Ducks Holding Traffic Jam

The Ducks want to keep the traffic jam going in Anaheim - right in front of Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.

``Goaltenders are human, and there's an old saying that you can't stop what you can't see,'' Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Thursday.

Oddsmakers have made Anaheim -205 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5 total goals (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 85% of bets for this game have been placed on Anaheim -205 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

``What we obviously have to do is get traffic, second- and third-chance opportunities, move the puck side to side, get deflections, screens, all of that stuff is part and parcel of attacking.

``It's not specifically against one goalie, it's against any goaltender.''

Anaheim did all that in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals and were especially successful at keeping players in front of the Canucks' goal. The Ducks scored four goals against Luongo - three on their first nine shots - on the way to a 5-1 victory Wednesday night.

He faced 31 shots and Dany Sabourin replaced him after Ryan Getzlaf made it 4-1 midway through the third period. Sabourin faced six shots and gave up Andy McDonald's third goal of the game, with 52 seconds left and Anaheim holding a two-man advantage.

``There was a lot of traffic, probably the most I've seen all year,'' Luongo said of the Ducks' hanging around in front of the net.

The Ducks, who had a five-day break between games after wrapping up their opening series against Minnesota in five games, figure Vancouver will play much better in Friday's Game 2.

The Canucks should have more energy than in the opener. They didn't wrap up their series against Dallas until a Game 7 victory on Monday night, then traveled to Anaheim the next day.

They finally got a bit of break on Thursday, with only an afternoon practice on their schedule.

None of the Canucks, nor coach Alain Vigneault, would use weariness as an excuse for their loss in the first game.

``I felt fine,'' Luongo said.

Vigneault said, ``We just didn't play well enough.''

McDonald, whose hat trick was the first of his career, said the Ducks expect a real challenge on Friday.

``We have to improve because things are going to be a lot tougher in Game. 2,'' McDonald said.

The Ducks' Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 26 saves in the opener, said, ``I think they're going to be more aggressive. Every game in the playoffs is hard and we know we're going to have to raise our level of play if we're going to compete with them.''

Giguere said he doesn't believe Luongo's confidence will be shaken.

``Not with a goalie like Roberto. We know he's going to bounce back,'' Giguere said. ``They were quality goals. In my mind, he's the best goalie in the league right now.''

Vigneault said the Ducks already have an aura about them.

``Everybody's making this team out to be almost unbeatable,'' he said. ``Well, we're going to step out on the ice and see if that's true.''

The Canucks may get their best all-around defender, Sami Salo, back for the game. He left the final game against Dallas on Monday, and missed the opening game in Anaheim, apparently because of a back problem. Another defenseman, Kevin Bieksa, also missed the opener and said Thursday that he's day-to-day.

The series shifts to Vancouver for games Sunday and Tuesday.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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