OTTAWA (AP) -Leave it to free-spirited Anaheim Ducks veteran star Teemu Selanne to put his team's sudden rash of troubles into perspective Sunday.
Sure, it won't be easy losing Chris Pronger to a one-game suspension following the top defenseman's forearm blow to the head that knocked out Ottawa's Dean McAmmond on Saturday. And Selanne would rather forget the Ducks' sloppy and undisciplined performance in a 5-3 loss that cut Anaheim's series lead to 2-1 and gave the Senators new life in the Stanley Cup finals.
Selanne, though, was confident the Ducks will bounce back Monday, when the best-of-seven series resumes at Ottawa.
Why?
``I don't think we can play any worse,'' he said.
Selanne's got a point there.
Aside from a 5-0 loss to Detroit in the Western Conference finals, Anaheim is coming off its worst outing this postseason.
On Saturday, the Ducks squandered three one-goal leads; lost for only the second time this postseason when scoring the opening goal; were thoroughly outhustled in allowing 29 shots (seven fewer than the Senators managed in the first two games of the series); and, with the game on the line, they spent nearly half the third period in the penalty box.
``We can't change what happened last night,'' coach Randy Carlyle said. ``We didn't play anywhere near our capabilities.''
It was an uncharacteristic effort for a Ducks team that had the Senators reeling after winning the first two games at Anaheim. And it was a game in which the teams reversed roles with Ottawa out-hitting the usually physical Ducks and bottling up the neutral zone, and rallying back from a deficit as Anaheim did in a 3-2 win in Game 1.
The Ducks' growing frustration became evident in the players' sagging body language as the game progressed, and emphasized when forward Andy McDonald slapped his stick on the ice after being called for goaltender interference with 4 1/2 minutes left.
``It's the same old story, we got into some penalty problems,'' defenseman Sean O'Donnell said. ``Give Ottawa credit, they came out and played their best game of the series. But I've always said that usually a game after a loss is your best game of the series.''
The Ducks have bounced back before, having yet to lose consecutive games this postseason.
And they've also shown they can win without Pronger, after he was suspended for one game for elbowing Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom during the 5-0 loss. Anaheim responded to win the next game 5-3, which sparked a five-game win streak that ended with the loss Saturday.
In discussing Pronger's suspension, Ducks general manager Brian Burke made a point to raise the team's season-long motto of ``No complaints, No excuses.''
His players are buying in.
``Of course, we can blame something, but the bottom line is we have to play better and we want to play better,'' Selanne said. ``We didn't deserve to win.''
The Ducks did receive some good news on Sunday.
Left wing Chris Kunitz is likely to play in Game 4 after he missed most of the final two periods Saturday with what Carlyle described as an abdominal bruise. Playing his first game after missing three weeks with a broken hand, Kunitz had given the Ducks' top line a boost before he was hurt again.
He was on the ice when Selanne set up McDonald for the game-opening goal, which was scored on a power play after Kunitz was tripped in front of the net by defenseman Wade Redden. And Kunitz also delivered two big hits, including one on Anton Volchenkov that nearly set up a Ducks scoring chance in the early minutes.
The Ducks can also take pride in knowing the Samuel Pahlsson-led checking line continued to shut down Ottawa's top unit. Daniel Alfredsson did score a power-play goal, but he was the only one to register a point. Otherwise, Alfredsson and linemates Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza combined for three shots.
``You can't get this far unless you're able to take a game - whether it's a win or a loss - and just shove it aside,'' O'Donnell said. ``We'll be OK.''
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