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Koivu line provides shutdown trio for Ducks

by Curtis Zupke

ANAHEIM Anaheim Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau is not typically a matchup coach. He generally prefers to mix and match as needed. But that philosophy changed, at least for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Why?

"Once we found out who we were playing [it changed]," Boudreau said.

Boudreau used his Daniel Winnik-Saku Koivu-Andrew Cogliano line against Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader, holding Detroit's top trio to four shots through 40 minutes. It finished with 12, but Datsyuk and Zetterberg each were a minus-1 in a 3-1 loss.

Noted Ducks killer Datsyuk had one shot on goal in 20:46 minutes of ice time.

"I feel like when you’re in battles with them, they’re so strong you have to do your best in winning them," Cogliano said. "I feel like every battle I won against those guys last night, it took everything out of me just because they’re so strong. Your best defense is the offense and forecheck. I feel like we did a good job forechecking them."

The Koivu trio has been the Ducks' most consistent this season and the closest thing to a shutdown line in Anaheim since Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson and Travis Moen won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Boudreau had to break up the Koivu line toward the end of the regular season, and Cogliano said he was glad when they were reunited.

"We all really feel comfortable with each other," Cogliano said. "I feel like we feed off each other. We're all on the same page in terms of forechecking and backing each other up. It worked last night. Tomorrow's another test and it’s going to be a tough one."

In another tactical move, Boudreau put the Ryan Getzlaf line out against the Johan Franzen trio. Nothing suggests Boudreau will change things up for Game 2, but Anaheim won’t have first line change in Detroit for Game 3 on Saturday.

"They like playing with each other, and they did a great job," Boudreau said. "Granted, they probably angered those two guys [Datsyuk and Zetterberg] and they better play a lot better next game because I’m sure the other guys are going to ramp it up a little bit."

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