a concussion. Sawyer, 29, is contemplating
retirement, according to a Ducks' spokesman. ... The Kings lead the
series 23-21-11.