|FINAL ||1 ||2 ||3 ||T |
| ||Detroit ||0 ||0 ||3 ||3 |
| ||Anaheim ||1 ||2 ||1 ||4 |
GAME HIGHLIGHTS (DUCKS TV)
ANAHEIM - Leave it to the Ducks in this series to never make it look easy.
Anaheim dominated Detroit over the first two periods of Game 6, but had to hang on for dear life in the third to win 4-3 and capture the Western Conference Finals series 4 games to 2.
The Ducks checking line of Pahlsson, Moen and Niedermayer scored the eventual game-winner and helped keep Detroit from tying it in the closing minutes.
The Ducks advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals against Ottawa
, which start back at Honda Center on Monday.
The Ducks held a comfortable 3-0 cushion headed into the third period, but had to withstand a three-goal flurry by Detroit. The Red Wings cut the Ducks lead to 4-3 with 3:04 remaining, but couldn't come up with the equalizer, despite plenty of gut-wrenching chances on goalie J.S. Giguere. That included a Detroit power play with 2:52 left and a final minute with the Detroit net empty (the same strategy that helped the Ducks tie it late Game 5).
As the seconds wound down and the Ducks cleared the zone for the last time, the horn finally sounded to the delight of the sellout crowd of 17,380. That was followed by fireworks, falling black-and-gold streamers and a mad rush by the Ducks toward Giguere, who waited with his arms raised high.
"We're going to enjoy it," Giguere said. "I think it's not something that happens every year. So we need to enjoy it until the end of the night tonight and then we need to move on, focus on Ottawa."
The Ducks made their statement early on when Rob Niedermayer scored just 3:51 after the opening faceoff. After a Todd Marchant tripping penalty put Anaheim shorthanded, Chris Pronger uncorked a patented slap shot soon after the faceoff. It deflected off Detroit goalie Dominik Hasek and Niedermayer's skate on its way over the stripe. That gave Niedermayer four goals in the playoffs. He had just five in 82 games in the regular season.
The Ducks got another goal midway through the period, this one from Corey Perry, a member of the young PPG line (with Ryan Getzlaf and Dustin Penner) that has shined throughout the series. After Hasek made a save on a Francois Beauchemin rocket from the point, the puck squirted out to Perry, who buried it from the right side.
More than the two goals, Anaheim had a decided edge in the period, outshooting Detroit 14-7 and camping out in the Red Wing zone most of the 20 minutes.
Anaheim kept pouring it on in the second period, but didn't put one on the board until late in the session. That's when Getzlaf tallied his fifth of the postseason on a loose puck in front of the net. Scott Niedermayer's slap shot from the point hit Hasek, who fell down with the puck still loose. As Teemu Selanne and Todd Marchant poked at it, Getzlaf found it near the right post, pushed it to his backhand and slid it into the open net.
Teemu Selanne (left) embraces Todd Marchant during the postgame celebration.
The goal was retribution for a near-miss just 35 seconds earlier, when another ripped Beauchemin slap shot was deflected in front and hit the underside of the crossbar. The officials needed a replay to determine that it never did touch net.
Giguere only had to make 13 saves in the first two periods, but he made several solid ones to keep Detroit off the board.
Faced with elimination, Detroit showed their desperation by picking things up in the third. Just 3:15 into the period, Henrik Zetterberg capped off a marathon session in the Ducks zone by redirecting a pinpoint Chris Chelios pass over Giguere.
But Anaheim countered at 5:54 on a goal that featured each of the players on their prized checking line. Coming on a 3-on-2 rush, Travis Moen backhanded the puck onto the net. Rob Niedermayer's redirect attempt was blocked by Hasek, but Pahlsson was there to scoop in the rebound.
Detroit again cut the Anaheim lead to two goals on a power play goal by Pavel Datsyuk. Like so many Detroit goals this postseason, this one was set up by a Nicklas Lidstrom shot from the point, which Datsyuk deflected past Giguere.
Detroit pulled it to within a goal and quieted the Honda Center crowd on Datsyuk's second of the game, on the power play with 3:04 remaining. Datsyuk one-timed a Henrik Zetterberg pass from the top of the crease.
But Detroit couldn't get the tying goal over the final few minutes, despite several opportunities that must have taken years off the lives of the Honda Center faithful. Giguere made several saves and got help from his defense over the final stretch. He ended up with 26 stops on the night.
