|Expect the unexpected as Ducks-Red Wings series shifts back to Detroit|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 18 May 2007 10:52|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -After a couple of relatively predictable games to begin their Western Conference finals series, the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings have provided surprises in the last two.|
Minus star defenseman Chris Pronger, coming off what could have been a deflating loss and then blowing an early lead, the Ducks regrouped to beat the Red Wings 5-3 Thursday night and evened the series at two games apiece.
Detroit had dominated Game 3, rolling to a 5-0 win. The loss, the Ducks' worst in a playoff game, was particularly startling since they have been tough on their home ice.
With each team managing a split in the other's rink through the first four games, the series shifts back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 5 on Sunday afternoon. The players on both sides don't expect things to get any easier - or necessarily more predictable.
``As soon as the puck drops for the next game, you're back to square one,'' Anaheim's Sean O'Donnell said. ``But we feel like we can score on anyone, and we hope that continues.''
Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek, who gave up four goals on 22 shots in the Ducks' Game 4 win on Thursday, said the Red Wings obviously need to step it up.
``I like our chances, but we need to be a more desperate team, do better on the power play and the penalty kill and pay attention to the smallest details,'' Hasek said.
Teammate Chris Chelios said, ``We've got to be better and be ready for the next game.''
Pronger, a finalist for his second Norris Trophy and the Ducks' leader with 12 points in the postseason, will be back for the fifth game after serving a one-game suspension for hitting Tomas Holmstrom in the head in Game 3.
Teemu Selanne also is ``back'' for Anaheim, snapping his scoreless streak with a goal and two assists in the Game 4 win. The goal was the first for Selanne, the Ducks' leading scorer in the regular season, in five games.
He said afterward that he was relieved, and that the Ducks were, too, after bouncing back from the one-sided loss in the previous game.
``The last game, we did everything wrong. I think even the coach said after the game that, `Let's just forget this. There's no reason to watch videos or anything, let's move on,''' Selanne said.
``That's what we did. We knew we had to be better. Like I said earlier, we lost Pronger and you can't replace him. You have to play team smart, team tough. I think we played good enough to win. But we can be, and we want to be, better.''
In some ways, the last game was the flip side of Game 3. The goalies, among the best in the league, had their rocky times.
In the third game, the Red Wings scored three times on 13 shots against Jean-Sebastien Giguere before he was pulled, then added two more goals against backup Ilya Bryzgalov. Hasek, meanwhile, stopped 29 shots for his second shutout of this postseason.
In the fourth game, the Ducks put the puck in the net three times in their first eight shots against Hasek. Giguere finished with 36 saves.
Giguere's Anaheim teammates didn't blame him for the Game 3 loss, and Hasek's Detroit teammates didn't point fingers at him after Game 4.
Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer, asked about Giguere's bouncing back in the fourth game, said, ``I don't think he had to bounce back from anything. I think the players in front of him had to bounce back and play smarter and do our jobs.''
Chelios similarly defended Hasek after the latest loss.
``We've got one of the best goalies in the league - if not the best,'' Chelios said. ``But we somehow found a way to make him look bad, and we've got to find a way to correct that.''
The Red Wings won the opener in Detroit 2-1, and the Ducks took the second game 4-3 in overtime before the series moved to Anaheim for two games.
Game 6 is in Anaheim on Tuesday, and a seventh, if necessary, will be in Detroit on Thursday.
50% Bonus for New Players
Are You Ready for Hoops?
Get Your Message In Front of
Thousands of Sports Fans Now
Live Odds, Scores, Injuries
And More - 14 Day Free Trial!
Easiest Time to Play is Now!
Nearly 66% Lifetime