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Ducks must keep their emotions in check vs. Wings

by Brian Compton /

"This is the most important game of the year. We have to play a tight-checking hockey game. The Detroit Red Wings are probably the most skilled team in the League. New-rules hockey is not easy to play."
-- Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle

DEARBORN, Mich. -- Roughly 48 hours after they roughed up the Detroit Red Wings in a 2-1 victory at the Honda Center, the Anaheim Ducks insisted that there was no message they were trying to relay to the defending champions.

In the end, it was simply emotions boiling over. Nothing more.

The teams will play the decisive seventh game at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS).

"Look at the situation," said Ducks forward Todd Marchant, who received a game misconduct after the final horn sounded. "It's Scott Niedermayer and Pavel Datsyuk. I mean, come on. It's a non-issue. They're mad they didn't win, we're happy we did win. Somebody does something, someone does something back. That's a non-issue."

Corey Perry, who left some nasty bruises on the face of Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski, agreed.

No message … just part of the game.

"Emotions carry over," said Perry, who has four goals and four assists in this series. "Things happen in hockey. That's just one of them."

The end result for the Ducks was 36 minutes in penalties. They know if they plan on facing the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals, they're going to have to walk a fine line against the Wings on Thursday night and stay out of the penalty box.

"This is the most important game of the year," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "We have to play a tight-checking hockey game. The Detroit Red Wings are probably the most skilled team in the League. New-rules hockey is not easy to play. Players have a tendency to reach with a hand or stick. They do as good a job as any team in the League with their sticks. It's almost like they go overboard with it, but they're good at it and they're quick with it."

Clearly, emotions are beginning to boil over between these clubs. That will happen when you face the same team for two weeks straight.

"Anytime you play teams five, six, seven times in a row, you're going to dislike somebody on their team or some aspect of their team," Marchant said. "It comes down to emotions. That's a big part of this game. Physically, both teams are going to be prepared. It's going to come down to the mental part."

That's why the Ducks will have to pick some spots to bring out their physical game on Thursday night. Giving the Red Wings one power play after another would not bode well for Anaheim, which is a solid 60-minute effort away from eliminating the top two seeds in the Western Conference.

"You've got to keep your elbows down and your sticks down," Marchant said. "You're not going to go into a situation where you say, 'I'm going to high stick this guy.' It just doesn't happen. It's reactions.

"The difference is going to be who executes their game plan better," added Marchant, who will participate in the fourth Game 7 of his career on Thursday night. "You have to keep your emotions in check, that's for sure. We're an emotional team. You see it every time we play."

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