"We look at the game as a whole," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. And we did enough to get it done against a very, very good hockey club, a first-class organization."
It's the second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals for the Ducks, who lost to New Jersey in seven games in 2003.
"We've got an opportunity to play in the Finals and that's what obviously was our goal," said Scott Niedermayer. "And it's great. We have a great group of guys. We're having a lot of fun and obviously a lot of tough hockey to be played and we're looking forward to it."
The Ducks are the first California team to play in the Stanley Cup Finals twice, marking just the fifth time since 1926 (Victoria) that a team from the West Coast will play in the league's championship final. Since the 1926 Victoria Cougars, the only West Coast teams to appear in the Stanley Cup Finals are Vancouver (1982 & 1994), Los Angeles (1993) & Anaheim (2003).
The Ducks improved their overall home playoff record to 7-2 at home during the postseason. They have an overall home record of 20-7 since the start of the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In addition, Anaheim is 7-0 in series-clinching games at home, including 3-0 this year (3-0 in 2003, 1-0 in 1997).
Tonight's game marked the Ducks' fourth, four-plus goal game of the postseason.
Rob Niedermayer's goal was his 3rd career short-handed goal in the playoffs. The other two came in the 2003 playoffs; April 24, 2003 at Dallas in the Conference Semi-Finals (Game 1) and May 12, 2003 at Minnesota in the Conference Finals (Game 2). He has collected 3-2=5 points in the last five games.
Tonight marked Ryan Getzlaf's (1-1=2) fourth career two-point playoff game of his career (most recent: May 17 vs.DET, 1-1=2). He has earned 2-2=4 points in the last three games.
J.S. Giguere stopped 26-of-29 shots for his ninth win of the postseason in 12 starts. He has a 1.91 GAA and .931 SV% in the postseason, stopping 326-of-350 shots.
Teemu Selanne has a three-game point streak (2-4=6).
Samuel Pahlsson's goal was the third game-winning goal of his career (also May 5, 2006 vs. COL and April 23, 2006 @ CGY).
Sean O'Donnell recorded his first point (0-1=1) of the postseason.
Tonight's attendance was 17,380, a standing-room only sellout crowd. Going back to the regular season, the Ducks now have a 31-game sellout streak.
20:00 - END OF GAME - The Ducks frantically try to clear the puck from the zone and finally send it over the blueline as the clock ticks down to zero. The horn blows, the crowd screams, fireworks pop, streamers fall from the rafters and the Ducks race toward J.S. Giguere, his hands held high in the air. THE DUCKS ARE WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS. THEY'RE GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP FINALS.
19:27 - The crowd's collective blood pressure skyrockets as the Red Wings have several chances (before and after the Moen penalty expires) before Giguere finally covers it with 32.1 left.
17:08 - ANA PENALTY - Travis Moen, 2 min. hooking. Trouble for Anaheim.
16:56 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - PAVEL DATSYUK - The Red Wings cut the lead to one when Henrik Zetterberg feeds Datsyuk near the top of the crease and he one-times it past Giguere. It's 4-3 Ducks
16:43 - ANA PENALTY - Ryan Getzlaf, 2 min. cross checking. Getlaf hits a Detroit penalty in front of th net.
A "Let's Go Ducks!" chant fills the Honda Center air.
13:17 - Johan Franzen puts a nice wrister on the net, but Giguere is right there and the crowd is impressed.
10:08 - DETROIT GOAL (POWER PLAY) - PAVEL DATSYUK - Nicklas Lidstrom takes a slap shot from the point that Datsyuk redirects over Giguere. It's 4-2 Anaheim.
9:44 - ANA PENALTY - Todd Marchant, 2 min. tripping.
5:54 - ANAHEIM GOAL - SAMUEL PAHLSSON - The Ducks' fantastic checking line gets all three points on this one. Coming on a 3-on-2 rush, Moen takes a pass from Pahlson and backhands it onto the net. Rob Niedermayer's redirect try bounces off Hasek, but Pahlsson is right there to scoop in the rebound. The Ducks counter and make it 4-1.
3:15 - DETROIT GOAL - HENRIK ZETTERBERG - You could almost see this one coming. Chelios takes the puck near the right wing board and makes a nice pass to a crossing Zetterberg, who smoothly redirects it over a frozen Giguere. It's 3-1 Ducks and this place got a touch quieter.
