|Samuel Pahlsson is congratulated by Rob Niedermayer on his game winning, unassisted goal against the Senators.
Phil Coffey | NHL.com Editorial Director
Sammy Pahlsson, a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward, was the offensive hero for Anaheim Wednesday night, scoring the lone goal of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final as the Ducks blanked the Ottawa Senators
, 1-0, to grab a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Pahlsson took advantage of a neutral-zone turnover by Ottawa’s Dany Heatley to gain the Senators’ zone with some speed. Racing past Daniel Alfredsson, Pahlsson snapped a shot from the dot of the right circle through the legs of defenseman Joe Corvo and past the stick side of goalie Ray Emery for the goal at 14:16 of the third period.
”Well, the goal was a turnover,” Pahlsson said. “I skated down the wing and stepped once inside and shot it through the legs of the defenseman and somehow, it went in.”
There was no somehow about it. The shot was a big-time effort that slipped inside the far post.
”That line from the beginning of the year have been able to give us quality minutes,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said of the Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer, Travis Moen unit. “And as you know in the playoffs, everybody steps up the defensive aspect of the game at least 20 to 25 percent. And always, people separate themselves on the offensive side. It’s nice to see that these three players are getting rewarded for hard work.
”The one thing about those guys, the play the tough minutes and a lot of time the spotlight has not been directed toward them. Right now, they’re earning that.”
Losing the game was a bitter pill for Emery, who was fabulous in defeat and was deserving of a better fate. After a 3-2 loss in Game 1, Emery said he would be better, and he was.
The Senators, who put some pressure on the Anaheim goal late, never were able to mount much of an offensive challenge in Game 2, being out-shot 31-16 in the game.
”It was a great shot,” Senators coach Bryan Murray said of Pahlsson’s game-winner. “He got Corvo turned around. He tried to do something with the stick, got spun, and he used Corvo as a screen and hit inside the post. Great shot. Great play on his part.”
Now, the Senators have to battle history as well as the Ducks. Of the 30 home teams who have won the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final since the series became a best-of-seven affair in 1939, 29 have gone on to capture the Cup. The Sens will now call upon the ghosts of the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, who came back from the 0-2 deficit to win in seven games.
Goalie J.S. Giguere was his indomitable self for the Ducks, getting to every shot that came his way. He has allowed just two goals in two games of the Final, while Emery has surrendered four goals in two games.
Giguere was at his best during a multiple-save flurry during a 5-on-3 advantage for Ottawa.
”I just wanted to make sure that I would approach it with a lot of energy,” Giguere said. “I thought I was able to do the first save and guys were on the rebound right away. So, we got pretty fortunate that we were able to get out of that one with no goals.”
Pahlsson is making quite a name for himself in this Final series. Known as a defensive whiz, his line, along with Niedermayer and Game 1 hero Moen, has made the Sens’ top line of Alfredsson, Heatley and Jason Spezza disappear.
”Well, you know, we obviously want to focus on that top line and our checking line has done a great job of being physical against them,” Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger said. “Making them work inside on the puck and making them play defense. It's the best way to counteract offensive players.”
|Ray Emery made 30 saves, including 26 over the first two periods, in Ottawa's 1-0 loss in Game 2.
”We’re definitely counting on a couple of guys to be big-time players for us,” Murray said of his top scorers. “And they played much better tonight. But they didn’t create much in the way of offense. I’m hoping when we get home, we can do a little juggling and it will come.
”But yeah, I’m concerned,” Murray continued. “They have to help us win games on the road, as well as at home.”
”We've been scoring to this point and we're expected to score goals,” Spezza said. “It's not a lack of effort. We're trying. We're getting pucks. We did a little better job of getting pucks on net and deep today. We didn't score those early goals. We know we have to be better, though.”
The Senators now hope home cooking pays some dividends, returning to Ottawa for Game 3 Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) and then again on Monday night as they try to get back into the series.
”Well, it's disappointing to not get a win down here,” Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said. “But we can't hang our heads. There's a lot of pride in this room and we're going home now. We've got two games at home to even out the series.”
”We've kind of done our job,” Pronger said. “We've won our two home games, and let's face it, you're supposed to win your home games. Now it's in their court. We're going to expect, obviously, a tougher environment in their building, and certainly their crowd will be behind them and cheering them on. So it will be a difficult atmosphere for sure.”
Emery kept the Senators in the game in the second period as Ottawa was out-shot 14-4 in that period and 26-11 over the first 40 minutes.
The second period began like it was in a lull after the physical and fast first 20 minutes, but as the clock ticked off the seconds, the Ducks got their second wind and began to press the advantage around Emery.
Rob Niedermayer saw a backhand shot stopped by Emery and Todd Marchant grabbed the rebound and dominated the remainder of the shift.
Emery snapped out a right pad at 11:40 to deny a testing drive by Corey Perry.
Emery then made another key stop on Rob Niedermayer at the 10:00 mark.
The Emery show continued with 6:54 left in the second as the Senators goalie made a huge save on Perry and the ensuing stuffer from Rob Niedermayer.
With defenseman Tom Preissing off for tripping at 18:04, the Ducks had the man advantage and Emery made a nice save and clear on a point shot from Chris Pronger.
The hits just kept coming in the scoreless first period almost as if Game 1 never ended. So, too, did the parade to the penalty box that made both coaches unhappy in Game 1.
|Jean-Sebastien Giguere and the Ducks are heading to Ottawa with a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
Shots in the first were 12-7 for the Ducks as both goalies made several key saves, especially on power plays, to keep the period scoreless.
Ottawa’s Mike Comrie was boxed for boarding at 2:17 and the Senators were able to kill off the penalty without too much difficulty.
Anaheim’s Drew Miller was called for interference at 5:40, another man-advantage that didn’t prove especially troublesome.
Anton Volchenkov threw a thundering hit on Corey Perry at 8:05, but was called for boarding, opening the door for some testing shots by the Ducks.
First, Ryan Getzlaf was denied off a slick feed from Teemu Selanne. Moments later, Getzlaf was stropped again by Emery who clamped his glove on the rebound.
Emery then got his right shoulder on a point drive shot from Pronger and then threw out his right pad to deny Selanne late in the power play.
The Ducks dodged a huge bullet when Shawn Thornton was called for charging at 12:31 and was followed to the box by Pronger for slashing at 13:24, giving the Senators a 5-on-3 edge for 1:08.
In that span, the Senators threw everything at Giguere, who responded with some tremendous save, including multiple stops on Alfredsson and Mike Comrie.
The crowd roared as Pronger returned to the ice to kill off the remainder of the penalty time.
”We have to stop taking penalties like that, especially going down five-on-three,” Giguere said. “We can’t afford to do that every game. It’s going to end up costing us some goals eventually.”
Anaheim finished off the remainder of the first on the power play after Mike Fisher was called for roughing Corey Perry at 18:06, a power play that carried over to the second period.