By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – Maybe they’ll believe in the Anaheim Ducks now.
The eighth-seed Ducks dismantled the No. 1 San Jose Sharks on their way to a statement-making 4-0 victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, and jumped out to a 3-games-to-1 lead in the series.
"I don’t think they expected this," said Bobby Ryan, who had two big goals in the second period. " We’ve said all along we aren’t your typical eighth seed. Obviously, we feel like we belong in that upper echelon in this Western Conference. A roller coaster year put us there. But we certainly knew we could make some noise."
|Ryan had two goals in the middle of the second period to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead that was more than they would need.
One day after being named a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the league’s top rookie, Ryan once again proved well-deserving of the honor. The 22-year-old scored two goals in a short span in the second and was on the ice for a door-slamming third by linemate Corey Perry to give the Ducks a commanding lead as the series swings back to San Jose for Saturday’s Game 5.
Almost lost in the moment was a second series shutout for Jonas Hiller, who had a seemingly routine 31 saves on the night.
"I think everybody knows the fourth game is the most difficult to win," Hiller said. "We showed a reaction tonight after last game where we were not happy how we played. Tonight everybody was fighting and giving a little more. We definitely deserved to win. If we keep going that way, we definitely have a chance for that fourth win."
Ryan scored twice within a window of 3:40 in the second to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead going into the third, and Perry and Ryan Getzlaf sealed the game shut when they teamed for a third goal with 5:51 left. San Jose’s Joe Thornton tried to send the puck out of his own corner, but put it right on the stick of Getzlaf, who threw it on net and it was tipped by Perry just as he crossed in front of goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
"We haven’t been as good as we want to be," Ryan said of his vaunted top line. "For us to come out and get a couple, it is a huge night for us and ultimately the team."
Ryan gave the Ducks a monumental first goal 6:33 into the second, following a mostly listless and scoreless first period. Getzlaf started the play by skating with the puck toward the left wing boards before spinning and throwing a pass to Ryan in the slot. Ryan made a beautiful deke move to lose Jonathan Cheechoo before slinging a wrist shot under Nabokov.
|Hiller had 31 stops on the way to his second shutout of the series.
Three minutes later, Ryan was involved in what led to a more than 20-minute delay in the game, as he was checked into the boards and his shoulder shattered the glass that separates the benches. Building crew members cleaned up the shards and replaced the glass as players from each team skated around the ice to keep warm.
The delay did nothing to cool off Ryan, who found the net just 29 seconds after the resumption of play. Perry came from behind the net to try and stuff the puck through and was denied, but he picked up the rebound, spun and threw the puck on net again. This time it rebounded hard off Nabokov into the slot, where Ryan went to a knee to one-time it over a prone Nabokov.
Drew Miller scored Anaheim's fourth goal with 19.1 left in the game, throwing the puck in from the blue line after San Jose surprisingly emptied their net down 3-0.
"The game was very tight," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "I don’t think you can really look at it and say it was a 4-0 hockey game. I think it very intense hockey and it was played at a very high pace. It was a 1-0 game up until the 10-minute mark of the second period, so once bounce can go against you or once bounce could go for you. Fortunately, enough bounces went our way tonight."
The win at Honda Center was sweet relief for a Ducks team that had a mediocre 20-18-3 record there during the regular season (12th in the conference) and dropped Game 3 there to the Sharks, 4-3. They also became the first home team to win in this series.
The Ducks allowed only two San Jose power plays after giving up six opportunities in each of the first two games and letting in two power play goals in Game 3.
"They had quality scoring chances," Carlyle said. "We had a big effort by our penalty killers tonight. That is always important. We were disciplined."
Now the Ducks will look to keep the momentum going as they head to San Jose, where they will have the first of three shots to close out the series and advance.
With tonight’s win, Anaheim has a lifetime postseason record of 11-5 in the fourth game of a series (16 total playoff series). The Ducks also improved their lifetime postseason record at Honda Center to 28-15 (.651 win percentage).
Tonight marked the Ducks first home shutout in the postseason since May 30, 2007 in Game 2 of the SCF vs. OTT.
Bobby Ryan now co-leads the NHL in goal scoring (also Ryder, Malkin and Kessel). His two goals tonight marked the second time in franchise history that a rookie has scored multiple goals in a postseason game. Francois Beauchemin also scored two goals in Game 3 of the CQF on April 25, 2006 vs. CGY. He also has a three-game goal streak (4-0=4), equaling the longest playoff goal streak in the NHL (Ryder (active), Malkin and Parise).
Ryan Whitney has a four-game point streak (0-4=4), co-leading the NHL for the longest point streak of the postseason (also Ryder, Crosby, Kessel, Martin and Franzen).
