By Adam Brady
DALLAS – 52 seconds.
That’s all the time it took for a 1-0 third period Ducks advantage to abruptly turn into a 2-1 Dallas lead. And that was all the Stars needed on their way to a 4-1 victory in Game 6 at American Airlines Center to bring Anaheim’s series comeback attempt and their season to a heartbreaking end.
|Two Dallas goals in a span of 52 seconds in the third period closed the door on Anaheim's season.
The Ducks were hoping to crawl all the way back from a 3-1 series deficit and force a Game 7 at home. But the momentum from their Game 5 victory two nights prior ran out of steam and so did the Ducks’ run as defending Stanley Cup champs.
"I don't think anyone wants it to end this way," said Scott Niedermayer. "It's disappointing because we believe we could do better. Our sights were set higher than this. When you come up short it explains itself."
Anaheim held a delicate lead on Corey Perry’s goal just 2:11 into the second period, but it was hardly safe with the Stars gaining energy from a sellout crowd of 18,532.
Things looked ominous for the Ducks when Ryan Carter headed to the box just 17 seconds into the third period for holding, and Dallas took quick advantage. Mike Modano’s slap shot from the point flew wide of the net, but bounced right to Stephane Robidas, who one-timed it from the circle past a recovering Jean-Sebastien Giguere just 1:18 into the stanza.
It was the first playoff goal for Robidas, who set up the next one by Stu Barnes before many of the Dallas fans had stopped celebrating. Robidas skated around Mathieu Schneider on his way to the net before sliding a pass to Barnes, who punched it into the open half of the net to give Dallas a 2-1 lead just 52 seconds after they had tied it.
That brought the throng of 18,532 loudly to their feet once again as a sea of white souvenir towels were twirled in the air.
But with 17:50 left in the contest, it still gave Anaheim plenty of time to get the equalizer. But the Ducks didn’t get off their first shot of the period until the 11:10 mark, and though they had nine shots in the period, veteran goalie Marty Turco saved them all.
"They're a team that plays a very tight defense," Niedermayer said. "They had all their guys back and protected the middle of the ice well and made it hard to penetrate."
Things looked even more dire for Anaheim when Loui Eriksson got behind the Ducks defense on a nice feed up the ice from Brad Richards and put a breakaway wrist shot past Giguere with 2:18 remaining. Earlier in the game, Giguere had denied Eriksson on a deke move on the breakaway, but he found nothing but net with the different approach.
|The Ducks took the game's first lead on a Perry goal, but that was all Anaheim would get the entire night.
The Ducks sent Giguere to the bench for an extra attacker with a little more than two minutes left, but the Ducks were repeatedly denied in the Dallas zone. The final nail was put in the coffin when Turco saved a Kunitz tip attempt and Jere Lehtinen shuttled the puck to Modano, who was all alone to lay the puck in the empty net. That set off a gun shot from the American Airlines Center scoreboard as green and yellow streamers fell from the rafters.
Perry’s goal in the second was a near replay of his goal that opened the scoring in Game 5. Perry collected a Scott Niedermayer pass at the blue line and released a shot from the right circle that slipped underneath Turco.
The Ducks squashed three Dallas power plays over the first two periods, while the Stars denied Anaheim on three of its own. But Robidas’ goal on the man advantage in the third gave the Stars their first power play goal in the last 16 opportunities, after they had gone 8 for 20 over the first three games.
"They played very well," said captain Chris Pronger. "Their power play, what did they get? Ten goals? They had quite a few. Their penalty kill did a good job bottling us up in the neutral zone. There were a couple games where we just couldn't mount much of an attack. You gotta give them a lot of credit but part of that fall on us too."
It was the first playoff series win for the Stars since beating Edmonton in the first round in 2003.
"Just to win the series is an amazing feeling," Robidas said. "We've struggled in the playoffs the last few years and the veterans on this team have been through a lot. We wanted this and it feels great to get it done."
For Anaheim, it was the earliest playoff exit since the 1999 season, when they fell to Detroit.
"Anything short of the Stanley Cup is a disappointment for this group," said Giguere. "Our goal is set on going all the way. I don't think it was a lack of effort. We tried but we just couldn't come up with the win."
Added Carlyle: "Every guy gave everything they had. You thank them for their work ethic over the course of the season, but their lack of execution in the playoffs was a concern and we’ll address that in the offseason."
Teemu Selanne, who came out of a brief retirement to rejoin the Ducks in January called it, "not a very happy ending. But what are you going to do? I think the work ethic is there. You have to be proud of that. When you give everything you have you can't ask more than that. Everybody wants to beat you when you're the champions. You try hard but when you're a little bit off here and there, it's a lot to overcome."
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Stars erase the Ducks advantage and take the lead in a span of 52 seconds in the third period on their way to a 4-1 victory in Game 6. The Ducks season ends in Dallas.
