Game 4 - Ducks 5, Detroit 3
ANAHEIM - Faced with their biggest challenge of this postseason, the Ducks got the win they had to have, a 5-3 thriller over Detroit that evened the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece.
Playing without defenseman and top playoff scorer Chris Pronger - suspended after a hit on Tomas Holmstrom in Game 3 - Anaheim got a third-period power play goal by Ryan Getzlaf and a much-needed Rob Niedermayer empty-netter to pull off the dramatic victory.
"Obviously, we lost Pronger tonight and you can't replace a guy like him," said Teemu Selanne, who had two assists and a goal for his first points of the series. "But it was a great opportunity for other players to step up and show what they can do. They did a great job."
(L-R) Selanne, Niedermayer and Marchant all had a hand in Getzlaf's game-winning goal.
Tied 3-3 with Detroit 5:24 into the third period, Getzlaf blazed a wrist shot over the shoulder of Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek to give the Ducks a tenuous 4-3 lead. Scott Niedermayer and Todd Marchant were both screening Hasek in front, with Neidermayer leaping over the approaching puck to clear the way for the shot.
"I just had to wait a little bit for guys to get over into the front of the net," said Getzlaf, who scored his fourth of the playoffs. "I had to wait for our guys to get in their position, wait for their guy to overcommit a little bit there so I could pull it around them."
Detroit, which had erased a 3-1 Ducks lead after one period, put the pressure on the rest of the third, but the Ducks defense held tough (despite Pronger's absence) with help from goalie J.S. Giguere. After a workhorse attempt by Anaheim to keep Detroit out of the Ducks zone in the waning minutes, Niedermayer took a travis Moen pass near the redline, made a move on defenseman Danny Markov and dumped it into the empty net with 1:08 left.
That put the lid on the game and brought the sellout crowd of 17,375 to its loudest point of the night.
Selanne (middle, facing camera) had a goal and two assists, his first points of the series.
The Ducks first score came while the Honda Center ice was still fresh, as Corey Perry poured one in 1:37 into the period. Perry intercepted a Todd Bertuzzi pass in the Detroit zone and unleashed a wrister from the right circle that whistled past Hasek on the far side.
But while the Anaheim celebration was dying down, Detroit's Dan Cleary took a Chris Chelios pass at the top of the crease and one-timed it by Giguere.
Jackman's goal gave the Ducks the lead 11:46 into the period. Ryan Getzlaf tried to center a pass to Dustin Penner, but it hit off a Detroit player right to Jackman in the slot. His wrist shot hit off Hasek and bounced over the stripe. It was the first power play goal of the series for Anaheim, which had been 0 for 16 up to that point.
The Ducks went up two goals when Teemu Selanne finally broke through with his first goal of the series. Todd Marchant knocked a loose puck toward Selanne on the right wing, and Selanne one-timed the bouncing disc through Hasek.
"Obviously, as a goal-scorer, it's really tough sometimes when you can't score," Selanne said. "But it's nothing I haven't faced before. You just have to work hard and believe those goals are coming."
To no one's surprise, Detroit came roaring back in the second to tie the score, outshooting the Ducks 16-6. After committing no penalties in the first 20 minutes, the Ducks took six in the second. Their third one cost them, as Todd Bertuzzi batted in a Robert Lang behind-the-net pass inside the right post at the 7:48 mark.
With 4:24 left in the period, with a Detroit power play only 20 seconds old, Cleary netted his second of the game to tie it. Bertuzzi's shot off Giguere from behind the net got loose as Giguere went down on his stomach. Cleary poked at it a couple of times before lifting it over the goalie.
But the Ducks came back strong in the third with a tireless effort, timely goals and Giguere's solid play that helped him earn 36 saves on the night.
"Obviously, this was a huge boost," Selanne said. "I'm really expecting that this is going to carry over in the next game too."
Game 5 is Sunday in Detroit at noon Pacific on NBC.
