Game 5 - Ducks 2, Vancouver 1 (2 OT)
Luongo appeared to not be alert when Scott Niedermayer scored the game winner 4:30 into the second extra session to down the Canucks 2-1 in Game 5 and close out the Western Conference Semifinals series at Honda Center, 4 games to 1.
Niedermayer's overtime winner sent the electrified the Ducks and the sellout Honda Center crowd.
"My brother came in and made a big hit and the guy wasn't able to get the puck," said Scott Niedermayer. "It came to me and I just slid it to the front of the net. He didn't see it or something happened to him."
Luongo admitted later he had been distracted. "I thought there was an elbow, so I looked at the ref for one split second and when I turned my head, the puck was coming at me. I couldn't get a piece of it."
The Ducks' domination throughout was exemplified by their 63 shots on goal against Vancouver's 27. It was a new Ducks playoff record for shots, the previous best being 54 in a five-overtime game at Dallas in '03.
The Ducks got their only goal of regulation just 14 seconds into the second, as Samuel Pahlsson cashed in his first goal of the playoffs. Game 4 hero Travis Moen set it up by jabbing away at a loose puck in the crease. It ultimately was kicked out by Luongo, but right to Pahlsson, who flipped it into the net.
It was the only goal the Ducks would get in the period, though they thoroughly dominated Vancouver for almost the entire 20 minutes. The Ducks outshot the Canucks by a decided 22-7 advantage, but Luongo turned away countless opportunities. That included a Ducks 5 on 3 that lasted nearly a minute.
Anaheim looked like it might ride that 1-0 lead all the way to the end. But Alex Burrows knotted things up with 9:57 left on his first goal of the postseason. Teammate Josh Green fired a wrister from the slot that caromed off Giguere right to Burrows, who punched it in from the bottom of the left circle.
Neither team could generate many chances over the final half of the period, sending it to overtime for the third time in the series. It was the sixth overtime game for Vancouver, which went four extra sessions in Game 1 of the first round against Dallas.
A tense first overtime was much like the first two periods, with the Ducks controlling the puck and outshooting Vancouver 14-4. But Luongo thwarted several Anaheim scoring chances, despite staying in the locker room for the opening 3:34 of the overtime. He was replaced by backup Dany Sabourin and then re-entered the game at the first whistle. The reason for his absence was later blamed on an equipment problem.
As has been the case for most of the postseason, Luongo was tremendous while he was in there. He recorded a robust 56 saves, including countless acrobatic ones on near-certain Ducks scoring chances.
The game was a role reversal from Anaheim's two in Vancouver, where the Ducks reeled off two wins in Games 3 and 4 despite being outplayed in the early going in each. This time it was the Ducks dominating play over the first two periods, keeping the puck in the Vancouver zone for much of the time and outshooting the Canucks 39-13.
Giguere was also solid, though he wasn't tested often over the first two periods and the overtime.
"We deserved that win," Giguere said. "Roberto gave them a chance to win tonight. Playing like that, you deserve to win that game."
The Ducks play the winner of the San Jose-Detroit semifinal in the Western Conference Finals. It's their third trip to the conference finals since 2003, more than any NHL team over that time period.
The Ducks have advanced to the Conference Finals for the third time in the last four NHL seasons. No other team has advanced to the Conference Finals more than once over that span (since 2003 playoffs). The Sabres, Sharks, Devils and Senators all have the opportunity to advance to the Conference Finals for the second time in four years if they win their current respective series.
2003 CONFERENCE FINALS
2004 CONFERENCE FINALS
2006 CONFERENCE FINALS
2007 CONFERENCE FINALS
Anaheim is 6-0 in series clinching games at home, including 2-0 this year (3-0 in 2003; 1-0 in 1997).
The Ducks recorded 62 shots on goal, a new franchise record for most shots in a game during the postseason.
The Ducks improved their overall home playoff record to 5-1 at home during the postseason. They have an overall home record of 18-6 since the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Ducks have an all-time overtime record of 12-5 and are 11-2 over the last 12 OT contests.
Ducks OT history:
1997: 1-3 (0-1 at home)
1999: No OT games
2003: 7-0 (3-0 at home)
2006: 2-1 (1-0 at home)
2007: 2-1 (1-1 at home)
TOTAL: 12-5 (5-2 at home)
This is the seventh multiple-overtime game in club history, with the Ducks going 4-3 in those seven games. The club's last multiple-overtime game came in Game 2 of the current Conference Semifinal series vs. VAN on April 27 (2-1 loss, Cowan GWG).
The Ducks have allowed only one power play goal this series, improving their playoff PK % to 94.6 (53-for-56). The Ducks are 1st in the NHL in penalty killing.
J.S. Giguere stopped 26-of-27 shots, improving his GAA and SV% in the postseason to 1.30 and .951%, respectively. He improved his career postseason record to 23-10. He has allowed only one goal in 224:30 career postseason OT minutes. He 10-1 in his career in overtime (7-0 in 2003, 1-0 in 2006 and 2-1 in 2007) and has a 0.27 GAA.