19:56 - DALLAS GOAL - MIKE MODANO - Modano takes the puck and heads down alone to the empty Anaheim net. He breezily lays it in there with 3.3 left to put the capper on this thing. Inexplicably, another gun shot goes off and green and yellow streamers fall from the ceiling.
19:38 - Modano tries a shot from the red line for the empty Ducks net and it's wide
19:08 - Niedermayer feeds Kunitz in the slot for the one-timer, but it's yet another save for Turco, his eighth in the period.
18:29 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. cross checking. Pronger puts the stick into Brenden Morrow and then holds him down. He looks exasperated by the call, but the Dallas fans love it.
17:50 - Giguere heads to the bench for an extra attacker.
17:42 - DALLAS GOAL - LOUI ERIKSSON - The Ducks turn the puck over and Joel Lundqvist sends it quickly in the other direction to Brad Richards. He makes a nice feed ahead to Loui Eriksson, who gets on the breakaway for the second time tonight. This time he knows what to do with it, sending a quick wrist shot past Giguere to give Dallas a two-goal lead.
17:18 - Bertuzzi puts the puck on net from a bad angle, but it's stopped by Turco, who quickly covers the rebound before Ducks can get in there. The crowd begins a chant of "Marty! Marty!"
16:30 - Getzlaf gets off a sneaky shot through the crowd from the boards, but it doesn't fool Turco.
16:22 - Selanne bullies his way down the wing and gets off a backhander that Turco grabs.
16:03 - Schneider rips a one-timer high, but Turco holds it.
16:00- I feel sick.
15:15 - Marchant tries a redirect through his own legs from the slot, but it's just blocked in front.
14:33 - We go to the final timeout with 5:27 left in this thing and the Ducks needing a goal.
A group of young Dallas fans in the last row in front of the press box start a cheer of "________ the Ducks!" and you can guess that the first word rhymes with. Classy bunch of guys.
13:07 - Dallas ices the puck, giving the Ducks a faceoff in the Dallas zone with a fresh unit.
12:10 - Kunitz pounces on a loose puck in front with Turco down, but can't get on it under pressure from the Dallas defense.
11:45 - The Ducks can get little going offensively and face a 22-10 shot deficit.
8:50 - Getzlaf gets off Anaheim's first shot on goal of the period, which Turco easily bats away.
4:00 - Modano makes another nice feed to Niskanen, and his one-timer is knocked away by a quick-recovering Giguere.
3:41 - Eriksson makes a great move around Beauchemin to get on the breakaway. He makes a deke move and Giguere stonewalls him beautifully on the shot.
2:10 - DALLAS GOAL - STU BARNES - It's Robidas again, but this time with the pass. He skates easily around Schneider on his way to the net, then slides a pass across the front of the crease to Barnes, who punches it into the open net. It's suddenly 2-1 Dallas out of nowhere. This crowd is going wild, yelling and waving towels.
1:18 - DALLAS GOAL (POWER PLAY) - STEPHANE ROBIDAS - Mike Modano launches a slap shot from the point that flies wide of the net, but the ricochet comes to Robidas in the right circle and he bats it past Giguere. The crowd absolutely erupts and we're tied 1-1. First career playoff goal for Robidas and it comes at a big time for Dallas.
Someone just threw what looked like a white parachute onto the ice. It landed at center ice and the official quickly got rid of it.
0:17 - ANA Penalty - Ryan Carter
, 2 min. holding. After just one penalty in the second, the Ducks get off to a bad start.
0:00 - Here we go in the third.
Going into the third, they play the "Their time is over. This is YOUR time" speech from Miracle on the video board. I know our Ducks message boarders have been referencing the same speech, but with a different team in mind.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks only put three shots on Turco, but Perry sneaks one through to give Anaheim a 1-0 lead with a period to go.
18:40 - Ducks are being outshot 8-3 in this period, but they've netted one of those shots.
17:05 - As Huskins holds the puck behind the Ducks net. Ribeiro goes into the crease and drills Giguere to the ice. Inexplicably, there is no call.
16:34 - Ribeiro holds the puck for an eternity behind the Anaheim net, and when the Ducks finally go get him, he comes out and turns the puck over.
15:10 - You can barely see it, but it looks like Turco trips Perry to the ice behind the play. Perry is having discussions with the official after the whistle, so it looks like it might have happened.
13:50 - Morrow slings a shot on the rush and Giguere just does flick it away. It nearly finds the net on the rebound, but goes wide.
13:00 - Barnes rips a shot from the wing on the rush, but Giguere elbows it away.
11:37 - Perry's stick gets knocked from his hands and goes flying about 40 feet in the air.
11:05 - Pronger gets back on the ice as the Ducks kill the penalty.
It's Kiss Cam time and one couple is put on there, but the blonde woman doesn't realize what's going on. So her dude elbows her, and elbows her and elbows her. Finally, she looks up at the screen, realizes she's on camera ... and waves.
9:05 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. holding. Lehtinen busts Pronger into the wall and the crowd approves. Then they get even louder when Pronger is whistled for a hold right afterward.
