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.