|“You ask anybody in this dressing room, we enjoyed playing in that game last night,” said Marchant, who scored the game-winner in Game 2.. “As tired as we were, that is what you live for, that is what you train so hard for. It was a pleasure to be in that game.” |
For close to two months now, the Anaheim Ducks have succeeded far more often than not when faced with make-or-break games. But never before had more than 100 minutes of effort been required to get the job done.
But looking to avoid falling into a 2-0 hole in their series with Detroit, there Anaheim was yesterday in the third overtime of a dogfight with the defending Stanley Cup champions. And regardless of the fatigue that had to be flowing through their bodies, they came though yet again.
Just before anyone could get comfortable for that sixth period of play, Ducks forward Todd Marchant (getting help from a screening Rob Niedermayer) fired a wrister past goalie Chris Osgood for the game-winning tally 1:15 in the third extra session. The semifinal battle between the two familiar foes is now tied 1-1 and it will resume at Honda Center on Tuesday night.
“We’re excited,” said Marchant on Monday after a team meeting at the arena. “We came back with the series tied at 1. We have to go out and take care of business here at home. If you look at the last series, we didn’t play our best game in Game 3 against San Jose
. We want to make sure we go out and rectify that. We want to come out hard tomorrow with a good start, stay disciplined again and keep putting pucks at the net.”
|“Hillsy’s been outstanding," Getzlaf said. "You can’t say enough about a guy who was playing behind a really good goaltender in Giguere all season. He was able to step it up at the end here when we needed him and he continues to show that every night.” |
With each passing overtime period on Sunday, Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle delivered the same message to his group in the visitor’s locker room at Joe Louis Arena. “We’ve got 20 people that have a chance to be a hero,” Carlyle said he told his team. “A hero might mean blocking a shot, taking a check to make a play, assisting on a goal or driving the middle lane. Heroes are not always the guys that put the puck in the net. It’s just as important to prevent a goal as it is to score one in these situations. Stay patient, don’t go outside the structure, don’t play the game on your backhand and make strong plays.”
And what better candidate to take on the role of hero than Marchant, who time and again has done all those little things for the Ducks? The goal was a nice reward for the veteran forward whose persistence to work hard on the ice typically does not translate onto the scoresheet.
“You ask anybody in this dressing room, we enjoyed playing in that game last night,” Marchant said. “As tired as we were, that is what you live for, that is what you train so hard for. It was a pleasure to be in that game.”
To give Marchant a possibility to be in the spotlight, the Ducks needed another solid effort from Jonas Hiller
. The Swiss goalie has been outstanding in the playoffs so far, most notably by shutting out the Sharks twice in the first round. He came through again in Game 2 against the Red Wings with a career-high 59 saves.
|“Getzlaf is unbelievable,” said Selanne. “He’s young and a workhorse. He played almost 39 minutes last night. As a forward, that is almost unheard of. He didn’t even look tired.” |
Hiller did so while being in uncharted water. Never before had he been in double overtime, let alone a third extra period. His previous playoff stints came in the Swiss League, which only requires one overtime before a shootout determines a winner. But Hiller again looked natural in a new situation, keeping the Red Wings at bay.
“What you see is what you get,” said Carlyle of his goaltender. “Jonas is not a guy that seems to get rattled. He’s composed.”
Said Ryan Getzlaf
, “Hillsy’s been outstanding. You can’t say enough about a guy who was playing behind a really good goaltender in Giguere all season. He was able to step it up at the end here when we needed him and he continues to show that every night.”
Getzlaf has also been a force throughout the postseason thus far. Utilizing his brute strength, the 6-4 center helped the Ducks quickly come back from an early one-goal deficit with a goal and an assist in a span of 34 seconds in the first period. He finished with three points in the game (adding another assist on Ryan Carter’s goal) and now has a league-high 13 in the playoffs. Even more mind-boggling than those numbers was his 38:59 of playing time in Game 2, the most among forwards in the game and second-most on the team.
|“We are very happy to come back 1-1." Selanne said. "These have been very tight games and I’m expecting these next ones are going to be the same way. The difference between these two teams is almost nothing." |
“Getzlaf is unbelievable,” said Teemu Selanne
. “He’s young and a workhorse. He played almost 39 minutes last night. As a forward, that is almost unheard of. He didn’t even look tired.”
Neither team got much rest for their weary bodies after the game, having to jump on a 4-1/2 hour flight to Orange County last night. With the Western Conference Semifinal showdown resuming tomorrow evening, the Ducks used Monday to recharge their batteries and get prepared for what could be another epic battle with the Red Wings.
“I think everybody has to be ready from the first second,” said Hiller of Game 3. “We know it’s a new game and a tough game again. We have to play at our best to have a chance.”
Said Selanne, “We are very happy to come back 1-1. These have been very tight games and I’m expecting these next ones are going to be the same way. The difference between these two teams is almost nothing. Whoever is going to have a better night is going to win the game. That is what the playoffs are about, and that is how it should be.”