By Adam Brady
DALLAS – Faced with a Game 3 they absolutely had to win, a change of scenery led to a welcome change of pace for the Anaheim Ducks.
|The Ducks scored three in the first period to pave the way to a 4-2 victory in Game 3.
Boosted by two Chris Pronger goals, including the last of a three-goal spurt in the opening period, the Ducks changed the face of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series with a 4-2 triumph over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. But it wasn’t easy for the Ducks, who were forced to hold on for dear life by withstanding a two-goal surge in the third period and denying the Stars on a near-devastating four-minute power play.
The win was crucial for a Ducks team that had played far beneath its capabilities in 4-0 and 5-2 losses in the first two games of the series at Honda Center. "This is a veteran group and we understood the liabilities of the first couple of games, th e mistakes we made," Pronger said. "We did a pretty good job in the first 30 or 35 minutes of correcting it and then kind of got away from it. Going into Game 4, we need to realize what was successful for us tonight, what we did well, and try to build on the positive."
In a 180-degree departure from the first two games of the series in Anaheim, it was the Ducks power play that dominated early this time, as Pronger connected twice on the man advantage in the first two periods. The first came with 5:29 in the first, as Todd Bertuzzi made a feed to the top of the crease that center Ryan Carter whiffed on, but a pinching Pronger was right behind him to bat the one-timer inside the far post.
The next Anaheim strike was much more vintage Pronger, as he smashed a one-timer from the point off a Teemu Selanne feed that sailed past Stars goalie Marty Turco on the glove side. That gave Anaheim a 4-0 lead that rendered an already-quiet American Airlines Center crowd of 18,532 even tamer.
"We couldn't afford to have a weak start to the game in their building," said Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. "We knew they would have energy, so we wanted to start strong. Fortunately, we were able to score some goals. It makes your life easier that way."
The relative crowd silence after the 4-0 Ducks outburst was probably a welcome reaction for the Stars, who were booed off the ice after a first period in which they gave up three Anaheim goals on just six shots and came up empty on 10 attempts of their own. Several of those were denied by crucial stops by Giguere, who over the first two periods was much better than in Games 1 and 2. Giguere stopped 31 of 33 Stars shots in the game, while the Ducks were only able to put 15 on Turco.
|Pronger had two power play goals and an assist on the first Anaheim score.
"You can look at the difference in shots and say they outplayed us, but shots on goal don’t always tell the story," Pronger said. They were throwing a lot at the net, but Jiggy made some great stops to keep it to just two goals."
Giguere proved fallible in the third period, as Brenden Morrow found paydirt twice on the power play in a span of 1:39 to trim the Anaheim lead to 4-2. Morrow was the beneficiary of two Mike Modano assists, one a pass across the slot for a one-timer and the other a shot that caromed off Giguere to a waiting Morrow. It looked as if the Stars were primed to cut it even closer when Mathieu Schneider took a 4-minute high sticking minor for cutting Morrow with his blade.
But some scrambling on the penalty kill, coupled with several key Giguere saves kept Dallas from finding the net over those precarious four minutes. Dallas didn’t threaten much after that as the Ducks played successful defensive hockey over the final minutes.
"They had just scored their two goals and were gaining momentum," Pronger recalled. "We needed to clamp down and make sure we weren't allowing those seam passes and those cross-crease passes. That's where they've been getting most of their really good scoring chances, especially on the power play. It was just a matter of us tightening up the box."
Before Pronger’s goal to end the Anaheim scoring burst in the first, Todd Marchant and Ryan Getzlaf had their first goals of the playoffs. Marchant, filling in on the Ducks’ vaunted checking line in place of injured Rob Niedermayer (concussion-like symptoms), made his presence felt early by punching in a Travis Moen pass from the corner 6:39 into the game.
|Giguere had 31 saves, including several crucial stops during a four-minute power play in the third.
Three-and-a-half minutes later, Getzlaf found the puck on his stick as Dallas’ Mattias Norstrom made a weak effort to send it out of the corner. Getzlaf darted straight for the net, and made a nice move to his backhand before flipping it past Turco.
