By Adam Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ANAHEIM – If this one had gone any longer than 60 minutes, it might not have bode well for the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks survived a flurry over the final minutes of a tense third period to hang on for a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Wings in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Anaheim took a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 back at Honda Center on Thursday night.
"It was lucky for us, but I always say you have to fight to be lucky and everybody in here fought hard tonight," said goalie Jonas Hiller.
|Hiller was outstanding in net once again for Anaheim, saving 45, including all 18 Detroit shots in the third.
As he has done so many times in this postseason, Hiller virtually carried the Ducks on his back, saving all 18 Detroit shots in the third period while the Ducks only managed three at the other end. And he and his Ducks teammates got some help with just over a minute left on a possibly premature whistle by referee Brad Watson.
Scott Niedermayer, who with Teemu Selanne had put the Ducks on top 2-1 with goals, had trouble controlling the puck behind the Anaheim net, and Johan Franzen poked at it to make it squirt under Hiller just short of the goal line. Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger and Detroit winger Marian Hossa both dove for the puck and either of them could have knocked it into the net. But the goal was promptly waved off since Watson possibly lost sight of the puck and blew his whistle before it was sent through.
"He blatantly blew the whistle before it went in," said Todd Marchant. "The referee lost sight of it. He was right there, right behind the net. If he couldn’t see it, he’s got to blow the whistle. That is his job. I’m sure they aren’t happy about it."
|A potential tying goal with just over a minute left was waved off when the official blew his whistle just before the puck was punched through.
No, but Detroit did keep the pressure on over the final minute with their net empty for an extra attacker, but couldn’t get anything through as the Ducks to hung on for dear life with major help from Hiller. His 45 saves gave him 104 in the last two games, including a triple-overtime victory in Detroit in Game 2.
"I was looking at the referee behind and he waived it off right away," Hiller said of the controversial play. "That’s a part of hockey. Once it’s a call for you, once it’s against you. Tonight, it was for us and we’re definitely happy."
The Ducks struck first 12:49 into the first period on the second goal of the series by Selanne. Right off the faceoff, Ryan Carter spotted Selanne streaking up the center lane and gave him a perfect headman pass to send him on a breakaway. With Chris Chelios following from behind, Selanne went to the backhand before sending it off Osgood’s arm and into the net.
The 1-0 score remained that way until 8:16 into the middle session, when Scott Niedermayer followed up his own shot from the slot and reached out to chip it over Osgood. It was the first two-goal lead for any team in the series.
But the tide turned a few minutes later on a sequence that would prove damaging to the Ducks in more ways than one. During a flurry in front of the Anaheim net, James Wisniewski took a puck to the chest on a Detroit shot and seconds later got an elbow to the face from Tomas Holmstrom. Meanwhile, Scott Niedermayer was called for hooking.
|Selanne's breakaway goal in the first period gave Anaheim it's first lead.
Wisniewski was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher, struggling to breathe while bleeding from the face. He was taken to UCI Medical Center for precautionary reasons. Tests later revealed he had a lung contusion and will remain overnight in the hospital.
And to add insult to injury, Detroit converted on the ensuing power play, as Mikael Samuelsson threw a shot on net from the blue line that bounced off Hiller, and Henrik Zetterberg punched in the rebound just as his stick was knocked from his hands.
But that was all Detroit would get the entire night, despite a number of chances in a nerve-racking final half of the third that saw them take two power plays on penalties by Andrew Ebbett and Drew Miller.
"It was definitely a lot of shots, but I felt pretty good," Hiller said. "I think we did a pretty good job of keeping them on the outside. I don’t think they had unbelievable scoring chances. The whole team did a great job defensively."
Added Marchant, "Everybody is doing their job. It’s one game. Now, we have to focus on Game 4."
