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Ducks better equipped to handle crazy atmosphere

by Arpon Basu /

WINNIPEG -- The Anaheim Ducks arrived here knowing the atmosphere for Game 3 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Winnipeg Jets would be crazy.

They just didn't know how crazy. Now they do.

Heading into Game 4 on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; USA, SN, TVA Sports, FS-W), that knowledge of how difficult the 15,016 fans at MTS Centre will try to make it on them could be seen as an advantage the Ducks did not have prior to Game 3.

And with a 3-0 lead in the best-of-7 series, that could help the Ducks make sure the series goes no further.

"We know how the crowd creates the amount of energy they do, and not only are they cheering when there are goals scored, they're cheering when they touch the puck," Ducks center Andrew Cogliano said. "I think we just now know what to expect. Guys who haven't been in that atmosphere before -- we have a few guys who have played in those situations that obviously help our team out, which are our leaders -- but I think young guys who are seeing that for the first time are feeling a little bit more comfortable heading to the game just knowing what to expect out there."

Two people who got a firsthand taste of the atmosphere and energy at MTS Centre during Game 3 on Monday were the parents of Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Steve and Susan, who were in the stands and will be again Wednesday.

Getzlaf said their experience was a very positive one.

"It was great. We won. They were happy," he said. "No, both my parents said that everyone was very respectful to them and they were very proud to be here, obviously. They knew what kind of environment they were coming into. But it was nice to hear that people treated them with respect."

It wouldn't have been very difficult for Getzlaf to find his parents and make sure they were OK during the game, were he so inclined, in the middle of the "Winnipeg Whiteout" that takes over MTS Centre.

"Yeah, my mom was the only one in that bright orange shirt in the stands who stood out like a sore thumb," Getzlaf said with a laugh. "Dad wore a black jersey. He was still wearing my jersey, but it was black. Not that bright orange."

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said communication on the bench in Game 3 was an issue because of the noise, but they took the necessary measures to avoid confusion. He said he expects it to be louder Wednesday but did not appear overly concerned.

His bigger concern was making sure his team was ready to close out the series.

Boudreau said this is the first time in his NHL coaching career that he has had a 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last time a Boudreau-coached team had such a commanding lead was when his Hershey Bears took a 3-0 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the second round of the 2006 American Hockey League playoffs. It was the second straight round the Bears went up 3-0 and they completed the sweep both times before going on to win the Calder Cup.

"But that was the American league," Boudreau said. "It's a little different here."

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrick Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Matt Beleskey - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Andrew Cogliano - Rickard Rakell - Kyle Palmieri

Emerson Etem - Tomas Fleischmann - Tim Jackman

Hampus Lindholm - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Simon Despres

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Frederik Andersen

Jason LaBarbera

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer, Jiri Sekac, James Wisniewski

Injured: John Gibson (upper body), Nate Thompson (upper body), Chris Wagner (upper body)


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Drew Stafford - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Adam Lowry - Lee Stempniak

Jiri Tlusty - Jim Slater - Chris Thorburn

Ben Chiarot - Dustin Byfuglien

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Andrew Copp, Nikolaj Ehlers, Keaton Ellerby, TJ Galiardi, Matt Halischuk, Jay Harrison, Connor Hellebuyck, Eric O'Dell, Adam Pardy, Anthony Peluso

Injured: Grant Clitsome (upper body), Paul Postma (lower body)

Status report: Thompson will miss his fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury. He participated in the morning skate Wednesday, his third straight day on the ice, and Boudreau was optimistic his return to the lineup was imminent. "He's skating well," Boudreau said. "He's getting closer and we miss him. He's a really good player."

Who's hot: Andersen has stopped all 27 shots he's faced in the third period in the series. … Linemates Kesler and Silfverberg have three goals and four assists between them in the past two games, including a late game-winning goal by Silfverberg in Game 2 and a late game-tying goal by Kesler in Game 3.

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