Game 1 - Ducks 3, Ottawa 2
Ducks lead the series, 1-0
By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM - If Travis Moen's not careful, he's going to get a reputation as a playoff goal-scorer.
Moen, one of the stars of the Ducks' checking line, scored the game-winner with 2:51 remaining in the third period to give the Ducks a dramatic 3-2 victory over Ottawa and a 1-game-to-none lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Moen's game-winner with 2:51 left was his second of the postseason.
"I just saw the puck and it was kind of bouncing, and I got lucky and caught it on the way down" Moen said. "It was huge. Every kid dreams of scoring a goal to win the game in the Stanley Cup Finals. This is something special."
The goal gave the Ducks a 3-2 lead they clinged to through the final horn, despite a Chris Pronger hooking penalty with 44 seconds remaining.
Moen's goal was his fifth of the playoffs and his second game-winner, as he won Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals over Vancouver with one in overtime. Moen only had 11 goals during the regular season.
Moen and linemates Samuel Pahlsson and Niedermayer also helped shut down the prolific Ottawa offense, which led the NHL with 3.20 goals per game in the playoffs entering the series. The Senators only managed 20 shots on goal, with Anaheim's J.S. Giguere saving 18 of them. Neither of the two Ottawa goals came from their prolific top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza or Dany Heatley, which Moen and his line were assigned to stop.
"It was definitely a team effort," Moen said. "That line is extremely skilled. We got lucky tonight. We're happy to get the win and look forward to Game 2."
Instead, it was Ottawa's Mike Fisher who scored the series' first goal early in the first period. With Ottawa on the power play, Fisher took a shot from the left circle that hit Giguere and popped straight up in the air. Sean O'Donnell tried to bat it away but struck nothing but air, and it hit the ice and rolled over the line. Mike Comrie was originally given the goal when it looked like he might have touched it just before it crossed.
The Ducks evened it up at 10:55 on Andy McDonald's sixth goal of the playoffs, with help from rookie Drew Miller. Skating on the top line all game long, Miller put a hit on an Ottawa player that freed up the puck near the left wing boards. Teemu Selanne picked it up and shuttled it to McDonald, who wristed it over Sens goalie Ray Emery.
The 17,274 that jammed into Honda Center came alive, and got even louder on several Anaheim near-misses right after the goal. But the Ducks couldn't find the net again the rest of the period, nor in the second.
Ottawa, on the other hand, did get one in the second, capitalizing again on a Ducks penalty. At 4:36 into the period, with Ryan Getzlaf in the box for cross-checking, Wade Redden fired a slap shot that sailed past Giguere's right shoulder. Giguere's stick had been knocked from his hands seconds before the shot.
Getzlaf took to the air after his game-tying goal in the third period.
But Getzlaf finally got his 5:46 into the third period. He took the puck from Corey Perry at the right circle, shifted it to his backhand and flipped it through Emery. Getlaf slapped the glass in jubilation after the goal that tied the score 2-2.
Moen had a couple of chances in the third before finally denting the net. Halfway through the period he got ahead of the defense between the circles, made a nice move on Emery, but his shot was blocked by the second-year netminder. Then with 3:15 left, Moen's backhander from the slot was deflected and bounced barely over the crossbar.
That made the eventual game-winner a bit sweeter for Moen, the native of Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan, a town of just 75 people. Moen, it's been noted already, helps out on the family farm every offseason.
"This is huge," Moen said. "I've got lots of support from family and friends back home and about 15 of them were watching tonight. This is pretty exciting."
Game 2 of the series is back at Honda Center Wednesday night at 5 p.m.
The Ducks improved their overall home playoff record to 8-2 at home during the postseason. They have an overall home record of 21-7 since the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In addition, Anaheim is 7-0 in series-clinching games at home, including 3-0 this year (3-0 in 2003, 1-0 in 1997).
The Ducks improved their home Stanley Cup Final record to 4-0. The club has an overall record of 4-4 in Stanley Cup Final contests (3-4 in 2003 vs. NJ).