The three goals in the first was out of character for the Ducks, as they had only managed two goals the entire series, both in a 5-2 loss in Game 2 at Honda Center.
The Dallas loss continued a recent trend of home playoff struggles for the Stars, who have now dropped seven of their last eight postseason games at American Airlines Center. Meanwhile, the Ducks became the 12th team in the first 25 games of these Stanley Cup Playoffs to win on the road.
Suddenly very much in a series that has headed down a new track, the Ducks battle the Stars again at American Airlines Arena on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Anaheim has guaranteed itself a Game 5, which will be held the very next night at Honda Center.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks hang by a thread in the third, as Dallas cuts into their 4-0 lead with two Brenden Morrow goals and nearly get closer on a four-minute power play. Anaheim wins it 4-2 and cuts the Dallas lead in the series to 2-1.
19:57 - The Ducks clear it out of the danger zone one final time as the clock runs down and the crowd grows quiet.
18:30 - The Dallas net is empty as Turco hustles to the bench.
17:00 - We hit the three-minute mark with the Ducks playing mostly defensive hockey at this point.
14:39 - The time runs out on the Schneider double minor as the Ducks get an absolutely gargantuan
14:28 - Giguere makes a big stop on a redirect try, and a Ducks player flings the puck out of the much in front of the net into the bench area. The crowd wants delay of game, but they don't get it. They're not pleased.
14:06 - Giguere makes a stop on a Robidas shot from the point, and even better, no rebound.
13:30 - Pronger does a nice job to slap the puck out of there from deep in the corner.
I think I'm going to throw up.
10:39 - ANA Penalty - Mathieu Schneider (double minor), 4 min. high sticking. Schneider draws blood on a Stars player. It's scary time now, Ducks fans.
10:10 - Mathieu Schneider fakes a shot, then puts another on net that's blocked before it gets there.
This crowd is definitely back in this game.
8:39 - Ribeiro is right in the crease ready to do damage on a loose puck, but Giguere pounces on it, as Ribeiro goes flailing off an O'Donnell check.
7:22 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BRENDEN MORROW - Modano assists Morrow for the second time in less than two minutes. Modano flings a shot from the left circle that caroms off Giguere to a wide-open Morrow, who bats it into the wide open net. It's 4-2 Ducks now and we've got a whole new hockey game now.
6:53 - ANA Penalty - Brad May, 2 min. slashing. May's stick is broken in half, and he abandons it and makes a diving push of the puck out of the zone with his gloved hand to get the whistle. Unfortunately, another power play for Dallas.
5:43 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - BRENDEN MORROW - Mike Ribeiro throws a pass through the slot to Mike Modano in the right circle. He quickly feeds it across to a waiting Morrow, who one-times it in the empty left half of the net. It's 4-1 Ducks, and this crowd is back into it.
5:10 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Getzlaf
, 2 min. tripping. Fourth power play for the Stars, who are 0-3 tonight.
4:08 - Turco goes down on his tummy trying to play a Ryan Carter
slap shot, and the puck bounces to Getzlaf, who isn't in position to shoot it and instead kind of pokes it to Turco.
1:53 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. diving and DAL Penalty - Mattias Norstrom, 2 min. holding. Not sure about the diving penalty. If I'm guessing correctly, Brian Hayward on the Ducks telecast is complaining about the contradiction of handing out an obstruction penalty and a diving penalty on the same play.
1:39 - Getzlaf makes a pass to the doorstep that hits off Norstrom (and possibly Selanne) and nearly crosses the stripe before Turco smothers it.
0:32 - Giguere is way out of position as Ott comes from around the net and tries a wraparound as he's falling to the ice. But it slides across the blue paint way wide.
0:00 - Here we go in the third, the Ducks gripping onto a 4-0 lead.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - Pronger gives the Ducks one more to push them to a 4-0 lead after two periods. Things are looking up for the Ducks.
19:45 - Brad May takes a hard shot in the back from little Stephane Robidas as May waits for a puck to come down out of the air. May didn't like it, but no payback.
16:42 - The Ducks finish off the penalty kill. A huge one, since there was almost a vibe in the building that the Stars were going to get one on that power play. They're 0-3 tonight.
