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GAME: Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference finals; Oilers lead 3-1.
TIME: Saturday, 9 p.m. EDT.
With desperation came success for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who again look to extend the Western Conference finals as they host the Oilers at Arrowhead Pond.
The Ducks came out determined to continue their offensive rhythm and follow-up Thursday's four-goal third period in a 5-4 loss in Game 3. Anaheim carried play from the outset, unloading 25 first-period shots and scoring three goals in a 6-3 romp that brought the series back to California.
"We just found a way these last two games to score nine goals. That in itself is a hurdle that we have overcome," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle, who added, "we've found a crack in the armor."
Dustin Penner scored the first two goals for the Ducks, who took out their series-long frustration on Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson after scoring just six goals in the first three games despite taking 104 shots. Joffrey Lupul also scored two goals, including one with 1:38 to play in the second period.
"A real goal scorer's shot," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said of Lupul's goal that made it 5-3.
Carlyle also decided to start Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the first time since April 29, sensing the stunning run of rookie Ilya Bryzgalov ended in Game 3's loss after he allowed five goals on 22 shots. Giguere, who backstopped the Ducks to a seven-game loss to New Jersey in the 2003 Stanley Cup finals, made just six saves on the first nine shots before stopping the final 14 to finish with 20 saves.
"After I gave up the third goal I just told myself I have nothing to lose here and it's just another hockey game," he said. "I was a little bit nervous, I won't lie. It's been a little while since I played."
MacTavish is hoping the first period served as a wake-up call to his players to return to the tight defensive style that has the Oilers on the brink of their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since 1990.
"We got a lesson," he said. "I think we've been seduced into getting away from our aggressiveness because we've had success sitting back.
MacTavish and his players are not worried about is Roloson, who saw his goals-against average jump from 2.08 to 2.29 despite finishing with 40 saves.
"It was like a shooting gallery out there on Rolie in the first period," said Oiler defenseman Chris Pronger. "He did an unbelievable job to keep it at 3-0."
Roloson also seems unfazed by the loss, adding, "You can't do anything about it and it doesn't do you any good to focus on it. You don't live in the past. Right now I'm just focusing on the next game."
Marc-Andre Bergeron, Ryan Smyth and Georges Laraque scored second-period goals in Thursday's loss, with Laraque netting his first playoff goal since April 13, 2003.
No playoff team that has taken a 3-0 series lead this year has been forced to play a sixth game.
If the Ducks stave off elimination again, Game 6 will be Monday at Edmonton.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Oilers - 95 points; 8th seed; beat Detroit Red Wings 4-2, quarterfinals; beat San Jose Sharks 4-2, semifinals. Mighty Ducks - 98 points; 6th seed; beat Calgary Flames 4-3, quarterfinals; beat Colorado Avalanche 4-0, semifinals.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Fernando Pisani, 9 goals; Pronger, 13 assists and 17 points; Georges Laraque, 27 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Lupul, 9 goals and 31 PIM; Todd Marchant, 10 assists; Teemu Selanne, 13 points.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 21.1 percent (19 for 90). Penalty killing: 88.4 percent (91 for 103). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 11.0 percent (10 for 91). Penalty killing: 87.8 percent (79 for 90).
GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Roloson (11-5, 1 SO, 2.29 GAA); Jussi Markkanen (no appearances). Mighty Ducks - Bryzgalov (6-4, 3, 1.46); Giguere (3-2, 3.68).
|May 27 '06||EDM 2 at ANA 1||R. Torres|
|May 25 '06||ANA 6 at EDM 3||R. Salei|
|May 23 '06||ANA 4 at EDM 5||F. Pisani|
|May 21 '06||EDM 3 at ANA 1||F. Pisani|
|May 19 '06||EDM 3 at ANA 1||A. Hemsky|