Ducks Tie Series
Coming off a lopsided loss, missing perhaps their best player, the Anaheim Ducks blew an early lead and were outshot from the start.
They still found a way to even their Western Conference finals against the Detroit Red Wings.
Teemu Selanne snapped out of his scoring slump with a goal and two assists, and Ryan Getzlaf scored the go-ahead goal Thursday night to help the Ducks beat the Red Wings 5-3 in Game 4.
The next game is in Detroit on Sunday afternoon.
``A big relief,'' Selanne, the Ducks' leading scorer in the regular season, said after getting his first goal in five games and first assist in seven contests. ``It's tough when you don't score and you get a little frustrated.
``We need everybody, and tonight it was a little bit my turn. Obviously, confidence is everything about this game. I think this was a really good boost for myself, too.''
The Ducks, with defenseman Chris Pronger serving a one-game suspension, outlasted the Red Wings, who rallied from a 3-1 first-period deficit to tie it in the second.
Getzlaf put the Ducks in front to stay on a power play with 14:36 remaining, and Rob Niedermayer added an empty-net goal with 1:08 left. Corey Perry scored Anaheim's first goal and Ric Jackman, helping to fill in for Pronger, had the second, scoring on the first shot of his NHL playoff debut.
Pronger, a finalist for his second Norris Trophy and Anaheim's points leader with 12 this postseason, was suspended for a blow to the head of Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom in the previous game, a 5-0 victory by the Red Wings.
Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who made 36 saves, said captain Scott Niedermayer and the other defensemen did a good of taking up the slack created by Pronger's absence.
``Everybody had to do it and all six defensemen as a group did a great job of facing them,'' Giguere said. ``There were a couple of young guys out there for us and it wasn't an easy game for anybody. But they really came through.
``I'm sure Jackman was a little bit nervous, although he had a big goal and I'm really happy for him.''
The Ducks built their 3-1 lead by scoring three times on their first eight shots against Dominik Hasek, who faced just 22 shots overall.
``We were dominating, but the bounces didn't go our way,'' Hasek said. ``They scored on their first shot and they scored on their first power play.
``To play without Pronger, I believe, was a great motivation for them, and we didn't use that advantage - unfortunately.''
Red Wings veteran defenseman Chris Chelios added: ``We had breakdowns defensively. We've got one of the best goalies in the league, if not the best. But we somehow found a way to make him look bad, and we've got to find a way to correct that.
``You can say it was bounces or deflections or screens, but you make your own breaks. They worked hard, they were in position and made some plays.
``I think both teams realized what was at stake here, and they came out on top.''
Daniel Cleary had two goals and an assist for Detroit.
Jackman's goal made it 2-1, and Selanne, who assisted on that goal scored his own later in the first period for 3-1 edge.
Getzlaf beat Hasek with a 40-foot wrist shot. Anaheim's Todd Marchant screened the Detroit goalie on the play. The goal came with Cleary off for tripping Ducks defenseman Kent Huskins.
Cleary drew the Red Wings even with his second goal of the game, poking the puck under the prone Giguere's lower legs during a scramble in front of the net at 15:36 of the second period. The goal was Cleary's fifth of the playoffs.
Todd Bertuzzi had pulled Detroit within 3-2 at 7:48 of the second period with his third goal.
Selanne was just right of the crease when he swatted the bouncing puck past Hasek on the glove side. The goal was his fourth of this year's playoffs. Jackman beat Hasek on a power play with a slap shot down the slot at 11:46.
Like the Ducks, the Red Wings scored on their first shot of the night. Perry gave Anaheim a short-lived lead with his goal just 1:37 after the opening faceoff. It took Cleary less than two minutes to tie it.
Notes: The Red Wings won the opening game 2-1 in Detroit, the Ducks took the second 4-3 in overtime, also in Detroit. The Red Wings won the third game 5-0 in Anaheim, the Ducks' most lopsided playoff loss ever. ... The last time Hasek gave up as many as three goals in one period of a playoff game was in 1999. ... Anaheim had gone 0-for-16 on the power play during the first three games of the series and 0-for-31 over the previous five games combined. The Ducks finished the game 2-for-5 with a man advantage.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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