Ryan Getzlaf is tied for the team-lead in goals with six. He has earned 3-2=5 points in the last four games and 3-4=7 points in the last seven games. He has recorded points in seven of the Ducks 10 postseason home games (6-5=11). All six of his goals have come at home.
Travis Moen's game-winning goal was the second GWG of his playoff career (also, May 1 @ VAN in OT). He is now T-4th in the NHL in GWG.
Teemu Selanne has a four-game point streak (2-5=7).
With tonight's goal, Andy McDonald is tied for the team-lead in goals with six.
Rob Niedermayer has a two-game point streak (1-2=3) and 3-3=6 points in the last six games.
J.S. Giguere stopped 18-of-20 shots for his 10th win of the postseason in 13 starts. He has a 1.91 GAA and .930 SV% in the postseason, stopping 344-of-370 shots.
Tonight's attendance was 17,274, a standing-room only sellout crowd. Going back to the regular season, the Ducks now have a 32-game sellout streak.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks keep Ottawa away from the net over the closing seconds and the horn finally sounds. Anaheim wins 3-2 and takes a 1-game-to-none lead in the series.
19:16 - ANA PENALTY - Chris Pronger, 2 min. hooking. Ottawa finds life late.
17:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TRAVIS MOEN - Moen finds redemption. Rob Niedermayer skates behind the net and barely moves the puck to Moen in the slot. It's bouncing, but Moen still manages to strike it clean on the one-timer past Emery on his glove side. It's 3-2 Ducks and slightly loud in here.
16:45 - Moen's backhand shot from the slot is deflected and goes over Emery, but also the crossbar.
14:51 - Rob Niedermayer steals the puck shorthanded, skates cautiously across the blueline and shoots one that Emery has little problem with.
13:08 - ANA PENALTY - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Niedermayer hooks a Sens player against the boards in the corner. Now a big chance for Ottawa.
12:03 - The Sens kill it.
10:03 - OTT PENALTY - Andre Meszaros, 2 min. interference. Big chance for Anaheim.
9:36 - Samuel Pahlsson makes a nice pass to Moen in the slot. Moen makes a nice move on Emery, but his shot is nicely stonewalled by the netminder.
8:18 - McDonald pokes and prods at a loose puck that Emery can't cover and the Sens don't like it. They take a few shots at Mac before a scuffle breaks out between all of the skaters.
6:37 - OTT PENALTY - Christoph Schubert, 2 min. slashing. The Ducks look to get another one.
5:46 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Getzlaf takes the puck from Corey Perry at the right circle, skates toward net and shifts the puck to his backhand where he flips it through Emery. He slaps the glass in jubilation after the goal that ties the score 2-2. Second assists goes to Ric Jackman, who kept it in the zone before giving it to Perry.
2:58 - Andy McDonald's shot is narrowly saved by Emery's right leg pad, and Selanne tries to follow up on the loose puck but Emery's not having it.
0:00 - We're underway in the third, with the Ducks looking to tie it.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Ottawa gets a goal at 4:36 to take a 2-1 lead. The Ducks and Sens both attempt 10 shots on goal. Third period coming up in 19 minutes.
19:04 - One of the best Ducks chances of the period, a rush with McDonald and Selanne, is squashed when Selanne's shot from the right circle is knocked away by Emery.
17:54 - A Ducks shot from the slot hits Emery and bounds behind him, but it doesn't cross the line as he smothers it.
16:01 - McDonald tries to poke in a loose one near the left post, but Emery holds it.
15:27 - Corey Perry fires a shot from the right circle that Emery deflects away before Ottawa ices it.
13:03 - Both Brad May (off a Todd Marchant feed) and Shawn Thornton (loose puck) have shots right in front, but Emery stops them both.
9:05 - Emery clears the puck from the corner, right to Getzlaf, who fires it from the blueline over the net as Emery scrambles to get back in front of it.
8:59 - The Ducks kill both penalties and the crowd appreciates it.
6:59 - ANA PENALTY - Samuel Pahlsson. The Ducks face a 5-on-3 for 1:35.
6:34 - ANA PENALTY - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. tripping. Ottawa goes on another power play.