7:04 - Modano is wide open as he one-times a pass in the slot, but Giguere makes a pretty skate save to break his heart.
4:51 - Sutherby has a nice one-timer from the slot off a Doug Weight pass from near the back wall, but Turco makes a great save. Sutherby still can't buy one.
3:35 - Brenden Morrow comes from behind the net and tries to tuck it in, but Giguere and the right post deny him.
2:11 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Perry takes the puck from Niedermayer on the right wing and it's a little behind him, so he drags it to himself as he crosses into the zone. He gets off a shot from the right circle that stays low and goes through Turco. Looked like an instant replay of the first goal in Game 5, but that one was in a different uniform. That all-important first goal of the game goes to Anaheim and this crowd has quieted considerably. A rare second assist to Giguere, who got the play going.
1:20 - Schneider turns the puck over, but Beauchemin makes a gorgeous diving play to block a pass to the front of the net.
0:30 - Like Selanne in the first, Modano gets off a quick shot (a one-timer) that's saved.
0:00 - Ott and Selanne chat it up shoulder to shoulder before the faceoff and we're off and running in the second.
During the intermission, they have a "Mystery Mustache" contest, where they show a closeup of a celebrity mustache and ask the fan if it's A. Burt Reynolds, B. Alex Trebek, C. Tom Selleck (which it clearly is) or D. Rosie O'Donnell. Ouch, guys. Surprised that in these parts they didn't say Hillary Clinton.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - A hard-hitting first period produces nothing on the scoreboard, with the exception of five penalties. We're tied 0-0 as the Ducks have six shots to the Stars' eight.
19:58 - Niedermayer skates pretty and gets off a shot that Turco knocks into the air just before the end of the period.
17:52 - Ott drills Carter, so Kunitz drills Ott.
13:28 - Nortstrom rips a slap shot from inside the blue that Giguere kicks away.
16:05 - Niskanen has it with open ice, and flings a shot that Giguere slides out to stop.
14:45 - Ott gives Selanne a needless hit at center ice with the puck nowhere near the play. Kunitz looks like he wants to go after him as they both head to their benches, but he decides against it.
13:53 - The net mysteriously gets knocked off a peg with Perry behind the net. Turco has a guilty look on his face. Okay, I can't really see it.
13:06 - Richards inexplicably falls down waiting for the puck to get to him, costing Dallas the last few seconds of its power play. Can't tell you how bad I feel about that.
12:33 - Giguere makes a nice stick save on a Richards shot.
11:16 - ANA Penalty - Doug Weight, 2 min. tripping. Weight takes down Grossman with the stick. There has been very little 5 on 5 in this period.
10:15 - Kunitz tries to center it, but Fistric goes to the ice to block it, just before Dallas clears it out of there.
9:09 - DAL Penalty - Joel Lundqvist, 2 min. charging. Lundqvist gets some nice air as he runs into Getzlaf by the wall.
8:52 - After the whistle, Schneider and bully Steve Ott have a very innocent little spat. Ott gave Schneider a soft elbow in the face, which Schneider mostly ignored, until seconds later he gave him one just as soft. It's like two brothers fighting in the back seat.
6:06 - The Ducks get close, but can't put much on Turco as the crowd cheers the kill.
4:06 - DAL Penalty - Brad Richards, 2 min. slashing. During the delayed whistle, Giguere heads off for an extra attacker and the Ducks put three solid shots on Turco, the final one being a Bertuzzi try that Turco flips sideways for and barely knocks it away.
2:05 - DAL Penalty - Loui Eriksson, 2 min. holding. Eriksson grabs on to Pronger and bails the Ducks out a bit.
1:39 - ANA Penalty - Francois Beauchemin, 2 min. interference. Early power play for Dallas as the Anaheim penalty troubles continue.
1:35 - Ribeiro gives Scott Niedermayer a shot into the glass and the crowd roars.
0:30 - Selanne takes a quick shot that Turco stops.
0:00 - We're underway in Game 6, the Ducks needing a win to keep this series alive.
8:06 p.m. - The Stars do this thing at the conclusion of their pregame video presentation where they shoot off a very loud gunshot out of the scoreboard and smoke comes out. Scares the bejesus out of me every time. Marc-Andre Bergeron is sitting by me up here and he just gave me a wide-eyed look like he couldn't believe it either.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jean-Sebastien Giguere; DAL Marty Turco
Starting Skaters - ANA Teemu Selanne
, Chris Kunitz, Samuel Pahlsson, Sean O'Donnell, Chris Pronger; DAL Mike Modano, Stu Barnes, Steve Ott, Nicklas Grossman, Stephane Robidas
Scratches - ANA Marc-Andre Bergeron, George Parros
, Joe Dipenta, Rob Niedermayer, J.P. Levasseur; DAL Francis Wathier, James Neal, Krys Barhc, Brad Winchester, Konstantin Pushkarev, Chris Conner, Nolan Baumbartner, Dan Jancevski, Philippe Boucher, Brandon Crombeen, Tobias Stephan