By Adam Brady
ANAHEIM – In the days leading up to their Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Dallas Stars, the Ducks stressed the need to stay disciplined and limit their penalties. Thursday night’s Game 1 was the complete opposite of what they had in mind.
Anaheim took 11 penalties in the game and gave up four power play goals in the first 40 minutes on their way to a 4-0 trouncing by the Stars in front of a sold-out Honda Center crowd that didn’t find much reason to wave the orange towels that greeted them on their seats as they arrived.
|The Ducks took 11 penalties and allowed the Stars to convert on 4 of 7 power plays.
Steve Ott, Loui Eriksson, Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow each had goals for the Stars as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the series.
"Our penalty kill really did not do a good job," said Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer. "There were a lot of things that weren’t as good as they should have been. We did take some bad penalties. They seemed to find a way to score almost at will. We have to do better as penalty killers. We have to answer the bell better."
The Ducks and the Honda Center fans began the first half of the opening period with plenty of energy, an emotion that was drastically altered when Dallas bruiser Ott was credited with the first of two power play goals in the period, 11:25 into it. After Travis Moen was sent off for an elbow to the head of Matt Niskanen, Ott barely got his stick on a Stephane Robidas shot from near the right wing wall and redirected it under Giguere for the first goal of the series.
Moen’s penalty was one of five in the period for the Ducks, and Dallas converted on both of their power plays in the session. The second came after a Brian Sutherby cross-checking minor, as Eriksson took a Brad Richards pass in the slot and sent it past Giguere, who tried to knock it away with the blocker.
Things only got worse for the Ducks in the second period, as they took five more penalties and watched Dallas dent the net on two more power plays. A Ryan Getzlaf roughing call just 2:04 into the period gave way to a Lehtinen strike just before the penalty expired. Lehtinen briefly corralled a Brad Richards behind-the-net pass before letting go of a wrist shot that flew over the shoulder of a frozen Giguere.
The Stars essentially put the game away with 2:48 left in the session when Morrow streaked toward the slot in front of Chris Pronger and one-timed a pass from Ribeiro into an open left half of the net. The Stars had again gone on the man advantage when Francois Beauchemin took a high-sticking penalty just eight seconds prior.
"Overall, I can’t say that anybody played well," said Ducks winger Teemu Selanne. "The frustration hit there. You can’t do that. You have to be smarter than that. Obviously, we have to be better. There’s no question."
The one saving grace for Anaheim was their ability to hold Dallas without a goal over the final period, though that was little consolation for a Ducks team that generated hardly any offense of its own and was outshot 37-23 in the game.
Giguere’s struggles in net were the antithesis of his past playoff performances, as he compiled a career postseason record of 31-13 and a goals against average of 1.96 coming into the game. On the other side of the rink, Dallas goalie Marty Turco saved all 23 Ducks shots on his way to his fourth career playoff shutout. All three of the prior blankings came in last year’s playoffs, as Turco had a 1.30 goals against average, despite going just 3-4 in Dallas’ first-round exit.
The loss was the first in three games to the Stars for Anaheim. Dallas won five of the first six in the regular season series, before Anaheim came back with two in a row over the last month.
The Ducks will look to get back on track when they play a now-crucial Game 2 back at Honda Center on Saturday night.
"It’s going to take a lot better effort on our part in two nights to try and get a win," Niedermayer said. "That has to be our focus now. There’s obviously nothing we can do about what just happened other than improve on it in two days."
Added Selanne: "There’s a reason why these games are best-of-seven. Obviously, it was not pretty tonight, but we’ll come back tomorrow, work on a couple of things and go from there. I want to see a hungrier team on Saturday."
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks start off the series on a lousy note, giving up four power play strikes in falling 4-0 to Dallas. We'll be back here Saturday for Game 2.
19:55 - As the seconds tick down, a few in the crowd offer their boos.
19:48 - Beauchemin is wide open for a slap shot one-timer and nearly whiffs it. Pretty much the story of the night.
18:44 - Getzlaf slickly redirects a Bobby Ryan
pass from the wing, but Turco does a nice job to glove it.
16:57 - Marchant has a nice spinning shot off a Selanne pass. Saved.
A nice-looking blonde is shown on the video board during the timeout. It's sad to say, but it's one of the only highlights of the night.
15:45 - ANA Penalty - Chris Kunitz, 2 min. roughing and DAL Penalty - Niklas Hagman, 2 min. roughing. Both Kunitz and Hagman get into it after the whistle and get punished for it.
