|Penner stands tall for Ducks|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 04 June 2007 17:34|
Teammate Teemu Selanne sure found him, setting up Penner to cap a 2-on-1 break for the decisive goal in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday. The victory pushed the Ducks to within one win of claiming their first Stanley Cup title.
For Penner, it was his third goal this postseason and second winner, giving the Ducks a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven finals that shift to Anaheim for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Anaheim overcame the loss of star defenseman Chris Pronger, who served his one-game suspension after elbowing and knocking out Dean McAmmond in Ottawa's 5-3 win on Saturday. The Ducks also rallied from a terrible first period in which they were outshot 13-2 but nearly escaped without giving up a goal before Daniel Alfredsson scored with 0.3 seconds left.
And it's unlikely Penner would've been in a position to score the goal to break a 2-2 tie 4:07 into the third period if not for an abdominal injury that prevented left wing Chris Kunitz from playing.
Penner was one of several forwards coach Randy Carlyle used to play alongside Selanne and Andy McDonald, and it paid off.
Avoiding Chris Neil's hit, McDonald chipped the puck out of his end to set up the odd-man rush. After Selanne and Penner nearly collided at the Ottawa blue line, Selanne took the puck wide to the right of the net, drawing defender Anton Volchenkov and goalie Ray Emery with him.
Selanne then threaded a pass through the crease, which Penner easily tipped in.
Not bad for a player who made his mark during last year's playoffs and translated that into a regular season in which he finished with 29 goals - second among NHL rookies this year - and 45 points.
It was a game of shifting momentum and one the Ducks had no business being in if not for Jean-Sebastien Giguere's stellar play in the opening 20 minutes.
Giguere stopped nine shots in the first half of the opening period, including a big glove save on Dany Heatley from close range, and bang-bang chances by Antoine Vermette from the right circle.
The Ducks matched a playoff franchise low for fewest shots in a period, and didn't manage their first shot until 11:25, when Corey Perry snapped one on the fly from the right circle that Emery stopped with his blocker.
It was a far different and fired-up Ducks team that came out in the second period, when Anaheim outshot the Senators 10-1 through the first 11 minutes to take a 2-1 lead.