Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Lupul lights the lamp

Ilya Bryzgalovs’ shutout streak finally came to an end, but the Mighty ducks of Anaheim kept on winning. In a thrilling game three showdown at Denver’s Pepsi Centre, the Ducks topped the Avalanche 4-3 in an exciting match that went deep into the first overtime period before the Ducks proved victorious.

Bryzgalov went until late in the first period before he finally surrendered his first goal in over 249 minutes as Dan Hinote became the trivia answer, tapping in a goal with just 26 seconds to go in the first. Bryzgalov will enter the record books in second place in shutout hockey, coming up 21 minutes short of George Hainsworths record of 270 minutes set back in 1930 for Montreal.

With that bit of drama out of the way, the two teams got down to some end to end hockey, both teams firing on all their cylinders taking the play deep into each others end and finding success on the score sheet.

Colorado was fortunate that Jose Theodore continued his mastery in the Avalanche nets, if not for Theodore this one would have been over in short order as he made save after incredible save, keeping his Avs alive through the three periods of play and the overtime.

Besides Hinotes early marker, the Avs gained goals from Jim Dowd and Rob Blake as they battled back to stay even with the Ducks throughout the first three periods of play. For Anaheim fans keeping the score sheet was a simple matter, it was all Lupul, all the time.

The Ducks Joffrey Lupul had one of those career nights where everything he touched seemed to find the mark. Lupul accounted for all three regular period goals and then amazingly was there to put in the winning goal at 16:30 of the first over time.

The win gives the Ducks a commanding three games to none lead in the best of seven; they can wrap up the series with a victory on Thursday night. For Colorado the task ahead is an ominous one, only two teams in history have come back to win their series when trailing after three games. The Avs will be studying their history books on Wednesday trying to divine what the 75 Islanders and 42 Leafs did to change the fates of the team on the losing side of a series.

For Anaheim Thursday offers much in the way of possible celebrations, they could not only wrap up their series with the Avs, they could also add to Lupuls stats package and most importantly why not start a new shut out streak for Ilya. With two more series to go before Lord Stanley’s Mug is handed out, there’s still lots of time to catch old George’s record.

They get back to work on Thursday at the Pepsi Centre; game time is 8:00 pm (EST), 5:00 pm (PST) on TSN.

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