15:10 - Niedermayer has the puck stolen from him (rare), then turns around and breaks up a pass (not so rare).
14:20 - Morrow is alone in front of Giguere, but mercifully backhands it wide.
We go to the TV timeout and the crowd looks like it was just ordered to evacuate. Thanks for stopping by, guys.
10:50 - This is not good.
As if things hadn't already been strange enough tonight, the highlights from other games reveal that Shane Hnidy scored for Boston tonight against Montreal.
7:25 - The Ducks appear to be using this opportunity to drill as many Dallas Stars as possible.
5:30 - This is bad. This is really bad.
3:41 - Pronger hits Joel Lundqvist hard enough in the corner that he actually knocks the glass off the wall and gets pushed into the crowd a bit. There's something you don't see every day.
3:07 - Bertuzzi hits a hard slap shot on the rush that Turco gloves. He's been solid, if not spectacular, so far tonight.
1:38 - Giguere makes a nice kick save on a Dallas point shot by Daley (I think).
0:01 - In case you forgot, the Stars are on the power play. Has there been a time in this game when they haven't
been on the power play?
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks needing a miracle.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Just when you think it can't get any worse for Anaheim, it does, as they give up two more power play goals, digging a 4-0 hole for themselves. The Honda Center crowd throws boos at them as they head to the dressing room. Just an awful Game 1 so far.
19:50 - ANA Penalty - Kent Huskins, 2 min. playing with a broken stick. Huskins' stick breaks in half, and he still tries to use it to sweep the puck out of the zone.
The Dallas execs sitting next to us don't understand the concept of not cheering in the press box. Shut it, boys.
19:20 - Within seconds of each other, Kunitz and Getzlaf both try shots from behind the net off the back of Turco to no avail.
17:22 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BRENDEN MORROW - Mike Ribeiro receives the puck underneath the right circle while sliding backward toward the corner. He sees Morrow streaking toward the top of the crease and feeds him for the open one-timer just in front of Pronger, who couldn't get into position to block it. It's the fourth PP goal for Dallas and it's 4-0 Stars. Meanwhile, this crowd has been shocked into near silence.
17:14 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin. 2 min. high sticking. Giguere saves and then tries to cover a Boucher shot on the rush, and Boucher runs into him as he tries to smother him. On the play, Beauchemin takes the high stick minor.
17:05 - Kunitz feeds Getzlaf in the slot, but Getzlaf can't get a lot on the one-timer and it trickles wide.
16:06 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. roughing and DAL Penalty - Steve Ott, 2 min. roughing. After that scramble in front of the net, Bertuzzi and Ott go at it pretty hard and both take penalties. Carter, meanwhile, doesn't look like he's too happy with what's going on and throws a punch from a sitting position.
16:00 - As the puck bounces around the Dallas net, neither Carter nor Bertuzzi can get it through, despite a couple of efforts.
15:06 - I'm telling you right now, the Ducks desperately need one here.
15:06 - DAL Penalty - Phillippe Boucher, 2 min. tripping. Bertuzzi gets tripped just as he puts a backhander from a bad angle on Turco. During the delayed whistle, Huskins nearly gets one through from the slot.
13:20 - Travis Moen becomes the latest Duck to put a late, hard hit on a Dallas player.
We're in a bit of a delay as the glass in the corner of the Dallas zone needs to be fixed and is taking a while. I think this will be a major turning point in this hockey game.
10:17 - Getzlaf absolutely plasters Nicklas Grossman into the glass, providing a loud slam that the crowd loves.
9:20 - First shot since that point.
9:02 - The Ducks have been outshot 15-0 since the 10:14 mark of the first period.
6:50 - The Ducks look like they might get one back on the power play as Bertuzzi skates in hard and gives Selanne a pass on the doorstep. But the first attempt is saved and Selanne can't get it through Turco as he hacks away.
5:05 - DAL Penalty - Mike Ribeiro, 2 min. interference. Ribeiro takes out Marchant as Richards skates it into the zone.
4:08 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider, 2 min. interference. The penalties are getting ridiculous for the Ducks, as they've already given up three on the power play. This is very reminiscent of the team's first few months of the season.
3:58 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - JERE LEHTINEN - Brad Richards feeds Lehtinen in the slot from behind the net, and Lehtinen controls it for a half-second before letting go of a wrist shot that Giguere hardly moves on as it flies over his right shoulder. It's 3-0 Dallas.
2:04 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. roughing. Getzlaf passes Bertuzzi and Schneider in the penalty box doorway, as they're leaving as he arrives.
