Corey Perry tied the Ducks’ franchise postseason record for the fastest goal scored at the start of a game (Sykora scored 42 seconds into game 5 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals in New Jersey on June 5, 2003), established a career high for points in a postseason game with 3 (2-1), & had his first career postseason multi-goal game. However, his first goal of the game was probably the highlight for most Ducks fans at Honda Center tonight. Perry’s goal gave the Ducks their only lead of the game, which they held until Hiller gave up a soft goal to Franzen at 11:49 in the first period.
Ryan Getzlaf extended his league-leading postseason point streak to 8 games. He has 14 points in those 8 games (2-12) and has regained the solo lead in postseason scoring (he was tied with Sidney Crosby going into tonight’s game). Chris Pronger & Scott Niedermayer also extended their point streaks (to 5 & 3 games respectively), but overall the Ducks looked pretty bad tonight in front of their announced attendance of 17,601 (including 427 standing room only tickets) breaking the record set this season against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 2, 2009 (17,597). One of my friend’s who was at the game joked that it was all Red Wings fans, but the Ducks fans were well represented in the crowd, in spite of the “Let’s go Red Wings” and “Ozzie” chants that could probably be heard by watching the game on TV near the end of the game almost as well as they could in Honda Center.
Another bright side for the Ducks is that they managed to continue their power play goal streak, scoring one goal in their 3 power play chances. For a while, it seemed like the Ducks didn’t want a full power play, since they took a penalty 31 seconds after Detroit’s first penalty and only 6 seconds after Detroit’s second penalty. They scored to end their third power play opportunity after only 12 seconds. Obviously, that’s the way the Ducks would prefer to end a power play early. I’m sure the Ducks will aim to spend less time in the penalty box in games 5 & 6, even though Detroit only scored one goal in their 5 power play opportunities tonight.
The Red Wings clearly didn’t start game four as they’d planned. Mike Babcock mentioned in his post-game interview that they’d talked a lot about starting the game stronger, since he feels the Ducks have out-skated the Red Wings for about the first ten minutes in every game this series and that the Red Wings have improved as the games progressed. The plan was to change that tonight and start stronger, which they obviously didn’t accomplish. Babcock also mentioned that he thought the first period of tonight’s game was their worst period they’d played in a long time and that he’s not sure how they managed to come out of it with a 2-1 lead.
The Ducks and Red Wings have two days off to rest up before playing game 5 in Detroit on Sunday. The series has become a best of 3 series and whichever team can come out of it winning 2 of the next three will advance to the conference final against the Vancouver Canucks or Chicago Blackhawks (also tied at 2 a piece after tonight’s overtime Hawks win).
Honda Center will surely be packed again Tuesday night for game 6, since everyone already knows the series cannot end earlier.
Note: Hiller was pulled for the first time in his playoff career (his 10th playoff game). I’m sure Hiller will still start game 5 for the Ducks, since he started tonight’s game as the number one goalie in the playoffs and was in the top for the regular season, as well.
Tags: attendance, Blackhawks, Canucks, Chris Osgood, Chris Pronger, Corey Perry, Ducks, fans, Hockey, Honda Center, Jonas Hiller, Mike Babcock, NHL, Petr Sykora, playoffs, power play, Red Wings, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer, Sidney Crosby
The new players on the Ducks seemed a lot more at home in Anaheim tonight. Nokelainen got his first goal of the season, Whitney & Christensen got 2 assists each and Christensen got a goal that was questionably called off by the ref, due to goaltender interference by Getzlaf. As a Kings fan, I wanted the Ducks to lose tonight’s game in regulation. However, I think the call by the ref taking away Christensen’s goal was one of those calls that could go either way and would normally go the other way. Clearly, when Vancouver scored their third goal, the goal that got called back was very important. Fortunately for the Ducks and their fans, Scott Niedermayer scored 3 on 3 (after the Ducks had taken a penalty to remove their power play advantage) in overtime to win the game.
Perhaps the Ducks did a better job at the trade deadline than most seem to think. I thought their first trade was probably the best trade they made this season and I’ve talked to many people who think the Penguins or the Ducks didn’t do well with that trade. I still think both teams got what they needed a bit in their first trade of the trade deadline time.
I was curious how it felt for a player to go from Pittsburgh where the arena is full every night to the home crowd in Anaheim where there are a lot of empty seats – even on the nights when they have standing room only sellouts. Tonight’s announced attendance was 16,967; however, there were a lot fewer fans at the Honda Center than that. Whitney said that the Honda Center is “pretty loud” and that the three games he’s played in Anaheim have had a “really good atmosphere.” That it’s “not like going to the Islanders or Atlanta where you really feel an empty building.” He went on to say that the fans are great here and clearly he seems to be comfortable with his new teammates, he’s getting used to playing with Pronger. Obviously, it was also nice to get the first home win (he was traded early enough that he had won a game with the Ducks in Dallas against the Stars on February 28th) and experience the Anaheim crowd when the team wins.
Needless to say, Erik Christensen didn’t agree with the call made when he got the puck in the net, but it all worked out in the end and the Ducks won the game. He never got an explanation from the refs, since he doesn’t have a letter on his jersey. The ref refused to talk to him about the call, since he’s not the captain or an alternate. Christensen said, “Nothing you can do about it now, so, I mean, I disagree with the call, I guess.” He saw the replay and didn’t really see Getzlaf push anyone into Luongo, but at least it didn’t make a difference in the outcome of the game.
The games at this time of the season are so important to everyone (especially with the tight competition in the western conference) and all three games today were decided after regulation, giving out 3 points in each game. This frustrates players and fans alike when their teams are relying on other teams failing as much as their team doing well for the rest of the season. Every point matters and the teams are competing strongly to get as many points as they can down the stretch to the playoffs.
Tags: attendance, Canucks, Chris Pronger, Ducks, Erik Christensen, fans, Hockey, Honda Center, NHL, Petteri Nokelainen, playoffs, questionable call, referees, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Whitney, Scott Niedermayer, Stars