Samuel Pahlsson has 1-3=4 points in his last four games. He has 1-6=7 points through 10 games in the postseason, surpassing his previous playoff-scoring high of 2-4=6 points set in 2003.
Travis Moen has 1-2=3 points in the last four games.
Tonight's attendance was 17,407, a standing-room only sellout crowd. Going back to the regular season, the Ducks now have a 28 game sellout streak.
4:30 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - As Vancouver's Jannik Hansen tries to take the puck up the ice, Rob Niedermayer absolutely drills him with a blindside hit. Brother Scott picks up the loose puck and sends it at the net and its flies by a stunned Luongo. Ducks win it in OT and win the series 4 games to 1.
2:24 - Giguere blocks a close-in shot from Daniel Sedin and freezes it.
0:00 - And we're underway. Can't imagine how tired the players are, since WE'RE exhausted.
0:00 - END OF 1ST OVERTIME - An extremely tense sudden death period ends the way it starts. The Ducks have racked up a jaw-dropping 61 shots on goal to the Canucks' 25.
17:30 - An icing call ends a stretch where the Ducks saw several chances thwarted by Luongo, including a pretty redirect on the fly by Getzlaf.
The tension in this place on every scoring chance - for both sides - is incredibly thick.
12:16 - The Ducks have several hacks at it but can't get one past Luongo. A robust 57 saves for him.
10:11 - VAN PENALTY - Willie Mitchell, 2 min. delay of game. Mitchell tries to clear it out of the zone and sends it over the glass. The Ducks go on their seventh power play and are 0-6.
10:01 - The Ducks are right on the doorstep and can't get a stick on it to punch it in.
3:34 - Sabourin makes a few saves before Luongo comes back in. No report yet on what the problem was.
0:00 - Backup Dany Sabourin is in goal for the Canucks, meaning Luongo must have hurt himself.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - We're going to overtime for the third time in this series. First a 15-minute intermission.
19:31 - McDonald comes from behind the net to take a shot that pops up in the air and is gloved by Luongo.
11:03 - VANCOUVER GOAL - ALEX BURROWS - Josh Green fires a wrister from the slot that rebounds off Giguere right to Burrows, who punches it in from the bottom of the left circle. It's 1-1.
TV graphic shows that the Sedin twins have combined for one shot tonight.
6:41 - The Ducks kill.
4:41 - ANA PENALTY - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. tripping. The teams are trading penalties like baseball cards.
4:09 - Giguere makes a brillient kick save on a Mattias Ohlund rediret, then thwarts a Vancouver shot a few seconds later.
3:13 - VAN PENALTY - Lukas Krajicek, 2 min. interference. Pretty easy to call as he blocks Pronger's path to the puck. That wipes out the power play and the Ducks will have one of their own.
1:55 - ANA PENALTY - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. high sticking. Vancouver is 0-4 on the power play.
1:25 - Luongo is out of position on a Pahlsson shot from the slot, but somehow springs back to save it.
0:00 - The Ducks start the third, according to PA Announcer Phil Hulett: "Ooooooooooooooon the POWER PLAY!"
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The game continues to lean in the Ducks' favor and they start off the period with a quick goal. They are outshooting Vancouver (not a misprint) 39-13. We'll be back in 17 minutes.
19:52 - Luongo makes yet another big save from point blank. He is working tirelessly tonight. He already has 38 saves.
18:48 - VAN PENALTY - Alex Burrows, 2 min. delay of game (closing the hand on the puck). The Ducks will be on a 5 on 3 for 56 seconds.
17:43 - VAN PENALTY - Kevin Bieksa, 2 min. roughing. Bieksa gets a little crazy in front of the Vancouver net after the whistle. Ducks are 0-4 on the power play tonight.
15:26 - Selanne uncorks a shot from the right circle and Luongo gloves it up high.
Jay Leno and his chin appear on the video board to wish the Ducks well. It didn't get the same reaction as Steve Nash did in Vancouver.
12:20 - The crowd sees Scott Niedermayer get knocked down with no call, and they object. Apparently, they would have liked to see 2 minutes for knocking Scott Niedermayer down.
7:34 - It's so loud in here, you can't even hear the whistle when Brad May gets aggressive and jumps offside. They're reacting to Giguere, who made several big saves in the last minute.
6:16 - The Ducks squash both penalties.
5:10 - Giguere is saved by a shot off the crossbar.
4:16 - ANA PENALTY - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. hooking. 5 on 3 for Vancouver.
3:47 - ANA PENALTY - Corey Perry, 2 min. holding. That wipes out the last 12 seconds of the power play and will give Vancouver one of their own.
1:59 - VAN PENALTY - Mattias Ohlund, 2 min. holding. The Ducks have their third PP of the night.
0:14 - ANA GOAL - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - Before much of the crowd can even get back to their seats, Travis Moen gets into the crease and jabs away at the puck while Luongo tries to bury it. It pops out to Pahlsson who one-times it in. Luongo screams at the official, thinking he was interfered with, but replays show Moen was pushed into him. First goal of the postseason for Pahlsson. It's 1-0 Anaheim.
During the intermission, I saw a girl in a skirt made of orange Fowl Towels. Phenomenal.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - No goals for the Ducks, but they outplay Vancouver and outshoot them, 17-6.