In his first four career playoff games, Jonas Hiller has stopped 139-of-145 shots for a .959 SV% and 1.51 GAA (6 GA/239 MIN). He now leads the NHL in postseason shutouts with two, stopping all 31 shots he faced tonight.
Ryan Getzlaf has earned points in three of the Ducks’ four postseason contests (1-4=5), including two assists tonight.
With 1-1=2 points tonight, Corey Perry matched his single-game playoff high for points in a game (five times, last: Game 5 of the SCF, Jun. 6, 2007 vs. OTT).
Tonight’s attendance was 16,830.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Utter domination for the Ducks as they take it 4-0 and take a 3-games-to-1 lead in the series.
19:48 - ANA Penalty - Sheldon Brookbank
, 10 min. misconduct and SJ Penalties - Douglas Murray, 2 min. cross checking and Jeremy Roenick, 2 min. roughing and 10 min. misconduct. After the whistle, Brookbank, Roenick and Murray go at it in the corner, and all 10 skaters get involved.
19:19 - ANAHEIM GOAL (EMPTY NET) - DREW MILLER - Miller picks up the puck just ahead of center ice and spies and empty net, so he throws it in from the blue line. That makes it 4-0 Ducks.
19:00 - The San Jose net is empty, surprisingly enough.
18:10 - Miller snaps a shot on net that nearly goes in, but just wide.
17:27 - Hiller makes a glove save and holds it high for a couple of seconds. I don't think the Sharks cared for that.
16:40 - Marchant, still hustling as much as ever, charges into the corner to retrieve the puck and avoid an Anaheim icing call.
14:09 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - Thornton tries to send the puck out of the corner, but gives it away to an intercepting Getzlaf in the high slot. He throws the puck on net, where it's tipped by Perry just as he's crossing in front of Nabokov. Absolutely gargantuan goal for the Ducks and it pretty much puts Game 4 away at 3-0 Anaheim.
12:50 - Christensen gets a shot through from the right wing, but Nabokov saves.
11:55 - Marchant takes a lickin' from Douglas Murray.
Big cheer as the Angels score goes up -- 10-5 over the Tigers in the eighth. Think the bullpen can blow it again?
10:46 - We go to the timeout with the Ducks leading 2-0 with 9:14 left.
8:40 - Scott Niedermayer makes a perfect feed in front of the net to brother Rob, and it hits off his stick and barely goes over the crossbar. Only problem: It was the Anaheim net.
8:40 - Your attention please: Erik Christensen has just set a new playoff record for shots that go off opponent shin guards. I believe that's 16 unofficially.
6:30 - Ducks playing aggressively conservative hockey right now, if that makes sense.
4:49 - Bobby Ryan
goes down behind the San Jose net and lays on the puck until the whistle blows. Probably intentional, since he and his line were gassed from the play in the defensive end.
1:10 - Marchant slings it on net from the slot -- kick save.
0:00 - Here go go in the third. The Ducks had a .963 winning percentage when leading after two periods, best in the league.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - And it's a tremendous one for Bobby Ryan
and the Ducks, as the so-called rookie gets two goals to put Anaheim up 2-0.
19:57 - The Ducks get a couple of cracks at the goal -- no go.
19:11 - Wisniewski waits for a diving shot-blocker to slide out of the way before firing a hard slapper that's deflected into the netting. The wrong netting, that is.
18:18 - SJ Penalty - Patrick Marleau, 2 min. high sticking. Major opportunity for the Ducks.
16:36 - Little scuffle after the whistle involving Sheldon Brookbank
and some Sharks. No penalties called. Not even against the Ducks. No, I'm serious.
16:14 - It's the little things with Marchant, who hounds Boyle enough in the San Jose zone to force him to ice it.
15:20 - Getzlaf heads back out just as Ebbett heads slowly to the bench in pain. In fact, whatever is hurting him kept him from jumping on a loose puck in the San Jose end.
14:20 - Getzlaf heads gingerly off the ice and into the locker room after taking a shot off his foot.
12:54 - Big kill for the Ducks to keep the momentum going, and they almost get one after Wisniewski escapes the box on a Miller shot from the wing.
12:08 - The Ducks spend way to much time with the puck in their end as they try to kill the penalty, but Hiller saves them when he stops and holds a slap shot from the wing. Now they can change.
10:54 - ANA Penalty - James Wisniewski
, 2 min. holding. Uh ... if you say so.
10:13 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Perry comes from behind the net again and tries to jam it through, but it's kicked away. He spins and tries another shot that hits Nabokov and rebounds into the slot. Ryan is right there to go to a knee and one-time it over Nabokov who can only kick up his leg pad as he lies on his side. Apparently the delay doesn't hurt Ryan, as he single-handedly puts the Ducks up 2-0.