1:31 - Todd Marchant takes a high stick to the face and is bleeding pretty badly.
0:00 - And away we go.
20:00 - END OF PERIOD - The Ducks again are all over the Red Wings and go up 3-0 on goals by the well-deserving PPG line (Perry, then Getzlaf). They outshoot Detroit 12-6. This place is electric.
18:33 - ANAHEIM GOAL (POWER PLAY) - RYAN GETZLAF - Scott Niedermayer takes a slap shot from the point that Hasek saves, but he falls down. He never controls the puck as Selanne and Todd Marchant both poke at it. Getzlaf finds it near the right post, pushes it to his backhand and slides it into the open net.
18:04 - DET PENALTY - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice.
17:58 - Another ripped slap shot by Beauchemin is deflected on its flight and hits the underside of the crossbar and bounds out. It doesn't get much closer than that. They replay it, but it's ruled no goal.
Todd Marchant's playoff beard is fantastic. Very full and the orange practically matches the Ducks unis.
16:14 - Pronger rips another slap shot from the point. Hasek stops it and the puck is loose, but he managed to freeze. Selanne is pulled from the scrum by his face. Somehow there's no penalty.
15:48 - DET PENALTY - Johan Franzen, 2 min. hooking. The Ducks go on the power play for the first time in the period. They're 0-2 tonight.
15:04 - J.S. Giguere makes another fine save on a Dan Cleary shot with a screen in front. He's had several in this period and in the game.
9:52 - ANAHEIM GOAL - COREY PERRY - With the Ducks on a delayed penalty, Francois Beauchemin launches a rocket from the point. Hasek makes a nice save, but the puck squirts out right to Perry, who buries it from the right side. It's 2-0 Anaheim. Second assist to Ryan Getzlaf, who fed the Beauchemin slapper.
8:51 - The Ducks kill it.
6:51 - ANA PENALTY - Rob Niedermayer, 2 min. hooking. Power play chance for Detroit. They're 0-2 tonight.
6:20 - Kent Huskins (of all people) makes a nice drag move into the slot, but his shot sails over the net.
5:10 - Corey Perry makes a slick drag move on a sliding Red Wings defender, but his shot is saved by a sprawling Hasek.
3:22 - McDonald comes out of the box to get the puck near the blueline and feeds Selanne in the slot. His hard slapper is snagged up high by Hasek.
1:11 - ANA PENALTY - Andy McDonald, 2 min. high sticking. McDonald catches Kirk Maltby in the mug.
0:00 - And the puck drops for the second. Good photos from the first are available by clicking the link on the top right.
20:00 - END OF GAME - This time there is no question of who outplayed whom. The Ducks force the issue on the Red Wings, outshooting them 14-7 and getting one from Rob Niedermayer shorthanded. It's exactly how they hoped to start tonight.
19:08 - DET PENALTY - Nicklas Lidstrom, 2 min. interference. Second power play for Anaheim.
19:08 - Joe Motzko, who was in the box serving the Ducks penalty, comes out and gets the puck at center ice. He takes a shot from the slot that Hasek blocks and Motzko almost buries the rebound.
16:59 - ANA PENALTY - Bench minor, 2 min. too many men on the ice. First power play for the Wings.
11:26 - Hasek sprawls out to stop a Scott Niedermayer shot from the right point.
10:43 - Brad May absolutely lays into Detroit's Tomas Kopecky with a hit into the glass.
7:26 - Ryan Getzlaf is about 10 feet offside on a Ducks attack, and you can't hear the whistle over this crowd. Good sign.
5:31 - Scott Niedermayer is knocked down just over the blueline, but the officials rule no penalty, since the Ducks were offside just before the trip. The crowd is not that happy.
3:51 - ANAHEIM GOAL (SHORTHANDED) - ROB NIEDERMAYER - Off the faceoff, Sean O'Donnell feeds Pronger, who launches a one-timer from straightaway that hits both Hasek and Niedermayer's skate on its way through the net. It's 1-0 Ducks and the crowd erupts.
2:41 - The official gets tripped and falls on his rear on an aborted faceoff. Not funny. Kind of funny.
2:11 - ANA PENALTY - Todd Marchant, 2 min. tripping. Marchant takes down a Red Wing after the Pronger near-miss. We're 4 on 4.
2:11 - A blazing Pronger one-timer from the slot gets through Hasek and hits the post.
