A tough 6-3 defeat to the Red Wings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals won't discourage the Ducks as they series heads back to Detroit. They know they'll have to win at least one game in Joe Louis Arena to move on in this series. But they've prevailed in hostile environments plenty of times this season -- and they've certainly done it in these playoffs.
A 4-3 triple overtime victory last Sunday at The Joe drew Anaheim even in this series, as Todd Marchant wristed home the game-winner 1:15 into the third extra session. It was just another in a long line of big road victories for a Ducks team that tied for third in the Western Conference during the regular season and before Game 1 of this series hadn't lost on the road in regulation since Feb. 26.
The Ducks kept that road success going in the postseason, taking the first two games of their series with the Sharks in San Jose, putting the Presidents' Cup winners in a hole from which they never recovered.
The Ducks find themselves in a different circumstance now against the No. 2 team in the West after a convincing win by the Red Wings on Thursday night. Marian Hossa had his first two goals (and points) of the series and Johan Franzen got the Wings going with two of his own in the first period.
Hossa broke a tie with two goals in a 3-minute span and the Ducks couldn't claw back. "It definitely feels good when you can finally put a puck in the net," Hossa said. "We had some great chances and played some good games, but the puck didn't go in. We tried to stay patient."
Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, such a stalwart throughout the postseason, was pulled for Jean-Sebastien Giguere after Detroit's fifth goal, by Mikael Samuelsson early in the third.
"We decided to rest Jonas Hiller in that situation," Carlyle said. "Giguere has been working diligently, and we felt it would be best to give him an opportunity to sharpen and hone in playoff-type action.
"With it being a three-goal lead, it made sense to do that and give him an opportunity to get his feet underneath him. If we decide to go in that direction, he's not coming in cold."
Although all signs point to Hiller being back in net in Game 5, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle would not show his hand.
"You guys better come to the warmup," Carlyle said.
Babcock isn't buying it.
"Oh, he'll be back," said Babcock, referring to Hiller. "Giggy's really good. Hiller has been fantastic."
Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski, who missed Game 4 with a lung contusion suffered two nights earlier, said it is “50-50″ whether he will be in the lineup Sunday. Wisniewski did practice with the Ducks in Detroit on Saturday afternoon and said the skate was, “Really good. We’ll see how things go over the night, and hopefully it will be a game-time decision."