The Ducks improved their lifetime postseason record at Honda Center to 30-15 (.667 win percentage).
has earned points in an NHL postseason-high seven consecutive games (2-10=12). Overall, he leads the NHL in both postseason scoring and assists (3-11=14).
had his shutout streak snapped at 14:20 of the second period on Henrik Zetterberg’s goal. The streak lasted 90:16, dating back to Johan Franzen’s goal at 5:19 of the third period of Sunday’s triple OT contest (Game 2 of the CSF, May 3). For the series, Hiller has stopped 138-of-145 shots for a .952 SV% and 1.90 GAA (7 GA/221 MIN). Through his first nine career postseason contests, he has stopped 368-of-375 shots for a .981 SV % and 1.74 GAA (17 GA/585 MIN). He continues to lead the NHL in SV% and now ranks third in GAA.
Scott Niedermayer has earned points in four of the last five games (1-4=5) and in two straight (1-1=2). His goal accounted for his eighth career playoff game-winner, which ranks tied for second all-time among defensemen in the postseason (Lidstrom 11, also Paul Coffey and Scott Stevens 8).
Chris Pronger extended his point streak to four games (1-5=6). His assist on Scott Niedermayer’s goal in tonight’s game accounted for his 100th career playoff point (22-78=100). In addition, Pronger is now tied for the NHL lead in postseason scoring among defensemen (2-6=8).
has scored goals in three of the last four games (3-0=3).
has earned points in four of the last five games, including an assist tonight (2-2=4).
Tonight’s attendance was 17,174, a sellout.
20:00 - END OF GAME - Tempers flare after the horn as every skater on the ice gets involved, and while it looks like a couple of them want to take it further, it's broken up among a pile of helmets, sticks and throw orange towels. A crazy ending to this one, but the Ducks hold on for a 2-1 victory to take a 2-1 series lead.
19:58 - Detriot puts a shot toward the net in the final seconds, but it doesn't get through, as the Ducks chase it into the corner and time runs out.
19:48 - A last charge as Detroit tries to dump the puck in, but Hiller gloves it. He tries to lay it down, but the whistle blows early again, this time in his favor.
19:30 - A Kronwall shot from the point is deflected in front into the protective netting. A little battle after the whistle as Scott Niedermayer gets involved. It's ended quickly.
18:56 - Panic time as Scott Niedermayer loses control of the puck behind the Anaheim net. It pops out in front and then under Hiller into the crease and it's chipped the net by either a diving Pronger or a diving Hossa. The officials wave the goal off, saying the whistle had blown. By all accounts, not a good call.
18:34 - Osgood is on the bench as it's 6-on-5 Detroit.
18:34 - Miller dumps the puck from behind the red line and earns an icing call. Not a great play by him. Faceoff in the Anaheim zone as the Ducks call timeout with 1:26 left.
18:19 - We've got 1:41 to go as Detroit goes offside trying to start a rush.
17:15 - Another kick save for Hiller, as he's got 43 tonight. But the Ducks are leaning on him heavily in the last few minutes.
16:20 - Huge play by Whitney as he pitchforks the puck out of his own corner and sends it the length of the sheet as the penalty runs out. Huge ovation from the home crowd.
15:21 - Hiller a couple of deflection stops in traffic, then gathers a Samuelsson slap shot from the point.
14:27 - A monster two minutes for Anaheim.
14:27 - ANA Penalty - Drew Miller, 2 min. holding. Miller pulls down Chelios at center ice as he's trying to jump out of his way and can't stop shaking his head as he sits in the box. How much has Chelios played a part in the last few minutes?
13:15 - Ryan falls down trying to control the puck behind the Detroit net. Wow.
11:35 - Hiller two good stops as Holstrom dances in front of him.
11:10 - Hiller a nice save and cover on a Samuelsson shot.
10:25 - ANA Penalty - Andrew Ebbett, 2 min. high sticking. Ebbett gets Chelios on the head. Not what the Ducks need right now. They're already on their heels.
