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Penner stands tall for Ducks

NHL.com @NHL

OTTAWA (AP) -When Teemu Selanne couldn't find an opening for a shot on net, he did the next best thing: He found the big man going to the net.

And Dustin Penner, who stands 6-foot-4 when he's not wearing skates, is tough to miss.

"He's a big, big man," Selanne said, describing how he set up Penner for the decisive third-period goal in Anaheim's 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night. "I knew Penner was going to the back post, so I tried to make a pass to him, and it did go for him."

Just like that, the Ducks overcame a terrible first period and the loss of top defenseman Chris Pronger to a one-game suspension, to find themselves up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series with a chance to win their first title at home on Wednesday.

Penner's goal with 16 minutes left came on a 2-on-1 rush just as he had jumped on the ice for a line change.

Andy McDonald started the play when he avoided Chris Neil's check and chipped it up the right boards to Selanne. After Selanne and Penner nearly collided at the Ottawa blue line, Selanne took the puck wide to the right of the net, drawing defender Anton Volchenkov and goalie Ray Emery with him.

Selanne then threaded a pass through the crease, which Penner easily tipped in.

"It was a set play," Penner said, with a laugh, when asked about nearly checking Selanne off the puck.

But there was nothing ugly about the goal. Penner showed poise by slapping the pass into the net, a step ahead of Senators defenseman Wade Redden, who was caught on the play.

For Penner, it was his third goal this postseason and second game-winner. Not bad for a player who made his mark during last year's playoffs and translated that into a regular season in which he finished with 29 goals - second among NHL rookies - and 45 points.

McDonald finished with two goals and an assist, while the Ducks also got a big game from goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who stopped 21 shots, including 12 in the first period.

"We were lucky in a way to survive the first period," Giguere said. "I don't think that's how we wanted to come out. But we should be happy that we were able to relax between the first and the second and play our game."

It was a game of shifting momentum and one the Ducks had no business being in if not for Giguere's stellar play in the opening 20 minutes.

He stopped nine shots in the first half of the opening period, including a big glove save on Dany Heatley from close range, and bang-bang chances by Antoine Vermette from the right circle.

The only one that beat him was Daniel Alfredsson's one-timer with 0.3 seconds left.

Anaheim was outshot 13-2 in the first frame to match a playoff franchise low for fewest shots in a period. The Ducks didn't manage their first shot until 11:25, when Corey Perry snapped one on the fly from the right circle that Emery stopped with his blocker.

Lack of discipline was also an issue after the Ducks provided the Senators three power-play chances in the first period, the final one - Ryan Getzlaf called for running Emery - leading to Alfredsson's goal.

"I think we were actually trying too hard," coach Randy Carlyle said. "It was kind of deflating, but then we got the opportunity to get back in the room and talk about a few things and how we needed to turn it around."

The Ducks sure did, coming out flying in a second period in which they outshot the Senators 10-1 through the first 11 minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

Pronger watched the game from a coaches' room after he was forced to sit out following his elbow that knocked out Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in a 5-3 loss on Saturday.

Anaheim won for the second time this postseason without Pronger, after he was suspended for a high hit on Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom in the Western Conference finals last month.

"We showed the same heart in the Detroit series, and the same heart through the course of the year," Pronger said. "We've got a lot of guys that stepped up tonight and came up with huge efforts."

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