4:36 - OTTAWA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - WADE REDDEN - Redden fires a slapper from the blue line that sails past Giguere's right shoulder. Giguere's stick had been knocked from his hands seconds before the goal. Seconds before that, the Senators hit the post with a shot. Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza get the assists. It's 2-1 Sens.
3:52 - ANA PENALTY - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. cross checking. Ottawa is 1-2 on the power play.
0:59 - OTT PENALTY - Wade Redden, 2 min. hooking. And his face reddens after that one. Terrible.
0:00 - The puck drops for the second, with momentum on the Ducks' side.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - An Andy McDonald shot just before the horn is knocked away by Emery. The Ducks own the second half of the period, scoring a goal to match the early one by Ottawa. After a slow start, Anaheim outshoots the Senators 8-4. We'll be back.
18:05 - Rob Niedermayer nearly pokes in a loose puck in front, but Emery makes a nice kick save on it.
14:14 - ANA PENALTY - Ric Jackman, 2 min. roughing. Mike Comrie fires a shot at Giguere after the whistle and Jackman retaliates with a swipe at his head.
The Ducks have several near-misses on net following the goal and the crowd gets louder after each one. It's absolutely electric in here.
10:55 - ANAHEIM GOAL - ANDY MCDONALD - Rookie Drew Miller puts a hit on an Ottawa player to free up the puck near the left wing boards. Teemu Selanne picks it up and slides it to McDonald, who wrists it past Ray Emery. It's 1-1 and this crowd has lit up.
8:07 - The Ducks need to get it going. One shot on goal through the first eight minutes.
2:34 - OTT PENALTY - Dany Heatley, 2 min. tripping. First power play of the series for the Ducks. They rank seventh out of 16 teams in the playoffs with a 15.3 power play percentage. Ottawa ranks fourth in the league with 88.6 penalty kill success.
1:38 - OTTAWA GOAL (POWER PLAY) - MIKE FISHER (SCORING CHANGE) - Fisher takes a shot from the left circle that hits Giguere and pops straight up in the air. Sean O'Donnell tries to whack at it in mid-air but whiffs on it and it hits the ice and rolls over the line. It's 1-0 Ottawa early in the Final.
0:53 - ANA PENALTY - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. high sticking.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals at Honda Center. How good does that sound?
Starting Goaltenders: ANA J.S. Giguere; OTT Ray Emery
Starting Skaters: ANA Francois Beauchemin, Samuel Pahlsson, Scott Niedermayer, Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer; OTT Wade Redden, Daniel Alfredsson, Andrej Meszaros, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza
Scratches: ANA Sebastien Caron, Mark Hartigan, Chris Kunitz, George Parros, Joe DiPenta, Aaron Rome, Ryan Shannon, Joe Motzko, Ryan Carter; OTT Lawrence Nycholat, Brian McGrattan, Oleg Saprykin
GAME PREVIEW 5 p.m. at Honda Center
TV: Versus Radio: AM 830
The streamers have long been swept up from the Honda Center floor. The pop-pop-pop of fireworks and the screams have faded from fans' ears. It seems like an eternity since the Ducks hung on for dear life and held off the Detroit Red Wings in Game 6 to clinch a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
But finally, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is tonight.
The Ducks checking line of (L-R) Travis Moen, Rob Niedermayer and Samuel Pahlsson will be charged with slowing Ottawa's prolific top forward line.
The Senators played their way into the Final by dispatching each of their previous three opponents - Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Buffalo - in five games. The Ducks, of course, did the same thing in the opening two rounds against Minnesota and Vancouver, but needed a grueling six games against Detroit in the Western Conference Final.
"There are a lot of predictions," Anaheim GM Brian Burke said. "It's a Canadian-U.S. thing. A lot of the Canadian media are going to pick the Canadian team. That's fine. We have more Canadians on our team than Ottawa does. That's fine. But we're content to be the underdog in this. It's clear to us that we are (the underdogs). We like our team. And we're happy with our group. We're proud of this group and we're happy to be here."