7:51 - Chelios and Bobby Ryan
tangle near the glass after the whistle, grabbing at each other but throwing no punches. Something tells me a line like "I could be your grandfather" was uttered. Thankfully, Bobby doesn't take the bait and drop the gloves.
5:45 - Perry has a big chance as he tries to punch in a loose puck in the slot, but he's robbed by Osgood. Perry can't believe it.
4:50 - Detroit is pouring it on over the last couple of minutes, with several shots on net that are either denied by Hiller or go wide.
3:53 - Maltby fires on net from above the left wing circle through a Tomas Kopecky screen and HIller corrals it.
It's being officially reported that Wisniewski was taken to UCI Medical Center for precautionary reasons after taking a puck to the chest. Word from someone in the tunnel is that he's also bleeding a lot from the face after that Holstrom elbow following the puck to the chest.
0:00 - Here we go.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - It's a so-so one for the Ducks, who take a 2-0 lead on a Niedermayer goal, but they lose Wisniewski (for now) and the Wings get one back from Zetterberg. It's 2-1 Anaheim going into the third.
19:18 - Another soft power play for Anaheim.
19:10 - Hiller makes a big kick save on a Hossa shot following a Bobby Ryan
17:18 - DET Penalty - Niklas Kronwall, 2 min. hooking. Give this one to Mike Brown, who drills Niklas Kronwall as Brown chases the puck behind the Detroit net. Kronwall doesn't like it and tries to retaliate, as Brown knocks the stick out of his hand. They're jawing as they both head back up the ice and somehow Kronwall gets drawn into a hook when the puck comes back near him.
17:00 - Three minutes left and you can't shake the feeling the Ducks need to get out of this period. The mood in the building has shifted after the Wisniewski injury.
14:20 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - HENRIK ZETTERBERG - Mikael Samuelsson throws a shot on net from the straightaway point and it bounces off Hiller too far in front of him. Zetterberg is right there to chip it into the open side of the net just as his stick falls out of his hands. The Anaheim lead is sliced in half.
James Wisniewski is down on all fours after the whistle and being tended to by the trainer. It looked like he might have taken a puck to the chest in the crowd in front of the net, then an elbow to the face from Holmstrom. The stretcher is brought out for him as he's tended to by EMTs. He sits down on the stretcher as the crowd tentatively applauds. We'll try to have updates on his condition.
13:49 - ANA Penalty - Scott Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. During the delayed whistle, the Wings have a couple of shots on net, including a Hossa rebound try, but Hiller is too quick.
12:30 - Carter steals the puck and heads in on a 1 on 3, firing a wrist shot that hits off Osgood and goes just wide. Carter is phenomenal so far tonight.
8:16 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - SCOTT NIEDERMAYER - Getzlaf tries to force the puck through the middle, but it's knocked away and behind him. Niedermayer steps up to try and chip it on net, and it hits off Osgood right back to him. He puts his stick blade out again and gets it on the puck enough to get it airborne as it flips slowly over and behind Osgood. There's some talk after the goal that Osgood might have been intefered with, but it's dismissed. Ducks lead it 2-0.
7:36 - DET Penalty - Brad Stuart, 2 min. interference. Stuart drills Miller into the glass behind the Detroit net. That leads to some scufflage after the whistle, but not much.
6:55 - Wisniewski turns the puck over to Datsyuk, who races up the wing, but Scott Niedermayer races back to pick him up as Datsyuk fires a shot from the wing off Hiller.
6:20 - Bobby Ryan
, God love him, not looking all that sharp so far.
4:23 - Close call as Hiller nearly has the puck jabbed under him from Samuelsson on repeated attempts.
4:10 - Sluggish period so far for Anaheim.
0:05 - Penalty dead.
0:00 - Off and running in the second.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks kill all but five seconds of the penalty before the horn in a very good first period for Anaheim. They lead 1-0 on Selanne's breakaway tally.
19:55 - Miller gets on a 2-on-1 with Wisniewski, though he doesn't realize it right away. And he pretty much makes a mess of it, taking a weak shot on Osgood.
