Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ducks withstand late game surge by Wings

Tomorrow morning when the stats appear in the paper, the game won’t seem to have been the near disaster it could have been. A third period push by the Detroit Red wings almost paid off in a tie game and a shot at more Overtime glory, a turn around that could have once again changed the direction of the Western final.

But in the end JS Giguere made the saves that had to be made, the Red Wings missed the opportunities that were there for the taking and the Anaheim Ducks barely grasping onto a 4-3 victory, can now begin to prepare for the Ottawa Senators.

Game six started out as an all Ducks affair, they came crashing off the bench controlling the boards, slowing down the Detroit attack and taking advantage of the tentative play of the Wings in the early going. It was the kind of play that many had expected from Anaheim for the last three series, but rarely showed up on a regular basis.

The Ducks managed to knock the Wings back on their heels early on, a short handed goal seemed to knock away a fair amount of confidence in the early stages of the game, the Ducks from the advantage of an eventual 3 to nothing lead by the end of two periods seemed to have the game all but won.

In the past the Anaheim meltdowns have occurred in the second period, Tuesday nights game avoided that trap, almost deferring the drama to the third.

As the final period of the night got under way the Wings finally found some of the determination that had been missing in the first two periods, they began to take the play deep into the Anaheim zone, putting more and more pressure on Giguere and starting to put themselves into better scoring positions. A quick flurry of goals aided by untimely penalties to the Ducks gave Detroit fans hope, if only for a brief period of time.

By the midway point of the third, the Ducks were clinging to a one goal lead, stubbornly trying to slow down a suddenly urgent Red Wing tide. Samuel Pahlsson finally gave them the breathing room they needed with a huge goal around the six minute mark of the third, a goal that at the time provided a three goal bubble for the Ducks but in the end would prove to be the winning goal as the Wings took two back late in the game.

The Wings pulled to within one goal with scoring plays midway through the game. A power play advantage in the last three minutes of the game almost brought the Wings back to even terms; there was a flurry of action in the Anaheim end with Detroit showing flashes of the form that took them to first place overall in the conference this year. But as the power play expired, the Ducks still held a one goal lead; a last gasp charge with Domenic Hasek on the bench for the extra attacker fell short, sending the Ducks into the Stanley Cup final.

While Detroit can look at their lethargic play in the first two periods as the cause to their demise, in reality this series was probably lost two nights ago, when they not only lost a key hockey game due to their own miscues, but allowed the Ducks back into the conference final.

The tone of the play by Anaheim in the early stages of the game highlighted the fact that they knew the series was theirs if they really wanted it, they may have bended a bit on the way to the final outcome, but they didn’t break.

Wednesday’s papers will show a score of 4-3, a close score, indicative of things that need to be ironed out by the Ducks before next Monday’s game one of the final against Ottawa, but a win is a win. Anaheim found the way to four of them, regardless of the path, the final destination is still the same.

Below we present some of the reviews of game six that we have mined from the press boxes of the wired world.

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