The Ducks and Senators did not play in the regular season, but Anaheim is well aware of their firepower. Ottawa boasts the most prolific top forward line in these playoffs, as Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson have combined for 58 points, tops in the NHL.
"Obviously the amount of skill that they possess and the pace of the game that they can play is a challenge for anybody," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "They're the hottest line in the playoffs. They lead their team and all the offensive categories, plus people have described Alfredsson as probably the best player in the playoffs right now."
The Ducks counter with what has arguably been the top checking line in the league. Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer have done their best to shut down the top forwards from each of the Ducks' previous opponents. They've also thrown in some timely goal-scoring as well.
"It's not necessarily the commitment that we'll make to playing the Pahlsson lineup against them. There might be a little wrinkle thrown here and there. Obviously with matchups, they play a critical part in our game plan. And we'll try to get our best people who we think can do the job. And Pahlsson and Niedermayer and Moen have so far done that in the playoffs. But this is a new challenge with the group that they're going to face."
The Senators may have had a relatively easy road to the Final, but that doesn't mean they're taking anything for granted.
"We know we have to respect every team we play," coach Bryan Murray said. "The League is that close at this point in time. And we understand that Anaheim is more than a good team. They're a very good hockey team, big, strong group. Good goaltending. We know, to begin with, the audience, the fans will be into it big time. There will be lots of emotion in the building, and we know we have to play well early."
Scott Niedermayer will be playing in his fifth Final.
"Obviously it's intense out there," Niedermayer said. "You gotta work hard. It's not easy and I think, obviously, we have to be smart with our ice time. Obviously, when we're out there, when we're tired, get off, get your rest. If that means getting off earlier on a power play, stuff like that, those are decisions we have to make to try and stay fresh. When we get back on the ice, we're ready to go. Because it is tough and I think that there's a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to be smart about it."
The other standout Ducks defenseman, Chris Pronger, was in the Final just a year ago with Edmonton. He also said ice time and fatigue plays a roll.
"I think that's the biggest thing, just being smart about your minutes," Pronger said. "But at the end of the day, it seems to be the same old song and dance: When are you going to get tired? Aren't you supposed to be tired? I heard the same thing last year and the year before that and the year before that. You adapt, your body adapts to playing those types of minutes. You get used to it. But as Scott said, you've got to manage your game."
Both Niedermayer and Pronger will be out there to stop the Ottawa top line and bolster the Ducks penalty-killing unit.
"I think playing good defense is pretty much going to be the same thing against most good offensive players," Niedermayer said. "You know, they're a talented line. You give them time they're going to make plays, they're going to make plays even if you don't give them time. So you really have to be smart about your positioning. Obviously, you need all five guys to be playing smart and doing their jobs defensively because they're great at finding open players."
Goalie J.S. Giguere has been outstanding for the Ducks this postseason.
"I'm pretty excited about it," he said. "I think 2003 was more of a learning experience where we had nothing to lose. This year is a goal that we set at the beginning of the year that we have a chance to play for. But the excitement is the same. I know I'm going to have a lot of fun playing against Ottawa. It's going to be a great matchup. It should be a very fun game to watch and to play in."
Ottawa's Ray Emery shares with Giguere a lack of attention compared to the playoffs' more heralded netminders like Vancouver's Robert Luongo, Detroit's Dominik Hasek or New Jersey's Martin Brodeur. But he's been just as vital to Ottawa's success.
"As far as their goaltender, he seems to be taking on another step of maturing into a high-level goaltender," Carlyle said. "They're very, very confident. I think the thing that you have to look at from their standpoint - and I don't think that they really thought that Emery would be their goaltender at this point in the season. And, he's earned it. It's a tribute to the player and their organization for developing that player."
The Ducks earned the right to open this series at home with their 110 points in the regular season. Ottawa had 105 (though neither team earned their points against each other). That means the Ducks return to the scene where they last remember more than 17,000 fans loudly rejoicing their triumph over Detroit, six days ago.
"It was as loud as it's ever been, Game 6 against Detroit," Giguere said. "And I have seen this building be pretty wild. But Game 6, I've never seen that, personally, before.
"It's going to be unbelievable in this building."