19:56 - A long pass from Pronger meets Sean O'Donnell behind the defense. He heads on a breakaway, but not having much experience with that, shoots it right at Luongo.
17:39 - Niedermayer comes flying out of the box to put a hit on Henrik Sedin.
15:39 - ANA PENALTY - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. interference. The crowd seems to not agree.
14:22 - VAN PENALTY - Bryan Smolinski, 2 min. tripping. Second power play of the night for the Ducks.
11:09 - The Ducks kill again.
9:09 - ANA PENALTY - Corey Perry, 2 min. holding the stick. First power play for Vancouver, who is a frustrating 1 for 23 in this series and 4 for 61 in the playoffs. PLAYOFFS???!!! (Sorry, I always think of that when I hear that word.)
Todd Marchant is again out with an injury, but he has unquestionably the thickest playoff beard of all the Ducks. It's a shame he hasn't been able to show it off yet.
7:19 - Corey Perry fires a shot from the slot that Luongo gets down to save, then Perry goes sliding into the left post and knocks the goal off.
With this 6:00 start, there are several orange towels on seats, just waiting to be picked up and waved.
5:43 - Francois Beauchemin takes a nice shot from the left circle, but Roberto Luongo slides over nicely to block it.
4:10 - J.S. Giguere stonewalls Markus Naslund, who tried to one-time a pass right on the doorstep.
1:18 - VAN PENALTY - Lukas Krajicek, 2 min. holding. First power play for the Ducks, who are 4 for 29 in the series.
0:00 - We've dropped the puck in the first after a lovely rendition of both anthems by Kelsey Scott of Laguna Niguel.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA J.S. Giguere; VAN Robert Luongo
Starting Skaters: ANA Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz, Andy McDonald, Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger; VAN Kevin Bieksa, Willie Mitchell, Trevor Linden, Markus Naslund, Bryan Smolinski
Scratches: ANA Sebastien Caron, Ric Jackman, Mark Hartigan, George Parros, Drew Miller, Todd Marchant, Aaron Rome, Joe Motzko; VAN Rory Fitzpatrick, Jeff Cowan, Alexander Edler, Matt Cooke, Tommi Santala, Nathan Smith
6 p.m. at Honda Center
TV: Versus Radio: AM 830
Please note that due to the 6 p.m. faceoff, heavy traffic is expected. We suggest fans attending the game give themselves extra travel time in case of delays.
The Ducks and Canucks clash in Game 5 tonight both wanting desperately to win, but for different reasons. The Ducks are looking to move on to the Western Conference Finals and avoid a return trip to Vancouver. The Canucks, meanwhile, are just trying to stay alive.
"I don't think it should be that hard to get ready for the next game,'' Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "If we want to continue playing hockey, we have no choice. We have to win. To continue playing should be motivation enough.''
Goaltenders Roberto Luongo (left) and J.S. Giguere will again have to be at their best tonight.
"They did a lot of things well early in the game, we did a number of things well late in the game,'' Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "I think we have to be certain to most definitely focus on the next one. We know how hard they've competed, and I'm sure they will have their `A' game.''
Selanne's goal came after taking yet another shot to his face, this time an inadvertant stick from Canucks center Josh Green that left Selanne spitting blood and with swelling to the right side of his face. Selanne was excused from the Ducks' late-Wednesday workout, but will be in the lineup tonight.
"He's fine," Carlyle said. "We just felt that with the number of stick-related incidents, he would be better suited to just stay away from the rink."
Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere carried Anaheim in Game 4 when things could have been much worse over the first two periods of that game. He said it was good to be back home with a 3-1 lead.
"It means a whole lot," Giguere said. "We thought maybe to get one win up there would be good, but we got two wins. Now we know the fourth win is the hardest, and they're going to be desperate, throw everything they have at us.''
The Canucks' Brendan Morrison believes they can still win the series.
"If we go out and play the way we are capable of playing, then we have a chance,'' he said.
Teammate Brent Sopel agreed, saying, ``We put a 60-minute effort in tomorrow night, we'll have a great chance at coming back (to Vancouver) for Sunday. It's fun to be in these situations, fun to play at this time of year.''
Among the things the Canucks hope to get going is better defense in front of goalie Roberto Luongo, who has been screened on many shots in his first postseason.
"We have to find a way to knock those pucks down,'' Sopel said. "If Louie can't see it, obviously he's not going to stop it. As a whole, defense and forwards, we need to do a better job.''
On the offensive side, the Canucks need some spark from twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin, and Vigneault may split them up again.
"They have played so well together all year long. They have been our best offensive players. Right now in the playoffs, except for Game 1 and Game 7 of the Dallas series, they haven't been as good as they have been all year long,'' Vigneault said. "They seem to be skating in quicksand on different nights.
"I know they want to do well. They want to be the go-to guys. Right now their game is not as good as it was during the season.''
Daniel Sedin said, "It's our job to score, that's for sure. It was in the regular season and it's the same in the playoffs. Tomorrow is the biggest game of the year. We have to try to go out and play our best game of the year.''
- Associated Press contributed to this report