18:05 - ANA Penalty - Chris Pronger, 2 min. tripping. Pronger takes Filppula down near the wall.
16:09 - ANA Penalty - Mike Brown, 2 min. roughing and DET Penalty - Brett Ledba, 2 min. roughing. Josh Green puts a shot on net, and it's snatched out of the air by Osgood, as Wings players get chippy with Ducks players after the whistle. Mike Babcock, last week: "There's going to be no scrums on our part (after whistles). We're just going to line up for the faceoff." Uh huh.
14:22 - Ericsson waits a couple of seconds after an Osgood puck freeze to needlessly punch Perry in the back of the head and try to draw him into retaliation. Not going to work this time, bud. Just play the freakin' game.
Giant roar for Selanne as he's put on the video board coming out of the timeout.
12:49 - ANAHEIM GOAL - TEEMU SELANNE - Right off the faceoff the puck squirts to Carter, who sees Selanne streaking up the center lane. He gives him a pinpoint headman pass at the red line to get him off an running on the breakaway. With old man Chelios chasing, Selanne makes his patented move to the backhand and flips it off Osgood and into the net for his second of the series. Ducks lead it 1-0.
It's trivia time and our contestant is asked what year Todd Marchant had his last playoff overtime game-winner. He guesses A) 1997 and he's right. Someone's reading the paper. Nice job. Autographed Todd Marchant puck for you.
11:03 - Not a textbook power play for Anaheim. Zero shots in the two minutes.
9:03 - DET Penalty - Johan Franzen, 2 min. interference. Now he's really grabbing his helmet in angst.
8:45 - Pronger turns the puck over to Samuelsson and gets beaten by him trying to catch up on the breakaway. Hiller makes him make a move and even though Hiller it out of position, Samuelsson ends up at too sharp an angle to shoot it in. He tries to bank the rebound off Hiller to no avail.
7:50 - Datsyuk is not picked up very well, weaves into the slot and fires just wide.
6:10 - We go to the first timeout already having seen plenty of action.
5:28 - Pronger slaps it on net as Ryan and Perry attempt to punch the loose puck through. Osgood looks a little shaky so far.
4:55 - The puck is on its way to Ryan in the circle and Stuart drills him before he can get to it. If that's not interference...
4:24 - Perry gets the puck with some room, but Brad Stuart does a nice job to reach his stick out and deflect the shot.
3:42 - About two seconds after the faceoff, Scott Niedermayer sends a backhand on net that gets under Osgood's pad and Perry can't punch it in somehow. Give it up to Osgood on that one.
3:37 - DET Penalty - Nicklas Lidstrom, 2 min. slashing. Tables are turned. Early opportunity for team black.
2:47 - A little push and shove near the blue line between Rob Niedermayer and Datsyuk, after Niedermayer drills him.
1:07 - ANA Penalty - Corey Perry
, 2 min. cross checking. Looked fairly harmless as the Detroit player fell near the boards. Bad start for Anaheim.
0:30 - Datsyuk drills Marchant as the puck heads the other way. How about a five-minute major for interference? No, unheard of.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 3.
7:40 p.m. - Nice rendition of the anthem by former Idol contestant Kai Kalama, as Datsyuk, Hossa and Holstrom earn some bad karma for leaving the blue line before the song is over. Before the anthem, great pump-up video on the board. This crowd is ready.
Starting Goaltenders - ANA Jonas Hiller
; DET Chris Osgood
Starting Skaters - ANA Scott Niedermayer, James Wisniewski
, Drew Miller, Todd Marchant
, Rob Niedermayer; DET Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Tomas Holstrom
Scratches - ANA Bret Hedican, Petri Kontiola, George Parros
, Erik Christensen, Brad Larsen, Troy Bodie
, Brendan Mikkelson
; DET Derek Meech, Brian Rafalski, Kris Draper