1:45 - DET PENALTY - Tomas Holmstrom, 2 min. tripping. Early opportunity to the Ducks.
0:00 - And we're underway in Game 6. This is going to be a good one.
Dawn Wright just nailed the Anthem again. Goosebumps, I tell you.
Starting Goaltenders: ANA J.S. Giguere; DET Dominik Hasek
Starting Skaters: ANA Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald, Todd Marchant, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer; DET Nicklas Lidstrom, Mikael Samuelsson, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Danny Markov
Scratches: ANA Sebastien Caron, Mark Hartigan, Chris Kunitz, George Parros, Andrew Miller, Joe DiPenta, Aaron Rome, Ryan Shannon, Shawn Thornton; DET Jimmy Howard, Matt Ellis, Josh Langfeld, Kyle Calder, Mathieu Schneider, Jiri Hudler, Derek Meech, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall
6 p.m. at Honda Center
TV: Versus Radio: AM 830
The Ducks may have been outplayed by Detroit for most of Game 5 of these Western Conference Finals. They may have been outshot 34-18 in regulation. They may not have found the net until 47.3 seconds remained in regulation. But the only thing that matters is this: They lead this series 3-games-to-2 and a win tonight puts them in the Stanley Cup Finals.
J.S. Giguere has again raised his game in the playoffs and kept the Ducks in Game 5.
"There's been a lot made about how much they've dominated us," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "But we don't focus on ifs. We focus on what's next. And next is the most important game of the year."
A win for the Ducks tonight puts them in the Finals for the second time, the last being their loss in seven games to New Jersey in 2003. During that improbable playoff run, the man largely responsible was goalie J.S. Giguere, who won the Conn Smythe trophy as the postseason's most valuable player despite the Ducks defeat in the Finals.
This time, while the Ducks are unquestionably a more talented team than that '03 squad, Giguere is lifting them again. He kept Anaheim afloat by only allowing one goal and making 33 saves in the first three periods of Game 5. Then in the extra session he ran his overtime playoff mark to 12-1 with Anaheim's 2-1 victory, his second sudden-death victory of the series. That overtime was of course set up by Scott Niedermayer's goal near the end of regulation, and Teemu Selanne clinched the win 11:57 into overtime.
"Jiggy," said defenseman Chris Pronger, "played fantastic for us."
Said fellow defenseman Sean O'Donnell, ""I think Jiggy is one of those players, once the stakes get higher, you either kind of crumble under the adversity or you raise your game and things seem to slow down for you. Jiggy seems to be one of those guys, whether it be in the third period or a 5-on-3 or an overtime, he seems to kind of calm down and elevate his play. There are other goalies who will make more spectacular saves, but rarely will he let in a bad one."
Giguere's overtime record - the best mark among goalies with at least 10 decisions after regulation - sparkles, but the 30-year-old goalie would prefer to win in the standard 60 minutes.
"I'd rather, three periods," he said with a smile. "Overtime, I think a lot of it has to be a little about luck. You need your players to score that big goal.
"It seems that more often, the guys in front of me have been able to score that big goal and really not give me that many shots to face. Everybody, when we go to overtime, raises their level a notch, and when we do that as a team, we're tough to beat."
For the third straight series, the Ducks will try to wrap things up at home. (They beat Minnesota and Vancouver in five games in the first two rounds.) Should the Red Wings win, the teams will return to Detroit for a deciding Game 7 on Thursday night. Ottawa clinched the Eastern Conference championship series against Buffalo by winning Game 5 on Saturday and awaits the Western winner for the Stanley Cup showdown.
"We know being the team they are they're going to come out really hard and play like a desperate team," Giguere said. "We have to match their intensity and hope for the best."
Despite being a game away from elimination, Babcock was upbeat on Monday, as were the rest of the Red Wings.
"I'm here and our players are here, and players playing in the National Hockey League believe they're in control," he said. "We believe we're in control and we've got to put our best foot forward.
"We're not going away easy, I can tell you that right now. Actually, we're not going away at all."
Carlyle was one of many Ducks who admitted they can be much better. And there is no better time to raise their game than tonight. "Our mandate it to focus on the task at hand," Carlyle said, "accept where we're at, accept the responsibility and go out and play our best game of the year."
Added Giguere, "Playoff hockey is just about winning. Doesn't matter how you get there. Just gotta find a way to get that win.
Associated Press contributed to this report