CALGARY – Sean O’Donnell has only been on the Ducks blue line since March 10th but after his overtime game-winner on Thursday night, O’Donnell may be the most popular Anaheim skater.
“It was a big game yesterday and coming back here 2-2 it was a nice win for us,” said O’Donnell.
O’Donnell was acquired at the trade deadline from the Phoenix Coyotes for Joel Perrault for his defense and his toughness, not necessarily his clutch goal-scoring ability.
“I’m not going to lie, when we got into the room last night and I watched the SportsCenter’s and the TSN’s and I had a smile on my face watching the replays,” said O’Donnell. “It was fun last night but last night is done. “If we come in floating on the game four win, we’re going to get pounded in here tomorrow night.”
In the opening two minutes of overtime, O’Donnell jumped onto the ice to replace forward Ryan Getzlaf with time winding down on a minor high sticking penalty to Stephane Yelle. Chris Kunitz found O’Donnell pinching toward the net.
It was a great pass from Kunitz to me in the slot and there was some traffic in front,” said O’Donnell. “I just put my head down and hit it as hard as I could and it found its way through somehow.”
The goal was the fourth career playoff marker for a player that only has 23 career regular season goals in 10 NHL seasons.
“Characteristically you wouldn’t classify him as an offensive player,” said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. “He was offensive enough last night.”
O’Donnell’s acquisition at the trade deadline drew immediate comparisons to another Ducks defenseman, Keith Carney, who was traded to Vancouver the same day.
“I have a lot of respect for Keith - I played with him in the minors,” said O’Donnell. “He was here for a long time and he was a key guy in that ’04 run. You felt a little bit of pressure coming. Our roles are very similar.”
The Ottawa native has tried to use the situation prove that the acquisition was the right one.
“I don’t think you can excel in this league unless you put pressure on yourself. When those kinds of things happen you try and rise to the occasion and try to prove yourself and prove to the people that they made the right choice,” said O’Donnell.
Now the focus for O’Donnell and the Ducks is on tomorrow night’s game five match-up that will break the 2-2 series deadlock.
“Usually a good team will come back with their best performance after a loss,” said O’Donnell. “I think Calgary’s game three was their best game and we came back maybe with our best game last night. They’re going to come back in game five with their best once again and we just have to match that.”