Scoring change on the first Dallas goal (see below), as they determine that Ott tipped it. That helps explain why Giguere couldn't play it.
0:00 - We're underway in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The first postseason period since the Ducks beat Ottawa in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final goes much differently for the Ducks. They give up goals on the first two power play opportunities and trail it 2-0. Dallas with have 1:15 left on their third power play when we come back.
19:14 - ANA Penalties - Teemu Selanne
, Mathieu Schneider and Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. each roughing and DAL Penalty - Steve Ott and Phillippe Boucher, 2 min. each roughing - Selanne takes a shot in the corner from Boucher, who flips Selanne to the ice, and Selanne doesn't like it. He goes right after Boucher as the puck heads the other way and gives him two hands to the face. The two start to go at it, Boucher slashing Selanne in the shoulder at one point, before Bertuzzi jumps in and lays into Boucher. Ott gets involved and gets the roughing call tacked on. Schneider heads to the locker room with the period nearly over. It's a power play for Dallas and they're already 2 for 2.
17:34 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - LOUI ERIKSSON - As the Ducks scramble to get in position on the penalty kill, Brad Richards feeds Eriksson in the slot and he lets go of a wrister that Giguere tries to knock away with the blocker, but he can't do it. It's 2-0 Dallas and the energy has drained out of this place temporarily.
16:34 - Giguere does a nice job to step out on a Dallas shot, then dives on the puck to freeze it like Priscilla Presley's face.
16:01 - ANA Penalty - Brian Sutherby, 2 min. cross checking. Sutherby gets a Dallas player in the back and he goes down hard.
Anaheim leads the NHL with 21 wins after giving up the first goal of the game. Second is Dallas with 20.
11:25 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - STEVE OTT (SCORING CHANGE FROM EARLIER) - Stephane Robidas takes a pass off the wall and puts a relatively soft shot on net that ticks off Steve Ott's stick and bounces under and through Giguere. It's a 1-0 Dallas lead.
10:22 - ANA Penalty - Travis Moen, 2 min. elbowing. Moen rams Matt Niskanen into the board and also throws an elbow off his helmet.
9:46 - Kunitz nabs the puck and heads up right wing, snapping off a shot that hits off Turco and trickles behind him, but just wide of the net. The crowd is definitely amped.
9:09 - Scott Niedermayer makes a rare gaffe, losing the puck in the Ducks zone, allowing Richards to grab it and take a shot alone in the slot that Giguere saves.
8:57 - Marchant looks to have some room as he charges the net, but holds it way too long as Turco lunges out and smothers it, sending Marchant into the wall.
7:26 - Schneider puts a hard shot on net that bounces off Turco. Selanne corralls the rebound, but Turco throws out the leg pad to knock it away.
6:05 - DAL Penalty - Mike Modano, 2 min. interference. Bobby Ryan
's stick gets pulled out of his hands, and it's not until he lets the official know that the whistle is blown. Steve Ott gives Ryan a little shove after the whistle.
TV reveals that the Dallas defensemen combined have 128 career playoff games to their credit. Chris Pronger? 128 alone.
5:23 - Sutherby puts a shot on net that Turco gloves and the Stars think Ryan and May are too close to their goalie, so they scrap a bit.
4:15 - This crowd is into it. They just cheered as the Ducks touched up for icing.
3:03 - Beauchemin smashes a slap shot on net that's deflected in front, but also deflects off Turco.
2:15 - Morrow makes a pretty pass across the top of the crease to Ribeiro, who can't make good contact on the swinging one-time try.
1:15 - Brenden Morrow sets the tone early by giving Sammy Pahlsson a hard shot and knocking him down. Sammy doesn't like it, but the official steps in.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Feels great to write that.
7:11 p.m. - Another phenomenal rendition of the anthem by Dawn Wright (probably the best of the year), as the Ducks fans sing loud enough to drown out the yells of "Stars" during the song by Dallas fans.
7:09 p.m. - An unbelievably cool video montage showing the highs and lows of the season goes up on the screen to the tune of Queen's "I Want It All." If you don't get chills from this one, it's time to rethink things. Then the crowd goes crazy and waves their brand new orange towels as the charged-up Ducks come out on the ice.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters - ANA Todd Bertuzzi, Ryan Getzlaf
, Todd Marchant
, Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger; DAL - Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Steve Ott
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, Corey Perry
, George Parros
, Joe DiPenta, Doug Weight; DAL - Tobias Stephan, Krys Barch, Brad Winchester, Antti Miettinen, Mark Fistric, Nolan Baumgartner, Sergei Zubov