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GAME: Anaheim Mighty Ducks at Calgary Flames.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Eastern/Western Conference quarterfinals; series tied 2-2.
TIME: Saturday, 10:00 p.m. EDT.
The most unlikely of players helped the Anaheim Mighty Ducks turn their best-of-7 series against the Calgary Flames into a best-of-3.
Defenseman Sean O'Donnell and his teammates now try to push the Western Conference defending champion Flames to the brink of elimination as their quarterfinal series continues with Game 5 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Anaheim makes the trip to the province of Alberta with momentum following Thursday's 3-2 overtime win. O'Donnell drilled a slap shot between the pads of Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff 1:36 into the extra period to square the series.
It was a rare goal for O'Donnell, who had just two this season and had not had a playoff marker since April 15, 2001, when he played for the New Jersey Devils.
"That was an interesting feeling, realizing that it got through his legs there and the game was over and that you were the one who shot it," said O'Donnell, who beat Kiprusoff from the top of the left circle for his fourth postseason goal in 48 lifetime games.
While O'Donnell was the hero, the Ducks would not have been in the position to win without solid games from two of their stars. Teemu Selanne scored his first goal of the series and Jean-Sebastien Giguere looked more like the goalie who won the 2003 Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs when he backstopped Anaheim within one win of the Stanley Cup.
Giguere stopped 25 shots and effectively handled the crowd of Flames in front of the net.
The Ducks have won just once in their last six games at Calgary, but it was a 4-3 win in Game 2 that knotted the series at one win each.
The Flames, though, have reason to be optimistic as captain Jarome Iginla appears to have found his postseason form. The right wing - who had 13 goals and 22 points in 26 playoff games in 2004 - netted a pair of third-period goals to help Calgary erase a 2-0 deficit and picked up the slack for Kristian Huselius, who was held without a point Thursday for the first time in the series.
Two of the four games have gone to overtime, and three have been decided by one goal, leaving Selanne to figure the series likely will go the full seven games.
"You get one punch, you give one punch. It's all even now," said Selanne. "And when we go to Calgary, it's going to be a huge Game 5. . . It's like a saloon fight."
The series will return to the Arrowhead Pond for Game 6 on Monday.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Mighty Ducks - 98 points; 6th seed. Flames - 103 points; 3rd seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Mighty Ducks - Francois Beauchemin, 2 goals; Scott Niedermayer, 3 assists and 4 points; Joffrey Lupul, 11 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 3 goals and 6 points; four with 3 assists; Darren McCarty and Rhett Warrener, 8 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Mighty Ducks - Power play: 11.1 percent (3 for 27). Penalty killing: 83.3 percent (25 for 30). Flames - Power play: 16.7 percent (5 for 30). Penalty killing: 88.9 percent (24 for 27).
GOALTENDERS: Mighty Ducks - Giguere (2-1, 0 SO, 3.31 GAA); Ilya Bryzgalov (0-1, 0, 1.71). Flames - Kiprusoff (2-2, 0, 2.39); Brian Boucher (no appearances)
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: The teams split the four-game season series by winning their home games. Kiprusoff was stellar in Calgary's wins, stopping 31 of 32 shots for a 3-1 victory Feb. 8 and handling all 32 shots for a 3-0 win on April 11. The Mighty Ducks won the season finale for both teams, 4-3 on April 17. Anaheim's Andy McDonald and Calgary's Daymond Langkow scored three goals each in the series.
|Apr 21 '06||ANA 1 at CGY 2 - OT|
|Apr 23 '06||ANA 4 at CGY 3|
|Apr 25 '06||CGY 5 at ANA 2|
|Apr 27 '06||CGY 2 at ANA 3 - OT|
|Apr 29 '06||ANA 2 at CGY 3|
|May 01 '06||CGY 1 at ANA 2|
|May 03 '06||ANA 3 at CGY 0|
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