16:40 - Hagman gets a feed right on the doorstep, but with pressure on him, sends it way over the net.
15:15 - Sammy Pahlsson goes from one end of the ice to another to perfectly cut off an angle behind the Ducks net on the penalty kill and give Pronger a chance to clear it the length of the sheet. Tremendous.
14:37 - ANA Penalty - Todd Bertuzzi, 2 min. tripping. First penalty of the period for the Ducks, with 5:23 left. Much better discipline tonight for the NHL penalty minute leaders.
13:20 - George Parros
handles the puck for one of the first times today. You've hardly noticed that this is his first game of the series.
12:28 - The Ducks still have just 10 shots on goal, to Dallas' 17. But the Ducks lead in the most important category.
11:35 - Giguere inexplicably falls down while Beauchemin holds the puck behind the net, catching himself with his hands. It's one of those things where you trip over a crack in the sidewalk and hope no one noticed. Unfortunately for Giguere, several hundred fans sitting around him did notice.
11:00 - Hagman tries to turn and put a shot on net, but Getzlaf nicely takes it away.
10:45 - Bertuzzi tries to flip the puck along the wall, but instead sends it into the Ducks bench. Not cool, bro.
I stand corrected on that earlier post. They DO have a Kiss Cam here. Didn't do much for me though. But after it's over, they show a random couple who are not on Kiss Cam, but they kiss anyway, just before a random Ducks fan behind them drops an orange Ducks towel into the shot behind their heads. There they are!
8:41 - Weight gets in deep and puts a shot on Turco, then gathers a rebound and tries to score it off his back from behind the cage. Got to like Weight tonight.
7:25 - The Ducks get in deep on Turco, but he knocks it away. Kunitz's raised arm to avoid contact almost looks like a goal celebration.
7:02 - DAL Penalty - Trevor Daley, 2 min. delay of game. Spell Daley's name "Delay" on this one, as he gets the Stars' second straight delay of game penalty with the Ducks still on the power play. It's another 5 on 3 for a few seconds.
5:34 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - CHRIS PRONGER - The giant defenseman gets his second of the game, after taking a feed down low from Selanne and ripping a one-timer from just inside the blue line that sneaks in on the good side of the right post. Kunitz's screen in front of Turco helped a bit. Give Getzlaf the second assist for getting it to Selanne, the second point of the game for Getzy. It's 4-0 Anaheim.
5:12 - DAL Penalty - Matt Niskanen, 2 min. delay of game. Niskanen tosses the puck over the glass. Huge opportunity for Anaheim.
The Dallas P.A. announcer's voice is so deep, it sounds like when you play a tape on a recorder that's running low on batteries. Or for you older folk, like playing a 45 RPM record at 33 RPM speed.
4:26 - DAL Penalty - Stephane Robidas, 2 min. tripping. The Ducks go on their second power play, after scoring on their first.
3:05 - Barnes tries the wraparound and it bounces off the skate of Ott, just wide of the right post.
2:54 - Brandon Crombeen gets the feed on the rush behind the D, but Giguere slides out to deny his redirect try.
0:03 - Dallas is still on the power play from the O'Donnell hooking call.
0:00 - We're off and running in the second, the Ducks leading 3-0 and the crowd trying to get their Stars back into this thing.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - More boos rain down from the Dallas fans with incredibly short memories as the horn sounds on a glorious first period for the Ducks. They only take six shots (to Dallas' 10), but connect on three of them, as Marchant, Getzlaf and Pronger dent the net. It's 3-0 Ducks and things are looking completely in this series different right now.
19:56 - As the seconds wind down in the period, the crowd shows their displeasure by the Dallas effort on the power play. Should have come to Anaheim, guys.
19:03 - ANA Penalty - Sean O'Donnell, 2 min. hooking and Chris Kunitz, 2 min. roughing and DAL Penalty - Trevor Daley, 2 min. roughing. Ott takes a spill in the slot and the crowd wants a penalty. Seconds later, the Ducks and Stars get testy in the corner, probably spurred on by Ott.
16:20 - Selanne dogs Robidas like an actual defensive forward, and actually causes the little d-man to give up the puck. Tremendous.
