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After dropping the first two games in Anaheim, the Ducks are in Dallas for Game 3 looking to get back in the series.
Anaheim must win four of the last five games to keep alive its hopes of repeating. Of the 280 teams that have gotten behind 2-0 in a seven-game series, 37 have won.
Rob Niedermayer Unavailable for Game 3
Carlyle would only say that Todd Marchant is “an option” to replace Niedermayer on the checking line with Samuel Pahlsson and Travis Moen. But Marchant did practice with that line the past two days.
Meanwhile, winger Corey Perry’s status remains uncertain, as he continues to recover from a right thigh laceration. Perry did skate with the Ducks this morning and was one of the four Anaheim players (including Bobby Ryan, Joe DiPenta and Marc-Andre Bergeron) to remain on the ice when the rest of the team had headed to the locker room. Carlyle indicated that Perry has not yet been cleared to play by Ducks team doctors, who are scheduled to arrive in Dallas today. “If he’s cleared,” Carlyle said, “that becomes a decision that we have to make.”
Our group has been in some waters before and we've had our fair share of adversity, not only in the playoffs previously but in this regular season," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We've been able to rally around one another and get things done. Our biggest game of the year is tomorrow and we have to be prepared to play the best game we've played so far."
A few Ducks veterans know first-hand what it’s like to buck those odds, and two of them don't have to think back too far to remember. Doug Weight was a part of the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes team that dropped Games 1 and 2 at home in their conference quarterfinal matchup with Montreal before storming back and winning four straight.
“It was similar," said Weight, who was in the lineup for last Saturday’s Game 2 after being a healthy scratch in the opener. "Montreal came into our building that year and won 6-1 in the first game. We lost in (double) overtime (6-5) in the second, but we were really down quite a bit going into the third period. A number of the boys got together after the game, and we mentioned that we'd been through the year, been through some ups and downs, and this was no different. We're looking at the same thing here now. It's definitely doable"
That same postseason, Pronger’s Edmonton Oilers paved the road to meeting those Hurricanes in the Final by taking down San Jose in the conference semis. They too lost the opening two games (though they were on the road in San Jose), and came back to win four straight to take that series and then defeat the Ducks in the conference final.
“I’m sure there are four or five guys on this team who can tell a story like that,” said Pronger following the Ducks’ Monday afternoon practice at a public rink in the town of Farmers Branch. “But it’s easier to think about the present moment than to talk about a series back in the day where we did this or we did that. Most veteran guys have been through those situations before in the playoffs where you don’t play your best, where you’re down, but you’re not out.”
The two games played in Anaheim were all about special teams. The Stars scored on 6-of-13 power plays, the Ducks were 1-for-9.
"We thought we had resurrected our penalty killing from the last 25 games or so. We were above 90 percent," Carlyle said. "It so happens in the first game they had four power play goals and we're reeling. ... We're going to make some adjustments and try some different things. I'm sure they will too. That's what the playoffs are all about."
Being the road team might actually help the Ducks - or, rather, hurt the Stars. Dallas has won only one of its last seven postseason games here; it was six straight until a Game 6 victory in the first round last year. Meanwhile, the trend in this season's playoffs has contradicted the traditional emphasis on home-ice advantage. Entering Monday, home teams had won 11 of 19 playoff games (.579).
Last season, they captured 44 of 80 (.550).
“I’ve never thought it was a big deal,” Stars center Mike Modano said. “Once, the puck drops, it’s the same, 50-50.”In last year's fizzle, the Stars went from a 12-2-2 roll to end the regular season to a 1-3 start to the playoffs. Although they forced a seventh game, they lost.
They went out in five games to Colorado in both '06 and '04. The '06 loss was especially disappointing because Dallas had come back from the lockout to win the division.