9:45 - We're finally back at it.
The glass is finally in place as we complete a delay that's at least as long as a regular intermission. Not sure who that helps or hurts.
We're going on at least 15 minutes of a delay here while they try to put the glass back.
David Boreanaz of "Bones" is shown in the crowd. "Celebrity" blogger Jessica Rose is here too.
9:44 - Not sure how, but the glass separating the two benches just shattered, causing each fan in the area around there to stand up and take a look. Replays show it happened when Ryan got checked into the wall and his shoulder hit it. There's something you don't see every day. They're removing it now. We'll see if we have any bench-on-bench brawls from here on out. Sure makes it easier to yell at a guy. Long delay while they clean up all the shards and replace the glass.
Chants of "Bobby! Bobby!"
6:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL - BOBBY RYAN - Getzlaf takes the puck near the left wing boards and spins before blindly hitting Ryan in the slot. Ryan makes a pretty deke move to leave Jonathan Cheechoo in his wake before whipping a wrist shot that slides under Nabokov. Huge first goal and it's 1-0 Ducks.
5:56 - During a scrum around the net, with Nabokov trying to freeze the puck, Parros dives into him and knocks the puck through. But it's quickly waved off as the official determines the puck was dead. The crowd is shown the replay and they're not pleased.
2:35 - Perry comes from behind the net and tries a wraparound that Nabokov bumps away. The second shot of the game for Perry, after having none in Game 3.
Apparently we had a slight earthquake in here during the intermission. I was on the Club level and didn't feel it. But I definitely felt the one earlier this afternoon while I was in my office. In the basement of this building. That wasn't fun.
0:00 - We're 4 on 4 to start the second after the Brown and Clowe penalties.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - If the first period of Game 3 was "The Fast and the Furious," the first period of Game 4 was "You've Got Mail." We're scoreless.
20:00 - ANA Penalty - Mike Brown and SJ Penalty Ryan Clowe, 2 min. roughing. Brown and Clowe get involved at the end of the period.
19:32 - Miller does a nice job to sidestep the puck so Marchant can get it with room on the wing. He fires a shot that Nabokov holds. Does Miller get black hair back for that?
2:30 - Thirty-four more gray hairs for Miller.
17:25 - The Ducks kill the penalty, but with seconds left in it, Drew Miller makes a big mistake by taking his time trying to clear the puck down the ice. The Ducks get a break when after a flurry in front of the net, the puck comes back to the point and crosses over the blue line and back, making the Sharks offside.
In a variation of the "boo ... yeah!" video, the board alternately shows a guy in a Sharks jersey ("booooo") and then a well-endowed attractive blonde ("yeaaaahhhh!"). So, we're cheering for boobs now?
15:06 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Ebbett, 2 min. tripping. Ebbett gets spun to the ice by Setoguchi and as he gets up, officials determine he pulled the Sharks forward to the ice. Ebbett, not normally one to show a lot of emotion, vehemently disagrees.
14:25 - Very sloppy power play for Anaheim. Not even close to a good scoring chance.
12:48 - SJ Penalty - Devin Setoguchi, 2 min. holding. Setoguchi takes down Ryan behind the San Jose net, causing Ryan to fall awkwardly. I could maybe understand if Setoguchi didn't love that call.
Lindsay Soto interviews Ryan Whitney for the national telecast during the break. This time, no peep show.
10:55 - We go to the second timeout with just four shots apiece.
9:35 - Ryan throw it on net and Wisniewski just misses redirecting it through.
8:40 - Ryan whips one on net from Selanne's spot in the left wing circle, saved.
7:15 - Pronger laces a one-timer from the point into Nabokov's chest.
6:56 - SJ Penalty - Joe Pavelski, 2 min. tripping. Pavelski takes downWisniewski in the Anaheim zone.
5:30 - For the second time tonight, Mike Brown and Douglas Murray have words after the whistle. This one might have been Brown's fault, since he delivered an elbow.
3:00 - Not as action packed as the first period in Game 3 yet, just three combined shots and none of them lethal.
0:00 - And we're underway at Honda Center in Game 4.
7:39 p.m. - Former American Idol contestant Kai Kalama sings the anthem. I don't know, it was a little pitchy for me.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; SJ Evgeni Nabokov
Starting Skaters - Ryan Whitney, Chris Pronger, Bobby Ryan
, Corey Perry
, Ryan Getzlaf
; SJ Rob Blake, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Travis Moen
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Petteri Nokelainen, Brad Larsen, Troy Bodie
, Brendan Mikkelson
Nokelainen is a surprise scratch, though Randy Carlyle has indicated he's not happy with his play lately. Ryan Carter is in his place.