The Ducks improved their overall home playoff record to 6-2 at home during the postseason. They have an overall home record of 19-7 since the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tonight's game marked the Ducks' third, four-plus goal game and second five-goal game of the postseason.
This was the fourth game this postseason that the Ducks have recorded two power play goals.
Teemu Selanne recorded his first three-point game (1-2=3) of the postseason. It is the fifth time he has accomplished the feat in his career with his last three-point playoff game coming on May 5, 2006 in the CSF vs. COL (1-2=3).
In his NHL playoff debut, Ric Jackman recorded his first NHL playoff goal.
Ryan Getzlaf has recorded 1-3=4 points in the last four games.
Francois Beauchemin recorded his second two-point game (0-2=2) of the playoffs, which ties his career postseason highs in points (last game: Apr. 13, 2007 vs.MIN in CQF, 2-0=2 points) and assists (last game: May 6, 2006 vs. COL in CSF, 0-2=2).
J.S. Giguere stopped 36-of-39 shots, posting a 1.88 GAA and .936 SV% in the postseason.
Tonight's attendance was 17,375, a standing-room only sellout crowd. Going back to the regular season, the Ducks now have a 30-game sellout streak.
20:00 - Giguere makes another save just before the clock hits zero on this 5-3 Ducks victory. We're even at two games apiece.
Somehow an octopus finds the ice during the Detroit timeout.
19:42 - ANA and DET PENALTIES - ANA Samuel Pahlsson and DET Henrik Zetterberg, 2 min. each for roughing. Things get a little chippy as the clock winds down.
18:52 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - ROB NIEDERMAYER - Travis Moen gets the puck to Niedermayer at the Ducks blueline, and he takes it up the ice with just defenseman Danny Markov between him and an empty net. Niedermayer waits, waits and makes a quick move on Markov to score it from the left circle. It's 5-3 Ducks and this crowd is louder than they've been all night.
The Ducks are doing everything they can to clear their zone, over and over again.
12:55 - Getzlaf skates down on a 3 and 2, stops and fires a wrister that hits Hasek and then the crossbar.
12:26 - The Ducks are being outshot 36-18. It's a rare occurence for the Ducks in these playoffs.
During the intermission, Ray Liota is put up on the video board. He looks pleased as punch. I think he had that same look on his face when he found out Pesci's character died in Good Fellas.
8:14 - Filppula's shot from the left circle eludes Giguere, but he's saved by the left post.
5:24 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf holds the puck at the right point before sending a blazing wrister over Hasek's shoulder. First assist goes to Selanne, who fed Getzlaf the puck (Selanne's third point of the night). Give credit to SCott Niedermayer, who jumped over the puck as he waited in front of the net.
4:23 - DET PENALTY - Dan Cleary, 2 min. tripping. Cleary takes down Kent Huskins as he tries to skate it out of the zone.
2:02 - Ducks kill. Crowd screams.
0:02 - ANA PENALTY - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. cross checking. Niedermayer gets called for a questionable cross check on Robert Lang right off the face off. Wings go 5 on 3.
0:00 - We're underway in the third, tied 3-3.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks can't keep up the strong play from the first period and lose their two-goal lead. Detroit outshoots Anaheim 16-6 and gets goals from Bertuzzi and Cleary. The Wings will have 1:38 of power play time when we come back in the third.
19:37 - ANA PENALTY - Corey Perry, 2 min. interference. Perry puts a hit on an unsuspecting Henrik Zetterberg.
16:57 - Velterri Filppula gets the puck on the breakaway with Detroit shorthanded and makes a move on Giguere, who makes a nice glove save.
16:03 - DET PENALTY - Mikael Samuelsson, 2 min. inteference.
15:36 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - DAN CLEARY - The power play is only 20 seconds old when Bertuzzi shoots it off Giguere from behind the right side of the net. Giguere goes down trying to save it and is on his stomach when Cleary bats twice at the loose puck and finally lifts it over Giguere. We're tied.