During the timeout, they have the "Flex Cam" where people are instructed to flex their biceps when the camera is on them. Something wrong with the Kiss Cam, guys? It's like someone decided Kiss Cam wasn't macho enough and thought, "What could we come up with instead that would be way TOO macho?"
14:31 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - CHRIS PRONGER - Todd Bertuzzi receives the puck from Doug Weight in the corner with his back to the glass. He makes a feed to the top of the crease that Ryan Carter actually whiffs on, but a pinching Pronger (to Carter's left) is right there to one-time it inside the left post. Pronger lets out a whail (strange because he's so shy) as the Ducks take a very early 3-0 lead.
13:38 - DAL Penalty - Niklas Hagman, 2 min. hooking. Hagman takes out his frustration with a hooking minor.
13:10 - Niklas Hagman gets a headman feed that puts him behind the defense. He's 1-on-1 with Giguere, but his fake to the backhand and forehand shot is thwarted by the Anaheim goalie.
During a break in the action, they play the scene from Hoosiers where the players start clapping in unison to get pumped up. Great movie. My dad would definitely approve.
10:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - RYAN GETZLAF - Dallas' Mattias Norstrom tries to get the puck weakly out of the corner just before taking a shot from Brad May. It's intercepted by Getzlaf, who goes hard to the net with it, moving from his right to his left. He makes a move to the backhand before flipping it past Turco. It's 2-0 Ducks on the unassisted tally, the first goal of the playoffs for Getzlaf. How much better does a two-goal lead feel?
9:40 - The Ducks hold it in the Dallas zone and this crowd is getting restless with it.
7:48 - Ryan Carter
and Joel Lundqvist have words after the whistle.
7:09 - Modano fires from the left wing and Giguere swallows it.
6:39 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TODD MARCHANT - Travis Moen chases the puck down behind the Dallas net and feeds a crashing Todd Marchant, who one-times it past Turco, just before slamming into Niskanen and flipping to the ice. Tremendous goal for the Ducks and welcome to the checking line, Todd Marchant. It's 1-0 as the Ducks take their first lead of the series.
We're at the first intermission, which means the first appearance of the Planet Tan Ice Girls. Well, they're definitely older than our Power Players. And the ones not cleaning the ice actually have pom-poms. As you know, they take their cheerleading seriously in these parts.
4:30 - Lehtinen has plenty of room to let a shot go from the slot, but Giguere is right there for it. Nice save. More, please.
This is what it looked like in here during the anthem with all the black. Doesn't look overly distracting.
2:43 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. cross checking. Pronger gets Ribeiro in the back, and as soon as Ribeiro goes down the crowd goes nuts, knowing Pronger's getting some time.
2:32 - Giguere lets another bad rebound get around him, but thankfully Scott Niedermayer is there to cut off Morrow from following it up.
1:30 - Lundqvist makes a nice pass across the top of the paint, but it goes under the stick of the Dallas player. The crowd lets out an "ohhhh!" They're pumped up.
0:12 - A quick Dallas shot on the faceoff following a Ducks icing call is saved by Giguere. Good start.
0:00 - And were underway in Game 3. Finally, it's here.
7:34 p.m. - The pregame lights-out presentation starts with the image of a Stanley Cup lit in green with the often-displayed word "BELIEVE" showing up after it. That's followed by a nicely done video presentation, punctuated by a loud "pop" and smoke coming from the scoreboard. They would never try that at Staples Center. Half the crowd would duck under their seats thinking it was gunfire.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters - ANA Mathieu Schneider, Kent Huskins, Todd Bertuzzi, Teemu Selanne
, Ryan Getzlaf
; DAL Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Steve Ott
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, Corey Perry
, Joe DiPenta, Rob Niedermayer, Bobby Ryan
; DAL Krys Barch, Brad Winchester, James Neal, Antti Miettinen, Konstantin Pushkarev, Chris Conner, Nolan Baumgartner, Mark Fistric, Dan Jancevski, Francis Wathier, Tobias Stephan
The Stars are carrying so many guys on their roster right now, they have more scratches than an 11-year-old with chicken pox.