15:16 - ANA PENALTY - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Questionable call against Niedermayer.
13:03 - The crowd gets a chant going that appears to express their disappointment with the effort put forth by the officials.
8:50 - ANA and DET PENALTIES - ANA Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. roughing and DET Dan Cleary, 4 min. (double minor) roughing. Things get a little chippy near the Anaheim bench and Niedermayer and Cleary get into it. The guys in stripes determine that Cleary played a little more rough then Niedermayer. We'll go 4 on 4 for 2 minutes, then the Ducks will have the man advantage.
7:48 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - TODD BERTUZZI - From behind the net, Robert Lang makes a nice pass to a waiting Bertuzzi in the crease, and he one-times it inside the right post. The Ducks lead is cut to 3-2.
Versus reporter Chris Simpson interviews Dan Cleary on the bench during the timeout. He looks thrilled.
6:14 - ANA PENALTY - Todd Marchant, 2 min. slashing. After commiting no penalties in the first, the Ducks pick up three already.
4:15 - Just after the penalty expires, Bertuzzi tries to take a shot from the right wing and Giguere saves it easily. On the follow-through, Francois Beauchemin levels Bertuzzi and he seems to mind.
4:03 - Ducks kill them both. Crowd happy.
2:03 - ANA PENALTY - Sean O'Donnell, 2 min. tripping. O'Donnell takes down Holmstrom right in front of the net. Wings are 5 on 3.
0:49 - ANA PENALTY - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. tripping. Early first whistle of the period. First power play of the game for Detroit.
0:00 - The puck drops for the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Any doubts about whether the Ducks would bounce back from Game 3 and recover from the Pronger suspension are erased. They lead it 3-1 despite being outshot 15-8.
18:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - Selanne gives a pass to Todd Marchant in the slot, but it's nearly taken away by the Detroit defense. Marchant manages to poke it back toward Selanne on the right wing, and Selanne one-times a bouncing puck through Hasek. It's his first goal of the series and it's 3-1 Ducks.
17:41 - Getzlaf makes a great centering pass to the crease but Dustin Penner can't finish the one-timer.
15:51 - Detroit kills this one without a serious Anaheim scoring chance.
13:51 - DET PENALTY - Pavel Datsyuk, 2 min. tripping. Datsyuk saves a likely goal by taking down Travis Moen near the crease. Ducks are 1-1 on the PP.
11:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RIC JACKMAN - Jackman is instantly felt welcome with a goal in his first game of the postseason. Ryan Getzlaf tries to throw a centering pass to Dustin Penner, but it hits off a Detroit player right to Jackman in the slot. His wrister hits off Hasek and bounces behind him in the net. It's Jackman's first career postseason goal. Teemu Selanne gets the second assist, his first point of the series.
10:19 - DET PENALTY - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. The Red Wings try to pull a fast one. The Ducks go on the power play for the first time.
3:29 - DETROIT GOAL - DAN CLEARY - J.S. Giguere tries to clear the puck from behind the net, but it's intercepted by Detroit's Chris Chelios along the right wing boards. He makes a perfect pass to Cleary waiting at the top of the crease, and he tips it past Giguere.
1:37 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - The ice barely has any scratches on it before Perry intercepts a Todd Bertuzzi pass in the Detroit zone. He turns toward the net and unleashes a wrister from the right circle that whistles past Dominik Hasek on the far side.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 4. Ducks fans will be happy to know that none of the goals from Game 3 carry over to tonight.
Phenomenal National Anthem performance from Dawn Wright.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA J.S. Giguere; DET Dominik Hasek
Starting Skaters: ANA Sean O'Donnell, Samuel Pahlsson, Scott Niedermayer, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; DET Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Danny Markov, Tomas Holmstrom
Scratches: ANA Sebastien Caron, Mark Hartigan, Chris Kunitz, George Parros, Andrew Miller, Chris Pronger, Aaron Rome, Ryan Shannon, Joe Motzko; DET Jimmy Howard, Matt Ellis, Josh Langfeld, Kyle Calder, Mathieu Schneider, Jiri Hudler, Derek Meech, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall
Ducks rookie center Ryan Carter and defenseman Ric Jackman will see their first action of the postseason tonight.
6 p.m. at Honda Center
TV: Versus Radio: AM 830
Unless it's the deciding game of a series, teams usually hate to use the term "must-win."
But this one is as close as they come.
The Ducks will need to put some pucks past Dominik Hasek to avoid going down 3-1 in the series.
Down 2-games-to-1 to the Red Wings after a 5-0 drubbing in Game 3 on Tuesday, the Ducks come back to their home arena tonight needing a win to even the series before it shifts back to Detroit.
And if coming back from that tough loss wasn't challenging enough, things got a little more difficult yesterday. That's when it was announced that standout defenseman Chris Pronger would be suspended for Game 4 after a hit to the head he made on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom in the second period of Game 3.
Pronger leads the Ducks with 12 points this postseason, including three goals.
Anaheim Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke, while expressing his respect for the NHL's process and league disciplinarian Colin Campbell, said the Ducks completely disagree with Campbell's decision.
"If you watch some of the other views, it looks like a dangerous, high hit. If you look at the end zone view, I think it shows best that Chris Pronger went to hit Tomas Holmstrom at a 45-degree angle from the boards," Burke said. "At no point is Chris delivering a hit toward the boards, a dangerous hit. He's coming in to finish a check at a 45-degree angle. Rob Niedermayer steps into the player (Holmstrom), pins him, you get a high finish."
Holmstrom had two goals and an assist in the Red Wings' Game 3 victory, but he had to leave the game midway through the second period to get 13 stitches to close two cuts on his forehead after Pronger and Niedermayer slammed into him almost simultaneously.
Orange Ducks towels spell out a special message for the team during their morning skate.
Holmstrom returned to begin the third period and assisted on the Red Wings' final goal.
Asked if he thought Pronger's suspension was just, Holmstrom said after practice Wednesday: "One game, it's the NHL's decision. If I'd gotten a concussion or maybe couldn't play anymore in the series, maybe it would be more.
"But I came back and that was probably fortunate for him."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, the Ducks' coach when they made the 2003 Stanley Cup finals, said Holmstrom's attitude is what the Red Wings are all about.
"You can cross-check him, you can smack him, you can do whatever you want. He's going to keep coming," Babcock said. "We plan on doing the same thing."
Burke said he appreciated the way Babcock handled the situation after Holmstrom was hurt, not dramatizing it and sending him back into the game.
The Ducks' GM mentioned some of the factors involved in Pronger's hit, including the fact that the defenseman is 6-foot-6 and Holmstrom is 6-1.
"I think if Rob Niedermayer doesn't come into this play, I'm not here (talking about it), there's no hearing, there's no issue," Burke said.
Pronger didn't speak with reporters.
"He's sour about it," Burke said. "That's why he's not talking to you guys. The league doesn't like us swearing. I don't want Chris to talk to anyone today."
Before the suspension was announced, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle was asked about the possibility of not having Pronger for the next game.
"Obviously he's a big part of our hockey club. But, again, we've had stretches through the season where he wasn't on our blue line," Carlyle said. "We'll move other people in, make some adjustments with our personnel. Other people will have to share those minutes."
Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek, who logged his second shutout of this year's playoffs and 14th of his career by making 29 saves in Game 3, expects the Ducks to play better.
"I definitely expect them to be better-prepared," he said. "They made a lot of mistakes, drew a lot of penalties and I'm sure they'll be determined not to do that again."
Babcock, asked if a player like Pronger can have a major impact on a game, said, "I think all the best players make a huge impact on the game. But if you think they (the Ducks) are going away just because of one guy. ...'
Game 5 of this series swings back to Detroit's Joe Louis Arena on Sunday at Noon (PDT). It will be aired on NBC.
Associated Press contributed to this report